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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Fall to Cincinnati, 5-0

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

By Kevin Kurz
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

After a scoreless first period, the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks scored four times in the second en route to a 5-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phantoms at the Cincinnati Gardens behind goaltender Frederic Cassivi.

The loss ended the Phantoms' four-game winning streak, but Philadelphia still finished 4-1 on its longest road trip of the season. It was the Phantoms' first loss in Cincinnati since March 28, 2001 as they went 5-0-1 in their last six trips there.

Goaltender Antero Niittymaki, coming off of back-to-back shutouts, stopped all 13 shots he faced in the first period before allowing four goals in the second period. A goal by the Ducks' Mark Popovic at 7:12, his first of the season, ended the All-Star goaltender's scoreless streak at 153:45 dating back to Feb. 12 in Norfolk.

Later in the period, the Ducks kept up the pressure on the power play and scored twice with the man advantage. First, it was Zenon Konopka who found the back of the net at 8:20 for his 14th goal of the season. That goal ended yet another streak for the Phantoms, who had killed off 36 penalties in a row.

Konopka tallied on the power play again on a deflection and Tim Brent also scored for Cincinnati in the second period.

Neil Little replaced Niittymaki after the fourth Cincinnati goal and allowed only a third period power play tally by Dustin Penner on 11 shots. Cassivi picked up his sixth shutout victory of the season by making 25 saves.

Cincinnati finished 3-for-14 on the power play, while the Phantoms failed in five attempts.

The Phantoms return home to take on the Hershey Bears on Friday at 7:05 p.m. and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. Friday's game will be televised live by Comcast SportsNet.

Phantoms Notes: David Printz, Randy Jones, Mark Murphy, Josh Gratton and Joey Hope were the scratches for Philadelphia, although Gratton played for Trenton (ECHL) on Wednesday morning in a school day game and is expected back in the lineup on Friday. ... The Phantoms fell to 1-2 all-time on Feb. 23. ... Philadelphia had won its previous five road games.

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