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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Score Fives Times In Third To Post 6-2 Win Over Hersey

Friday, December 26, 2003

By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

The Philadelphia Phantoms continued their dominance over the Hershey Bears tonight by scoring the final six goals of the game - including five in the third period - en route to a 6-2 victory at the Wachovia Spectrum.

After Philadelphia fell behind 2-0 after the first period, Mark Murphy scored two of the six goals to help the Phantoms improve to 6-0 over the Bears this season. Philadelphia has outscored its instate rival, 27-10, in the first six match-ups, with six remaining.

Defensemen Freddy Meyer and Jim Vandermeer each recorded two assists for the Phantoms, who have won 13 of their last 17 games, including a current six-game unbeaten streak (5-0-1). Neil Little finished with 24 saves to win for the eighth time in his last nine decisions.

Tom Lawson stopped 24-of-30 shots for Hershey, which has lost three games in a row.

Hershey tallied a pair of power-play goals late in the first period to move ahead 2-0 after 20 minutes of play. Brett Clark opened the scoring at the 16:30 mark, just moments after Philadelphia's Craig Berube exited the penalty box to end a 5-on-3 situation. D.J. Smith and Gavin Morgan set up Clark's fifth goal - a low line drive into the bottom right corner of the net.

The Bears went on another two-man advantage following penalties on P.J. Stock and Vandermeer, and Brad Larsen capitalized with a blast from between the circles that beat Little top shelf. Pascal Trepanier and Eric Perrin received assists on the play at the 18:22 mark.

Kirby Law began the Philadelphia comeback with the only goal of the second period. On the power play, his deflection of a Meyer shot hit the post, but Law knocked in the rebound for his team-leading 13th goal of the year. Vandermeer also assisted on the play.

Boyd Kane knotted the score at 2-2 just 31 seconds into the third period. Right after serving a roughing minor, Kane received the puck from Vandermeer and dashed down the near side on a 2-on-1 before burying a shot by Lawson for his sixth of the year.

Murphy tallied the game-winner at the 5:55 mark following a turnover by Bears defenseman Marc Busenburg deep in his own end. Murphy grabbed the loose puck and netted his 10th of the year unassisted.

The Phantoms widened the gap to 4-2 with 8:09 remaining when Patrick Sharp scored his 11th on a 2-on-1 rush. Randy Jones and Kirk Furey set up the play during the 4-on-4 situation.

Ian MacNeil added his fifth goal at the 14:02 mark and Murphy capped the scoring with 18.7 seconds left off assists from Meyer and Stock.

"We shot ourselves in the foot with undisciplined play in the first period," said Phantoms head coach John Stevens. "We created a big hole for ourselves, but when we play the way we are supposed to play, good things happen. Down 2-1 after the second period, we felt we had a chance to win the hockey game. Somehow, someway, we find ways to win. We were looking for at least a point going into the third period."

The Phantoms close out the month with games in Norfolk on Saturday night and at home on Sunday vs. the Binghamton Senators. Sunday's game at 5:05 p.m. will be televised live on CN8.

Phantoms Notes: John Slaney and Joey Hope were injured scratches, while Mike Siklenka and Nick Deschenes were healthy scratches ... Hershey and Philadelphia next meet on Jan. 16 at the Spectrum ... Philadelphia tied a season high for goals in a game and set a season high for goals in a period.

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