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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Lose 4-2 in Bridgeport

Sunday, October 17, 2004

By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Dieter Kochan made 34 saves and Barrett Heisten converted a key third-period penalty shot to lead the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to a 4-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phantoms today at the Arena at Harbor Yard.

Ryan Kraft and Justin Papineau each scored in the first period and Eric Godard added an empty-netter for Bridgeport, which never trailed in the game.

Mark Murphy and Patrick Sharp tallied Philadelphia's goals, while Antero Niittymaki stopped 21-of-24 shots as the Phantoms fell to 0-2 this season. The Phantoms also had a three-game unbeaten streak vs. Bridgeport halted, as they had allowed just one combined goal in posting two wins and a tie to end last year's season series.

Kraft broke a scoreless tie 6:09 into the second period during a Phantoms power play. The center took possession at the Philadelphia blue line following a turnover by John Slaney and darted down the boards before cutting in on net and beating Niittymaki. It was Kraft's second goal in as many games this season.

Philadelphia struck back 74 seconds later when David Printz fed Murphy for a wrister from the center of the face-off circle. Printz recorded his first career AHL point on the play, while Murphy tallied his first goal of the year.

Bridgeport re-took the lead at 14:51 of the second period during a 4-on-4 situation. Chris Campoli took the initial shot from the point and Papineau deflected it past Niittymaki for a 2-1 Sound Tigers advantage. Rob Collins also assisted on Papineau's second of the season.

The Sound Tigers widened the gap to 3-1 at 6:39 of the third following a turnover in the neutral zone by Joni Pitkanen. Heisten headed the other way with the puck and was dragged down from behind by Pitkanen, leading to a penalty shot. The left wing then netted his first goal of the year by beating Niittymaki high to the glove side.

The penalty shot was just the third ever allowed by the Phantoms and the first since Nov. 23, 2001 by Hershey's Jordan Krestanovich. The only other penalty shot surrendered on the road by Philadelphia was scored by Kentucky's Pat Mikesch on Feb. 14, 1997.

Sharp cut the deficit to 3-2 at 9:11 of the third during a 5-on-3 power play. As Bridgeport's Kevin Colley and Campoli served respective holding and slashing minors, Slaney hit Sharp with a pretty cross-ice pass that the third-year center easily knocked past Kochan. Pitkanen also received an assist on the play.

Godard's empty-net goal capped the scoring with 36 seconds remaining.

The Phantoms return to action this Friday, Oct. 22 at 7:05 p.m., when they open the home portion of the 2004-05 season vs. the Hamilton Bulldogs at the Wachovia Center.

Phantoms Notes: Boyd Kane, Chris Houle, Wade Skolney, Joey Hope and B.J. Abel were scratched ... Kane sat out due to a bruised left hand ... Jeff Smith completed his two-game suspension due to a match penalty received during preseason play ... Sharp is the only Phantom to record a point in each of Philadelphia's first two games ... The Phantoms and Sound Tigers will meet seven more times, with the next match-up set for Oct. 27 in Philadelphia.

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