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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Lose 3-1 To Worcester

Friday, January 2, 2004

By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Mike Glumac recorded a hat trick to lead the visiting Worcester IceCats to a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phantoms tonight at the Wachovia Spectrum.

Glumac, in his first full AHL season out of Miami of Ohio University, snapped a 1-1 tie 36 seconds into the third period and sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 34.7 seconds remaining. It was the first hat trick of the season by an IceCat.

Curtis Sanford stopped 17-of-18 shots for Worcester, which had lost three of its last four games and was 0-2-1 in its last three road games. The IceCats have won the last four match-ups in the series since Philadelphia's last win on Oct. 5, 2001.

Kirby Law scored the lone goal and Antero Niittymaki made 25 saves for Philadelphia, which has lost three games in a row for the first time since a five-game skid from Oct. 18-Nov. 1.

"It certainly was a team effort in the negative sense," said Phantoms head coach John Stevens. "We were not close tonight. We were a full step behind them. Our power play got outworked. Our penalty killing got outworked. With that effort, you're not going to win too many games. We were stuck in the holiday blues. We were soft with and without the puck. We have to work a lot better."

Following a scoreless opening period in which Philadelphia failed on a pair of 2-on-1 rushes, Worcester assumed a 1-0 lead 4:56 into the second stanza. Jay McClement took a feed from Jon Coleman on the play and fired a shot on net. The rebound rolled just outside the crease and Glumac was there to tap it in for his 10th of the year.

The Phantoms answered with 5:32 to go in the middle period on Law's team-leading 14th goal. Ben Stafford and Wade Skolney worked the puck to Law, who darted down the near side and unleashed a low line drive that sailed past Sanford.

"There was a scrum in our corner," said Law about his goal. "Skolney made a nice pass up to Stafford, who made a real defensive play to chip it behind their defense. I picked up the puck coming out of our zone, took the shot and the defender had his stick in front of mine. I think it fooled the goalie."

Glumac netted the game-winner 36 seconds into the third after John Pohl maintained possession behind the Phantoms net. Pohl fed Glumac in the near circle and the right wing beat Niittymaki near post.

Philadelphia came up empty on another 2-on-1 opportunity, this time at the 11:54 mark of the third while shorthanded, when Stafford hit the post.

Glumac then completed his hat trick with 34.7 seconds to play, with assists going to Scott Pellerin and Blake Evans.

"Teams are coming in and dictating the play," added Law. "For us to get a ways into the playoffs, that is going to have to change."

The Phantoms continue their four-game homestand on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. vs. the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Philadelphia then hosts the Hamilton Bulldogs on Wednesday, Jan. 7 before playing at Springfield and Binghamton next Friday and Saturday.

Phantoms Notes: Joey Hope and James Laux were injured scratches and Ian MacNeil was a healthy scratch ... Neil Little, Mike Siklenka and Peter Vandermeer were all suspended by the league ... After totaling a club-record 210 penalty minutes in their last game, the Phantoms had just 12 PIM tonight ... Philadelphia is 43-for-46 on the penalty kill over the last nine games ... Rookie defenseman Randy Jones received the Toyota Phantoms Player of the Month award for December prior to the game ... The Phantoms announced today that their game scheduled for Jan. 11 has been moved to Monday, March 8 due to the Eagles home playoff game.

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