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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Drop 2-1 Decision to Syracuse

Friday, January 7, 2005

By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Jamie Pushor's first goal of the year midway through the third period was the difference tonight at the Wachovia Spectrum as the Syracuse Crunch defeated the Philadelphia Phantoms, 2-1.

Mark Hartigan also scored and Karl Goehring made 22 saves for Syracuse, which completed a two-game season sweep of the Phantoms. The Crunch, who had dropped four of their last five games entering tonight, also posted a 2-1 victory over Philadelphia on Nov. 28 that snapped the Phantoms' AHL-record 17-game winning streak.

Jon Sim scored the lone goal and Antero Niittymaki finished with 29 saves as Philadelphia lost its fourth straight home game. The Phantoms are now winless in their last six meetings with Syracuse since their last win in the series in February 2003.

Syracuse opened the scoring 4:30 into the game on Mark Hartigan's eighth goal of the year. The play began when Goehring stopped a hard slap shot by Riley Cote and Tim Jackman sent the rebound out to Hartigan at center ice. The center darted down the ice alone and beat Niittymaki on a breakaway.

After Niittymaki stopped Matthias Trattnig's breakaway and robbed Joe Motzko from point-blank range, the Phantoms evened the score at 1-1 during their first power play of the game.

John Slaney fed Mark Murphy for a one-timer from the far circle and Sim was there at the doorstep to tally his 11th goal of the year and ninth as a Phantom at 16:53 of the first period.

Following a scoreless middle period, Pushor tallied the game-winner at 9:55 of the third when his slap shot from beyond the near circle sailed past a screened Niittymaki. Trattnig and Zenith Komarniski received assists on the play.

The Phantoms had a pair of power plays later in the third period, including one in the final two minutes when Chris Ferraro was sent off for slashing. Niittymaki was pulled for a sixth attacker with 55 seconds to play, creating a 6-on-4 situation, but Philadelphia came up empty.

"In my opinion, we're too easy playing," said Phantoms head coach John Stevens. "We're not working hard enough, plain and simple. It seems like we're just not being physical enough and we're not standing up to the other teams."

Philadelphia next plays in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday and entertains the Albany River Rats on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. Sunday will be Hall of Fame Night, as Bill Barber and Frank Bialowas are the first-ever inductees.

Phantoms Notes: Freddy Meyer, Josh Gratton, Joey Hope, Todd Fedoruk, David Printz and Ben Eager were scratched ... Ryan Ready served the second of a three-game league suspension ... Wade Skolney returned to the lineup after missing the last 20 games due to a concussion ... Brent Robinson made his Phantoms debut ... Philadelphia stopped all nine Syracuse power plays ... Slaney has a four-game point streak (1G, 3A) ... Murphy has recorded an assist in five of his last seven games.

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