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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Defeat Norfolk, 3-1

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

By Kevin Kurz
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Mark Murphy broke a 1-1 tie late in the third period and Tony Voce added an insurance goal on the power play as the Phantoms broke a four-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the Norfolk Admirals.

Murphy took a feed from Patrick Sharp and one-timed it past goaltender Mike Leighton with just 3:15 left for the game-winning goal.

Shortly after, Norfolk's Rene Bourque was whistled for high-sticking giving Philadelphia its eighth power play of the game. R.J. Umberger passed the puck to the point to Joni Pitkanen, who then found Voce alone at the side of the net. Voce redirected in the feed from Pitkanen to give the Phantoms a two-goal cushion just 43 seconds after Murphy's go-ahead goal.

The power play tally broke a 2-for-66 slump over the last 13 games for the Phantoms, and was Voce's first goal since December 29 against the Admirals.

The win brought the Phantoms to within one point of the East Division lead. Philadelphia has 60 points, while Norfolk, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Binghamton all have 61. The Phantoms have played fewer games than all three of the teams ahead of them in the standings.

Philadelphia had lost its previous four games to Norfolk, which finished the night 0-for-9 on the power play.

B.J. Abel put the Phantoms ahead at 9:16 of the first period on Philadelphia's first shot of the game. His blast from the top of the faceoff circle beat Leighton high to the short side, as the puck glanced off of the crossbar and in.

The 1-0 lead held up until Michal Barinka's first goal of the season tied the game just over eight minutes into the third period. Barinka's slap shot from the point got past Antero Niittymaki as Mike Brown was screening the Phantoms' all-star goaltender.

Niittymaki finished with 25 saves in recording the win, while Leighton stopped 13 of 16 Phantoms shots to suffer the defeat.

The Phantoms 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 on Saturday.

Phantoms Notes: Dennis Seidenberg played in his 100th game as a Phantom. ... Jeff Smith served the first of his three-game suspension for his actions during the game in Wilkes-Barre on Saturday. ... Randy Jones, Todd Fedoruk and Josh Gratton remain out of the lineup with various injuries. ... The Phantoms improved to 2-2-2 all-time on Feb. 9.

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