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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Win 1-0 In Hamilton
Little Make 25 Saves To Post The Shutout

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Neil Little stopped all 25 shots he faced and Peter Vandermeer scored the game's only goal 8:47 into the third period as the Philadelphia Phantoms posted a 1-0 victory over the Hamilton Bulldogs tonight at the Copps Coliseum.

Little turned aside nine shots in the opening period and made eight saves in both the second and third stanzas to notch his second shutout of the season, 11th as a Phantom and the 14th of his pro career. The 32-year-old netminder has won seven of his last eight decisions.

Vandermeer, the AHL leader in penalty minutes, netted his first game-winning goal of the season with 11:13 remaining in the game. Peter White and Mike Siklenka received assists on Vandermeer's third goal of the year, as the puck deflected off the left winger's skate and past Hamilton goaltender Eric Fichaud.

The win extended Philadelphia's road unbeaten streak to eight games (7-0-1), which is the team's longest away from the Spectrum since a club-record nine-game win streak from Dec. 18, 1999-Jan. 22, 2000. The Phantoms have won 12 of their last 16 games overall and moved into sole possession of second place in the East Division.

Fichaud finished with 16 saves for Hamilton, which has been shut out in consecutive games after going 7-1-1 in its previous nine contests. The Bulldogs, who suffered just their second home loss in their last 14 tries, will seek revenge when they visit Philadelphia on Wednesday, Jan. 7.

Philadelphia ended a five-game winless streak (0-4-1) vs. Hamilton, defeating the Bulldogs for the first time since Jan. 23, 2002. The Phantoms also snapped a three-game losing streak when playing in Hamilton, winning there for the first time since Nov. 8, 2000.

The teams had just one power-play attempt apiece and each finished with seven penalty minutes.

The Phantoms return to action on Friday at 7:05 p.m. when they host the Hershey Bears at the Wachovia Spectrum. Philadelphia then plays at Norfolk on Saturday night and entertains the Binghamton Senators on Sunday at 5:05 p.m.

Phantoms Notes: John Slaney and Joey Hope did not travel due to injury ... Ian MacNeil was a healthy scratch ... Earlier in the day, goaltender Antero Niittymaki was recalled by the Flyers and Chris Houle was signed to a PTO to back up Little ... White has a five-game point streak (1G, 5A) ... Dennis Seidenberg had his five-game point streak snapped ... Phantoms opponents are 0-for-20 on the power play over the last five games ... Philadelphia is 3-for-48 on the power play over the last 10 games, but is 7-2-1 during the span ... The Phantoms have four shutouts this year to match last season's total.

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