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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Blank River Rats 3-0
Little Makes 27 Saves in Shutout

Sunday, January 9, 2005

By Kevin Kurz
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Neil Little stopped all 27 shots he faced and Jon Sim scored a pair of third-period goals as the Philadelphia Phantoms posted a 3-0 victory over the Albany River Rats tonight in front of a crowd of 8,561 at the Wachovia Spectrum.

Dennis Seidenberg and Ryan Ready each added two points for the Phantoms, who snapped a four-game home losing streak. Philadelphia is now 3-0 vs. Albany this season and unbeaten in its last seven meetings (6-0-1) with the River Rats at home.

Little turned aside nine shots in each period to improve to 10-2 in 2004-05. It was the veteran goaltender's first shutout of the season, his 16th as a Phantom and the 19th of his professional career.

"Our guys seem to show a lot of resolve," said Phantoms head coach John Stevens. "We came out there more aggressive and had better control of the puck. He (Little) responded to the challenge. He knew this was a big game tonight and stood up to it."

Scott Clemmensen finished with 25 saves for Albany, which suffered its 11th straight loss.

Seidenberg tallied the lone goal of the first period with 6:13 remaining. Just after a Phantoms power play expired, Albany's Dean McAmmond wrapped the puck around the end boards to Seidenberg, who was stationed along the far wall.

The German defenseman immediately backhanded a shot on net that made its way past Clemmensen for his sixth goal of the season. It was also his first score since Dec. 15.

Twenty-eight seconds later, Philadelphia went on a nine-minute power play when River Rats left wing Rob Skrlac received high-sticking and instigator minors, a fighting major, a 10-minute misconduct and game misconduct for assaulting Wade Skolney.

The Phantoms also had a 5-on-3 advantage during the span thanks to a delay of game call on Clemmensen, but could not extend their one-goal lead.

Philadelphia killed a trio of Albany power plays in the second stanza before finally making it 2-0 at 3:47 of the third. Returning from a three-game AHL suspension, Ready carried the puck into the River Rats zone to begin the scoring sequence.

Ready hit Seidenberg with a cross-ice pass and Seidenberg feathered another cross-ice pass to Sim, who one-timed it past a helpless Clemmensen. Sim has now scored in three consecutive games.

The Phantoms put the game away with 1:27 remaining when Sim one-timed in a pretty feed from Ready. Patrick Sharp also received an assist on Sim's 14th goal of the year and 12th as a Phantom.

"We started playing more consistently," said Seidenberg. "We didn't lay back between periods and we kept the pressure on."

Philadelphia is back in action on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m., when it hosts the Binghamton Senators. The Phantoms then play at Norfolk on Friday and entertain the Admirals next Sunday at 7:05 p.m.

Phantoms Notes: Prior to the game, Bill Barber and Frank Bialowas became the first-ever inductees into the Phantoms Hall of Fame ... Boyd Kane, Freddy Meyer, Josh Gratton, Joey Hope, Todd Fedoruk, David Printz and Ben Eager were scratched ... As part of Win-One-Get-One-Free Night, everyone in attendance tonight will receive a free ticket to this Wednesday's game vs. Binghamton ... Sharp recorded his 100th point as a pro ... Philadelphia's penalty-killing unit is 22-for-23 over the last three games ... Sim registered his third multi-goal game of the year ... John Slaney had his five-game point streak come to an end ... Little has lost just two of his last 15 starts dating back to last season ... Philadelphia's last home loss vs. Albany came on Dec. 9, 2000 ... Each team was 0-for-6 on the power play.

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