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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Fall to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 4-1

Saturday, February 5, 2005

By Kevin Kurz
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins scored three times in the second period en route to a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phantoms at Wachovia Arena on Saturday night.

With the loss, the Phantoms slipped further behind in the standings in the East Division and remain in fourth place. Philadelphia is just 5-15 in its last 20 games, including a current four-game losing streak.

After Wilkes-Barre's David Koci scored his first goal of the season at the 4:48 mark of the second period to open the scoring, Erik Christensen made it 2-0 on the power play at 8:09.

On the play, Ryan Whitney skated the puck across the blue line and left a drop pass for Ramzi Abid. Abid's slap shot missed the net entirely, but Christensen was there to tap in the rebound for what turned out to be the game-winning goal.

R.J. Umberger's 13th goal of the season for Philadelphia made it 2-1, as the rookie was stationed at the side of the net and managed to whack in a lose puck past Marc-Andre Fleury at 9:27, but a shorthanded goal by Colby Armstrong gave Wilkes-Barre back its two-goal cushion a little more than three minutes later.

Antero Niittymaki was replaced by Neil Little in net after he allowed the slap shot by Armstrong to carom into the net off of his shoulder. Niittymaki finished with 12 saves and recorded the loss, while Little stopped five of six shots in relief.

Fleury picked up the victory with 20 saves in net for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, which is 9-2 in its last 11 games.

Shane Endicott scored late in the third period on the power play to cap the scoring.

Whitney finished the game with three assists.

Philadelphia is back in action on Wednesday in Norfolk. The Phantoms then return home to entertain the Lowell Lock Monsters on Friday at 7:05 p.m. before beginning a season-high five-game road trip in Norfolk next Saturday, Feb. 12.

Phantoms Notes: Jeff Smith and Patrick Sharp each received game misconducts in the third period. ... Defenseman Stephen Wood was recalled from Trenton (ECHL) prior to the game. ... Ryan Ready played in his 400th game as a pro. ... Randy Jones, Tony Voce, Mark Murphy, Josh Gratton, Rosario Ruggeri, Wade Skolney and Joey Hope were all scratched. ... Philadelphia fell to 1-1 all-time on Feb. 5. ... The Phantoms and Penguins are the only two teams in the AHL that have not been shutout this season.

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