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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Lose 3-1 In Manchester

Saturday, March 13, 2004

By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Sam Ftorek tallied the game-winning goal 2:55 into the third period as the Manchester Monarchs posted a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phantoms tonight at Verizon Wireless Arena.

Yanick Lehoux recorded a goal and an assist and Jerred Smithson added an empty-net goal to help Manchester win its fifth game in a row. Mathieu Chouinard stopped 26-of-27 shots for the Monarchs, who have also picked up a point in each of their last 12 games.

Boyd Kane scored the lone goal and Antero Niittymaki made 25 saves as Philadelphia had its three-game win streak come to an end. The Phantoms will seek revenge when the Monarchs visit Philadelphia on March 28.

With the loss, Bridgeport pulled into a tie with Philadelphia for first place in the East Division. The Sound Tigers, who have played one less game, and Phantoms are two points behind the Hartford Wolf Pack for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

The teams felt each other out for the first 15 minutes until Kane opened the scoring with 4:48 to go in the first period. After Freddy Meyer had a long slap blocked in front, Peter White kicked the rebound back to John Slaney for another try. Chouinard stopped the shot, but Kane was there at the doorstep to knock in the carom for his 13th goal of the year and second in as many nights.

Slaney's assist extended his current point streak to eight games (8G, 6A), which is the longest on the Phantoms this season.

The score remained the same heading into the second period and Lehoux put Manchester on the board at the 3:13 mark. Noah Clarke streaked down the far side on the play and centered the puck to Lehoux, who got Niittymaki out of position before depositing his 10th of the season.

Philadelphia missed on three quality scoring chances later in the second stanza. Ian MacNeil stole the puck in the middle of the Manchester zone with 8:15 left, but hit the post, and P.J. Stock was denied less than a minute later following another Monarchs turnover.

Then during a Manchester power play, Stock stole the puck from Pavel Rosa at the Monarchs blue line and took off down ice. Rosa pulled him down from behind to set up a penalty shot with 37.2 seconds remaining, but Chouinard stuffed Stock's one-on-one attempt.

Manchester scored the go-ahead goal 2:55 into the third when Maxim Kuznetsov faked a shot from the point and found Ftorek at the side for an easy tap-in into an empty net. Lehoux also set up Ftorek's fifth of the year.

Niittymaki was pulled for a sixth-attacker with a minute to play and Smithson sealed the win with an empty-netter from center ice with 28.8 seconds left. Rosa and Joe Rullier received assists on Smithson's fifth goal.

Philadelphia plays its third road game in as many days on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. in Portland before returning home to host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Tuesday, March 16 and Friday, March 19.

Phantoms Notes: James Laux, Craig Berube and Nick Deschenes were healthy scratches ... Dennis Seidenberg did not travel as he continues to recover from a broken leg ... White has nine assists in his last eight games ... Philadelphia finished 0-for-7 on the power play after scoring eight times on the man advantage over the previous three games ... The Phantoms lost for the first time in 12 games that Kane has scored this season (9-1-2).

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