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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Post 3-1 Win in Game Three of East Division Semifinals

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Mark Murphy scored twice and John Slaney added a goal and an assist as the Philadelphia Phantoms posted a 3-1 victory over the Norfolk Admirals in Game Three of the East Division Semifinals tonight at the Norfolk Scope.

Antero Niittymaki stopped 17-of-18 shots for Philadelphia, which took a two games to one lead in the best-of-seven series. Game Four is set for Wednesday at the Scope.

The Phantoms limited Norfolk to just five shots during the first period and assumed a 1-0 lead at the 15:06 mark on Murphy's first goal of the postseason. Rookie defenseman Joey Hope, who did not play in the first two games of the series, took the initial shot from the right point and the rebound kicked out to Murphy, who deposited it top shelf past Admirals netminder Craig Anderson.

Philadelphia doubled its lead just 14 seconds into the second period on Slaney's first playoff goal. Boyd Kane brought the puck into the Admirals end along the far board and slid a pass to Mike Peluso, who crossed it to Slaney. The four-time AHL All-Star skated in a few strides and wristed a shot over Anderson's shoulder to make it 2-0.

Murphy struck again at the 5:17 mark as Norfolk's Johnathan Aitken sat due to an elbowing minor. Slaney began the sequence by sending the puck to Kirk Furey in the near circle. The defenseman immediately found Murphy alone in the opposite circle for a high slap shot that widened the gap to 3-0.

Anderson was pulled in favor of Game One starter Michael Leighton following Murphy's second goal. Anderson, who posted the win in Game Two, finished with 10 saves on 13 shots.

Norfolk finally got on the board at 8:42 of the third period after a hooking call on Phantoms left wing Steve Gainey. During a scramble in front of the Philadelphia net, Duncan Keith intercepted a bad clearing pass and tallied his first career playoff goal. Matt Keith and Mikhail Yakubov received assists on the play.

Leighton was pulled for a sixth attacker with over two minutes remaining, but Norfolk was unable to cut into the deficit.

Philadelphia was held to zero shots in the final period, setting a club record. The previous mark of two was set in Game Six of the 1998 Western Conference Finals at Albany.

The Admirals host Games Four and Five on Wednesday and Friday. Games Six and Seven, if necessary, will be played in Philadelphia on Saturday, May 1 and Monday, May 3 at the Wachovia Center.

Phantoms Notes: Stephen Wood, James Laux, Les Borsheim, Stefan Ruzicka and Craig Berube were scratched ... Ben Eager and Dennis Seidenberg did not travel ... Ian MacNeil had his two-game goal scoring streak snapped ... The Phantoms posted their first playoff win on the road since April 28, 2001 in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

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