Ad SJSports Online
High School Links

Ice Hockey Links

Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Lose 2-0 To Norfolk
Philadelphia Unbeaten Streak Ended At Eight Games

Friday, December 5, 2003

By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Ajay Baines scored two power-play goals and Steve Passmore stopped 29 shots as the Norfolk Admirals ended the Philadelphia Phantoms' eight-game unbeaten streak tonight with a 2-0 victory at the Wachovia Spectrum.

Passmore made 14 saves over the first two periods and turned aside all 15 Phantoms shots in the third to notch his second shutout of the season. The Admirals won for just the third time in their last 11 games, ended a five-game road winless streak and assumed a 2-1-1 lead in the season series.

The Admirals and Phantoms will meet again on Saturday night in Norfolk.

Antero Niittymaki stopped 27-of-29 shots to suffer the loss for Philadelphia, which was 7-0-1 since its last loss on Nov. 15 at Bridgeport. The Phantoms finished 0-for-8 on the power play and were blanked for the first time this year.

"We got outworked by a country mile," said Phantoms head coach John Stevens. "There are no technical problems - we know Norfolk. They worked extremely well tonight. If we can't match their work effort, we have a problem. They showed up and played hard. We lost too many battles for loose pucks. We moved the puck, but we needed a net presence. We had chances on the power play. We have to capitalize on those opportunities."

Baines gave Norfolk a 1-0 lead with 59.6 seconds left in the first period when his shot from between the circles deflected off a Phantoms defenseman and past Niittymaki. Lasse Kukkonen and Ty Jones assisted on the power-play goal, which was Baines' third marker of the year.

Norfolk's team captain struck again on the power play with 1:47 to go in the second period. Matt Keith took the initial shot on the play and Baines swooped in from the far side to knock in the rebound. Baines entered the game with two goals in 25 games this season.

The Phantoms had four power plays in the third period, including a 5-on-3 advantage for 69 seconds, but came up empty as their six-game home unbeaten streak (4-0-2) also came to an end.

Philadelphia is back in action at home next Friday, Dec. 12 at 7:05 p.m. vs. the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The first 4,000 kids 14 and under in attendance that night will receive a Ron Hextall bobblehead doll, courtesy of Allstate.

Phantoms Notes: Freddy Meyer, Nick Deschenes, John Slaney and Mike Siklenka were injured scratches ... Kirby Law's team season-high seven-game point streak was snapped ... Philadelphia was shut out for the first time since Norfolk's Michael Leighton accomplished the feat last March 30 ... Niittymaki was unbeaten in his last eight appearances (4-0-2 with two no-decisions).

©2003 South Jersey Sports Online Inc.