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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Lose 2-1 to Rochester

Friday, January 21, 2005

By Kevin Kurz
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Paul Gaustad scored two goals, including the game-winner in the third period, as the Rochester Americans defeated the Philadelphia Phantoms at the Blue Cross Arena, 2-1.

With the game tied 1-1, Gaustad controlled the puck and skated towards the net. Phantoms defenseman Joni Pitkanen was there to knock the puck away, but it bounced off of Pitkanen's stick and behind goaltender Antero Niittymaki just over seven minutes into the final frame.

The defeat extended Philadelphia's losing streak to four games.

The Phantoms took the early lead courtesy of a goal by Jon Sim. After winning an offensive zone faceoff, Sim tipped in a slap shot by Eric Meloche at 2:22 of the first period for his fifth goal in the last seven games.

Rochester responded with the only goal of the second period to tie the game. The Americans passed the puck around the Philadelphia zone before Gaustad took a shot through heavy traffic in front of Niittymaki and the puck snuck past the goal line at 6:51.

The Americans had a golden opportunity to take the lead before the end of the second period when a couple of penalties to Meloche and Boyd Kane gave them a two-man advantage, but Niittymaki robbed Derek Roy alone at the side of the net with a pad save with under a minute left.

Rochester had two breakaways before the tie-breaking goal by Gaustad, but Thomas Vanek hit the post and Doug Janik was stopped by Niittymaki on the same shift moments later.

Niittymaki finished with 25 saves, while Americans goaltender Ryan Miller picked up the victory in net with 31 saves.

The Phantoms face the Hershey Bears on Saturday at the Giant Center at 7:00 p.m. before returning home to the Wachovia Spectrum to play the Albany River Rats on Monday, Jan. 24 at 7:05 p.m.

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