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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Lose 2-1 In Overtime To Norfolk

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Mikhail Yakubov scored two minutes into overtime to lift the visiting Norfolk Admirals to a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phantoms tonight in front of a season-high crowd of 11,571 at the Wachovia Spectrum.

Philadelphia goaltender Neil Little stopped 46-of-47 shots in regulation, but was not able to handle the lone shot in overtime. Michal Barinka and James Wisniewski worked the puck to Yakubov on the decisive play and the center faked out a pair of Phantoms in the corner before heading to the net.

Yakubov encountered traffic outside the crease, but managed to barely slide the puck through Little's pads and over the goal line for his seventh goal of the season. All three of the teams' match-ups have gone into overtime this year, with Norfolk capturing the last two.

Rookie Tony Voce scored the only goal for Philadelphia, which has lost a season-high four games in a row. Playing in just his third home game of the year, Little recorded 46 saves, falling one shy of his club record set in November 1996.

Michael Leighton totaled 20 saves to help Norfolk conclude its six-game road trip at 2-4.

The teams played scoreless hockey in the first period before Norfolk assumed the lead while on the power play in the second. As Jon Sim served an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, Marty Wilford took a pass from Matt Ellison and fired a slap shot from just inside the blue line.

Rene Bourque collected the rebound, turned and backhanded the puck past Little at 12:43. It was his team-leading 11th goal of the season.

Philadelphia was outshot 24-1 in the second, matching club records for most shots allowed and fewest shots taken in a period. Little's 23 saves also tied a team record for most saves in a period.

"The second period was an embarrassing display of hockey by us," said Phantoms head coach John Stevens. "We have some issues here we're going to have to start tackling. I'm concerned about the reaction of our team. There was no life on our bench. We have to get going again and get some passion back in our game."

"I've been here a long time and don't think we ever got dominated in a period like that," said Little. "To get out of this game with a point is very fortunate."

The Phantoms bounced back in the third and evened the score 2:26 into the period on Voce's eighth goal. Sim and Joni Pitkanen received assists as Voce tallied his first goal since Nov. 27 during a flurry in front of the net.

The Phantoms are back in action on Friday at 5:00 p.m., when they travel to take on the Hershey Bears. Philadelphia will then play in Albany on New Year's Day before returning home to host the Rochester Americans on Sunday at 6:35 p.m.

Phantoms Notes: Freddy Meyer, Wade Skolney, Joey Hope, Riley Cote and Eric Meloche were scratched ... Sim played in his 400th game as a pro and 100th AHL game ... Norfolk's 48 shots were one short of a record for most attempted vs. the Phantoms ... Little suffered just his second loss in his last 12 appearances dating back to last season ... Swimmer Brendan Hansen, who won three medals at the 2004 Summer Olympics, dropped the ceremonial opening puck ... Philadelphia fell to 4-2 in overtime games.

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