|Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Edge Penguins, 3-2
Philadelphia Extends Unbeaten Streak To Six Games
Friday, November 28, 2003
By Al Cohen
Kirk Furey and Patrick Sharp each scored power-play goals in the second period to help lift the Philadelphia Phantoms to a 3-2 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins tonight at the Wachovia Center.
Ben Stafford also scored and Neil Little finished with 26 saves for Philadelphia, which extended its unbeaten streak to six games overall (5-0-1) and at home (4-0-2). The Phantoms have not gone this long without a loss since an eight-game streak from Jan. 20-Feb. 6, 2002.
Martin Brochu registered 35 saves for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, which has lost six of its last seven games overall and four in a row on the road. Philadelphia has won two of three match-ups vs. the Penguins this season, with seven games remaining.
Philadelphia opened the scoring 3:32 into the game on Stafford's fourth goal of the year. Todd Fedoruk, who was loaned from the Flyers on a conditioning assignment earlier in the day, began the play by intercepting a clearing pass in the neutral zone. The puck was knocked to Stafford, who entered the Penguins end, moved right and beat Brochu to the far post for his first goal since Nov. 7 vs. Hershey.
Wilkes-Barre evened the score on the power play with 9:21 to go in the first period. With Mark Murphy serving an interference minor, Steve Webb took a pass from Shane Endicott and skated in on goal from the side before finding Eric Meloche at the far edge of the crease for an easy tap-in. It was Meloche's fourth goal of the season.
The Phantoms took control in the second period with a pair of power-play goals to move ahead, 3-1. Furey netted the go-ahead goal at the 9:10 mark when he one-timed a Peter White pass from the corner into the lower right corner of the net. Mike Peluso also assisted on Furey's first career AHL goal.
"It's a pretty exciting feeling," said Furey about his goal. "I just wanted to try and contribute as much as I can. To get a goal is a bonus. You always want to get the puck on the net and create opportunities. We learned from our mistakes. We came out and stuck together and tried to keep it simple."
Philadelphia widened the gap exactly 10 minutes later on Sharp's seventh goal of the year. Jim Vandermeer, also reassigned from the Flyers this morning, took a feed from Kirby Law on the play and blasted a shot on net. Sharp was stationed in front and reached to poke in the rebound with 49.5 seconds left in the period.
Webb narrowed the deficit to 3-2 at 1:56 of the third period, with assists going to former Phantom Guillaume Lefebvre and Marquis Mathieu. Brochu was pulled for a sixth attacker with a minute to play, but Wilkes-Barre did not get a shot off the rest of the way.
"We have become very young defensively," said Phantoms head coach John Stevens. "Kirk (Furey) is considered a rookie but has a veteran presence. He plays extremely well. He works great on the power play. We were very comfortable in the third period. We were never on our heels. The atmosphere on the bench was confidence. In the second period we had some great chances to score. They came at us in the third period. It's something to build on going on the road."
The Phantoms close out the month in Albany on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. Philadelphia then plays at Hershey on Wednesday night and hosts the Norfolk Admirals next Friday at 7:05 p.m.
Phantoms Notes: Freddy Meyer, Nick Deschenes, Mike Siklenka and John Slaney were injured scratches, while Joey Hope and Peter Vandermeer were healthy scratches ... Rookie defenseman Randy Jones returned after missing nine games due to concussion symptoms ... Philadelphia is now 7-7-6 all-time when playing at the Wachovia Center ... Law (4G, 3A) and Furey (1G, 5A) each have five-game point streaks ... Little has won three straight decisions ... White has eight assists in his last five games ... The Phantoms hold a 28-13-3-1 lead in the all-time series.
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