|Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Lose 3-2 to Binghamton in Shootout
Sunday, December 19, 2004
By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent
Chris Kelly scored twice in regulation and Brandon Bochenski tallied the decisive shootout goal as the Binghamton Senators edged the Philadelphia Phantoms, 3-2, tonight at the Wachovia Spectrum.
Kelly netted his second of the game with 5:25 remaining in the third period to give Binghamton a 2-1 lead. The Phantoms called their timeout with 47 seconds left and pulled goaltender Antero Niittymaki at the 19:27 mark.
With the seconds ticking down, Dennis Seidenberg and Jon Sim worked the puck to Patrick Sharp beyond the far circle. The center settled the puck and fired a long slap shot that made its way through traffic and over the shoulder of Binghamton netminder Billy Thompson for his second goal of the game with 4.1 seconds to go.
"There wasn't much time left," recalled Sharp about the tying goal. "Dennis gave me the puck and I tried to get the full net. I kept my head up, made sure they didn't block the shot and ended up banging it in there."
Each team had good scoring chances in overtime before advancing to their second shootout against each other this season. Denis Hamel and Sim both scored in the second round as the shootout was even at 1-1 through four rounds. Bochenski led off the fifth by beating Niittymaki, and R.J. Umberger shot high in the Phantoms' final attempt as Binghamton notched the win.
Thompson stopped 29-of-31 shots in regulation for Binghamton, which lost a 2-1 shootout decision in Philadelphia on Nov. 17.
Coming off Friday's 1-0 shutout of the Manchester Monarchs, Niittymaki made 26 saves tonight, including all four shots he faced in overtime. The Phantoms had a three-game win streak halted and lost in a shootout for the first time in four tries this year.
"It's a tough way to lose, especially after you win three shootouts," said Phantoms head coach John Stevens. "It leaves a bad taste in your mouth, but we've been there before with this team, and I guess what comes around goes around. It didn't seem like we had energy tonight for 60 minutes and that's not the way we play."
Kelly tallied the lone goal of the first period at the 3:10 mark. Brian Pothier and Josh Langfeld worked the puck to Kelly for a shot from out front that rang off the post and in for his ninth of the year.
The second period featured a trio of entertaining fights over a 20-second span early on. First, Josh Gratton and the Senators' Brian McGrattan - two of the top three penalty minutes leaders in the AHL - took part in one of the lengthiest fights at the Spectrum in recent years.
Following a draw between Riley Cote and Danny Bois, Ben Eager decked Grant Potulny with ease to the delight of the hometown faithful. Using the momentum from the Eager win, Philadelphia evened the score just 45 seconds later on Sharp's 10th goal of the season.
Ben Stafford began the sequence by sending the puck along the boards to John Slaney. The veteran defenseman offered a cross-ice pass to Sharp, who one-timed it past Thompson at the 4:24 mark.
Kelly's second goal was made possible by Christoph Schubert, who drew Niittymaki out of his crease during a breakaway down the far side.
"We didn't get off to the start we would have liked to, our legs weren't under us in the first period," said Sharp, who recorded his first multi-goal game of the year. "I thought we played well in the overtime. We could have done more, but we can't make any excuses. We just have to play better next game."
The Phantoms are back in action on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m., when they travel to take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Philadelphia's next home game is slated for Wednesday, Dec. 29 at 7:05 p.m. vs. the Norfolk Admirals.
Phantoms Notes: Defenseman Rosario Ruggeri was recalled from the Trenton Titans (ECHL) earlier in the day and made his AHL debut ... Freddy Meyer, Wade Skolney, Joey Hope, Tony Voce, Randy Jones and Todd Fedoruk were scratched ... The Phantoms lost for the first time in 11 games at the Spectrum, as the team's two other home losses took place at the Wachovia Center.