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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Defeat Hamilton 4-1 for Fourth Straight Win

Saturday, October 29, 2004

By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Randy Jones scored 26 seconds apart early in the second period to help the Philadelphia Phantoms record their fourth straight win, a 4-1 decision over the Hamilton Bulldogs tonight at Copps Coliseum.

Rookie Ben Eager also scored late in the second period, when the Phantoms scored three times to snap a 1-1 tie through 20 minutes of play. Antero Niittymaki won his third straight start by stopping 29-of-30 shots.

After losing their first two games of the season, the Phantoms have now won four in a row. Philadelphia also posted a 5-3 triumph over Hamilton last Friday and completed its second straight two-game season sweep of the Bulldogs.

Dan Ellis finished with 20 saves for Hamilton, which has dropped three of its last four games overall and suffered its first home defeat of the year.

Philadelphia got on the board just 1:20 into the game as Patrick Sharp won a face-off in the Hamilton zone and sent it back to Freddy Meyer at the point. The defenseman launched a shot that made its way through traffic and past Ellis for his third of the year and second in as many games.

With the assist, Sharp remained the only Phantom to record a point in every game this year. He also extended his point streak to eight games dating back to last season.

The Phantoms came up empty during an 84-second two-man advantage midway through the period and then found themselves shorthanded at 11:59 when Josh Gratton also received an instigator minor and 10-minute misconduct during a fight with Bulldogs defenseman Dan Focht.

Just 23 seconds into the Hamilton power play, Jason Ward evened the score at 1-1 when he followed in the rebound of a Tomas Plekanec shot. Trevor Daley also set up Ward's second of the year, which ended Niittymaki's personal scoreless streak at 95:44.

Philadelphia took control in the second period with a pair of goals 26 seconds apart. Seidenberg gave the Phantoms the lead for good at the 6:36 mark with his first of the year. Peter White and rookie R.J. Umberger set up the power-play goal.

Jones also netted his first goal at 7:02 with a long wrister that sailed over Ellis' shoulder. Eric Meloche and White received assists on the play.

Eager's first goal as a pro with 47.5 seconds left capped the second-period scoring and gave Philadelphia a 4-1 cushion. Jones and John Slaney assisted on the goal as Eager gained possession after the puck hit a linesman and placed it past an out-of-position Ellis.

Hamilton outshot Philadelphia, 15-6, in the final period and had four power plays, but was not able to beat Niittymaki again.

The Phantoms are now off until Wednesday, when they battle the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks in the beginning of a season-high four-game homestand. Philadelphia will also host Hershey on Nov. 5, Cincinnati again on Nov. 7 and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Nov. 12 during that span.

Phantoms Notes: Joey Hope and Todd Fedoruk were scratched ... Boyd Kane and Joni Pitkanen did not travel due to injuries ... Wade Skolney made his season debut ... The Phantoms have outscored their opponent, 7-0, in the second period over the last two games ... Philadelphia finished 2-for-6 on the power play, while Hamilton was 1-for-9 ... Mark Murphy had his four-game point streak halted.

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