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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Skate To 4-1 Win In Cincinnati
Philadelphia Moves Into First Place In East Division

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Steve Gainey recorded a goal and an assist and Neil Little made 21 saves as the Philadelphia Phantoms moved into first place in the AHL's East Division with a 4-1 victory over the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks tonight at the Cincinnati Gardens.

Rookie Randy Jones added a pair of assists, while John Slaney, Boyd Kane and Freddy Meyer all scored for Philadelphia, which has won three straight games overall and on the road. With the victory, the Phantoms moved one point ahead of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, who dropped a 5-2 decision in Hartford tonight.

Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 24-of-28 shots for Cincinnati, which has lost four of its last five games. The teams are now 1-1-1 against each other in 2003-04, with one match-up remaining this Friday in Cincinnati.

Philadelphia jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a pair of first-period power-play goals against the AHL's third-best penalty-killing unit. Playing in his 400th AHL game, Slaney netted his 10th goal of the year at the 8:02 mark, with Gainey picking up the assist. Slaney had set the all-time record for most career goals (125) by an AHL defenseman on Saturday.

Kane widened the gap to 2-0 at 10:18 of the opening period with his ninth goal. Mike Peluso and Kirk Furey set up the play, as Kane collected a wide shot off the end boards and stuffed it in past Bryzgalov.

Josh Gratton, who got in two first-period fights, put Cincinnati on the board with 1:14 left. Joel Stepp and Cory Pecker fed Gratton for a long drive from the point that resulted in his first career AHL goal.

Philadelphia responded 10:41 into the second period when Jones hit Meyer exiting the penalty box and the rookie defenseman backhanded a shot through Bryzgalov's pads. It was the ninth goal of the year for Meyer, who had registered his first career hat trick in his last game.

Gainey increased the lead to 4-1 during a 4-on-4 situation with 5:31 to go in the middle period. Ben Stafford and Jones set up Gainey's eighth of the year and first since being acquired from the Dallas Stars organization last week.

The teams played scoreless hockey in the third period as Philadelphia won its fourth consecutive game in Cincinnati. The Phantoms have not lost on the road in this series since March 28, 2001.

Philadelphia continues its season-high seven-game road trip on Friday with another contest against the Mighty Ducks. The trip also includes stops in Milwaukee on Saturday and in Grand Rapids on Sunday.

Phantoms Notes: Wade Skolney did not travel due to a shoulder injury, while James Laux and Chris Houle were healthy scratches ... Earlier in the day, Antero Niittymaki and Meyer were reassigned from the Flyers ... Six of Slaney's 10 goals this season have come on the power play ... Cincinnati was 0-for-11 on the power play, including over two minutes of 5-on-3 time ... Little has won six of his last seven starts ... The Phantoms lead 32-9-4 in the all-time series.

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