|Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Cruise to 15th Straight Win
Sim Record Three Points in 4-1 Victory over Providence
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent
Jon Sim registered two goals and an assist as the Philadelphia Phantoms rolled to a 4-1 victory over the Providence Bruins tonight at the Wachovia Spectrum to extend their club-record win streak to 15 games.
Philadelphia is now tied for the second-longest winning streak in AHL history and can match the record of 16 straight victories on Friday when it hosts the Hershey Bears at the Wachovia Center. The Baltimore Skipjacks established the current league record during the 1984-85 season.
Antero Niittymaki stopped 20-of-21 shots to record his 11th straight win. The Phantoms also improved to 10-0 at home this season and are on their best home winning streak since setting the club record of 19 in 1996-97.
Rookie R.J. Umberger contributed a goal and an assist, while Randy Jones added a pair of assists for Philadelphia, which also posted a 4-3 overtime win in Providence on Sunday. The Phantoms have now won the last five meetings with the Bruins and lead the all-time series, 14-3-1.
Making his first AHL appearance since 2002-03, Andrew Allen finished with 31 saves for Providence. Allen began this season with the Trenton Titans.
Philadelphia opened the scoring 3:35 into the game on Umberger's seventh goal of the year. Sim took a feed from Jones on the play and tried a wraparound attempt. The puck came to rest in the crease and Umberger flew in to poke it past the goal line for his sixth goal in the last seven games.
The Phantoms doubled their lead at the 12:33 mark of the first - seven seconds after Providence's Brendan Walsh was sent off for obstruction-hooking. John Slaney began the sequence with a long slap shot that was blocked in front, but Umberger took possession between the circles and fired the puck on Allen.
The puck squirted through Allen's pads and Sim swooped in to record his sixth goal of the year and fourth in the last three games. Philadelphia's 2-0 lead was its largest of the season during the first period.
"We kept hammering down early on and the defense did a great job of keeping the puck in," said Sim. "We have a great group of guys here and our line is really clicking. Everything is going well for us. We just want to get out there and keep doing the same thing. We are going to win a lot of games if we just keep playing the way we have been."
Sim tallied another power-play goal 3:37 into the second period to make it 3-0. Freddy Meyer and Tony Voce set him up for a shot from between the circles that deflected off a Bruin and past Allen.
Sim, who was acquired on loan from Utah on Nov. 14, has eight points (5G, 3A) in his first five games as a Phantom after totaling two in 10 games with the Grizzlies.
Mark Murphy widened the gap to 4-0 with 2:18 remaining during a 5-on-3 situation. Jones and Dennis Seidenberg assisted on Murphy's sixth goal of the season and 100th in the AHL.
Martin Samuelsson ruined Niittymaki's shutout bid with 49.9 seconds to play when he netted his fourth goal.
The game featured a combined 208 penalty minutes, including 136 over the final 3:23.
The Phantoms are back in action this Friday at 7:05 p.m., when they host the Hershey Bears at the Wachovia Center. Philadelphia will then close out the month with games in Hershey on Saturday and at Syracuse on Sunday.
Phantoms Notes: Todd Fedoruk, Ben Eager and Wade Skolney sat out due to injuries ... Riley Cote was a healthy scratch ... The Phantoms scored first for just the sixth time this season ... This was Philadelphia's largest margin of victory since a 4-1 win over Hershey on Nov. 5 ... Umberger and Sim have scored nine of Philadelphia's last 16 goals.