|Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Edge River Rats 3-2
Monday, January 24, 2005
By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent
Todd Fedoruk and Boyd Kane each recorded a goal and an assist to help the Philadelphia Phantoms pull out a 3-2 victory over the Albany River Rats tonight at the Wachovia Spectrum.
Patrick Sharp also scored as Philadelphia snapped a four-game losing streak and improved to 4-0 vs. Albany this season. The Phantoms are also unbeaten in their last eight home match-ups with the River Rats.
Playing in his 200th game as a pro, Antero Niittymaki snapped a personal eight-game losing streak by stopping 27-of-29 shots. His counterpart Scott Clemmensen was unscored upon after 40 minutes of play, but surrendered three goals over the first seven minutes of the third and finished with 34 saves on the night.
Trailing 1-0 through two periods, the Phantoms evened the score 2:16 into the third stanza on Kane's fourth goal of the year. Fedoruk brought the puck down the far side and behind the net on the play before placing it in front to Kane, who tapped it past Clemmensen.
"It gets frustrating when you're not winning," said Kane. "So with a team like this that is at the bottom of the division, you have to beat them, especially at home. Tonight may be a turning point for us so we can get things going in the right way."
Fedoruk and Kane hooked up again less than three minutes later to give the Phantoms the lead for good. This time, Ben Stafford and Kane controlled the puck behind the net before Fedoruk took control and muscled his way in front and backhanded in his third goal.
"That line of Stafford, Kane and Fedoruk came out and really gave us a sense of purpose," said Phantoms head coach John Stevens. "It seemed like they had an undeniable will to make something happen. Todd Fedoruk was a big factor in the third period."
Fedoruk was playing in his first game since New Year's Eve, as he had missed the last nine games due to injury.
"It was nice, I got a chance to play a lot tonight and the team played well," said Fedoruk. "It's a step in the right direction. I felt a little tired at times, but in a couple of more games I'll be back in game shape."
Sharp extended the lead to 3-1 at the 7:01 mark when he deflected in a shot from the point by John Slaney. R.J. Umberger also assisted on Sharp's 15th goal.
Dean McAmmond, who had set up Zach Parise's second-period goal for Albany, narrowed the gap to 3-2 with eight minutes remaining. Albany pulled Clemmensen for an extra attacker with less than a minute to go, but still lost its fifth straight game overall and ninth in a row on the road.
The Phantoms are back in action on Friday when they host the Hartford Wolf Pack at 7:05 p.m. Philadelphia then travels to take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Saturday.
Phantoms Notes: Wade Skolney, Freddy Meyer, Josh Gratton, Joey Hope, Rosario Ruggeri and David Printz were injured scratches ... Jon Sim and Jeff Smith were healthy scratches ... Defenseman Jerramie Domish, a native of Collegeville, Pa., signed a tryout contract earlier in the day and made his AHL debut.