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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Post 2-0 Win In Hershey

Saturday, January 24, 2004

By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Neil Little stopped all 24 shots he faced to help the Philadelphia Phantoms post consecutive shutouts for the third time in franchise history in a 2-0 victory over the Hershey Bears tonight at the GIANT Center.

Coming off Friday's 2-0 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Philadelphia used goals by defensemen Freddy Meyer and John Slaney to improve to 8-0 vs. the Bears this season. The Phantoms have outscored their instate rival, 33-10, in the eight meetings, including a 4-0 decision in the last match-up on Jan. 16.

Little notched his third shutout of the year, his 12th as a Phantom and the 15th of his pro career. Philadelphia registered its club-record seventh shutout of the season and blanked an opponent on back-to-back nights for the first time since Feb. 27 & March 2, 2001 - both vs. Quebec.

The Phantoms won for the eighth time in their last nine games to remain one point behind East Division-leading Bridgeport. Philadelphia also improved to 10-2-1 in its last 13 road games.

Tom Lawson finished with 30 saves for Hershey, which has dropped four of its last six games.

Philadelphia assumed a 1-0 lead just 3:08 into the game on Meyer's third goal of the year. Mark Murphy and B.J. Abel worked the puck to the rookie defenseman, who uncorked a slap shot from a step inside the blue line that made its way through traffic and over the shoulder of Lawson.

All three of Meyer's goals this year have occurred on the road, including two in Hershey, while Abel notched his first point since Oct. 18 vs. Toronto.

Following a scoreless middle period, Philadelphia tallied a key insurance goal after Jeff Finger and Steve Brule were sent off for holding and unsportsmanlike conduct, respectively, at the 16:20 mark.

With four seconds to go in the 5-on-3 situation, Slaney took a feed from Kirk Furey and blasted in a shot from the edge of the near circle. Boyd Kane also received an assist on Slaney's sixth of the year.

With the victory, Philadelphia matched a club record for most consecutive wins vs. one opponent, as the Phantoms previously won eight in a row over Adirondack from Jan. 10, 1998 - March 16, 1999.

The Phantoms are back in action on Sunday at 5:05 p.m., when they begin a season-high five-game homestand vs. the Springfield Falcons. Hartford, Milwaukee, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Albany also come to town during the five-game stretch.

Phantoms Notes: James Laux did not travel due to injury, while Craig Berube was a healthy scratch ... Earlier in the day, Antero Niittymaki was recalled by the Flyers and Little returned from the NHL team ... The Phantoms have had a different player score the game-winning goal in each of their last 11 victories ... The teams will meet four more times this season ... Philadelphia holds a 45-32-8-5 lead in the all-time series.

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