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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Fall 4-3 in Wilkes-Barre

Saturday, March 5, 2005

By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Matt Hussey scored a pair of power-play goals early in the third period to lift the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phantoms tonight at Wachovia Arena.

Ramzi Abid and Colby Armstrong also scored for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, which has won five of its last six games and four in a row at home. Dany Sabourin finished with 27 saves to help the Penguins take a 5-3 lead in the 10-game season series.

Rookie Tony Voce scored twice and Antero Niittymaki made 16 saves as Philadelphia lost for just the second time in its last eight road games.

Wilkes-Barre took an early 1-0 lead on Abid's 22nd goal 2:34 into the game before Philadelphia scored twice during a four-minute span late in the first period.

Voce evened the score at 1-1 at the 14:19 mark when he collected the rebound of an Eric Meloche shot and netted his 13th goal on a wraparound. Boyd Kane also recorded his 100th AHL assist on the play.

Jon Sim put Philadelphia on top with 1:41 to go in the period as he slammed in a cross by R.J. Umberger during a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush. It was Sim's 21st goal of the year and 19th as a Phantom.

A weird bounce off the end boards led to Wilkes-Barre's tying goal at 4:48 of the middle period. Niittymaki waited to play the puck as it wrapped around the boards, but instead it caromed out front to a wide-open Armstrong, who tallied his 16th goal into an open net.

The goal was Wilkes-Barre's only shot of the second period, which set a Penguins record.

Philadelphia responded with another score by Voce, however, to take a 3-2 lead at 9:21 of the second. During a delayed penalty on Wilkes-Barre, Todd Fedoruk set up Voce from the corner for a wrister that beat Sabourin top shelf.

An altercation took place after the second period ended, which resulted in Josh Gratton receiving a fighting major, 10-minute misconduct and game misconduct. During Wilkes-Barre's five-minute power play to start the third, Hussey scored twice to give the Penguins a 4-3 lead.

Ryan VandenBussche assisted on both goals at 2:20 and 4:41 as Wilkes-Barre crept to within one point of second-place Philadelphia in the East Division.

The Phantoms meet up with the Penguins again on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. in Philadelphia. The team then begins a four-game road trip on Wednesday in Lowell. The trek will also include stops next weekend in Manchester, Portland and Worcester.

Phantoms Notes: Joey Hope, Joni Pitkanen and Mark Murphy were scratched ... Riley Cote served a one-game suspension due to accumulation of misconduct penalties ... Umberger has 12 points (2G, 10A) in his last nine games ... The Phantoms have allowed just three first-period goals in their last 13 games ... This was Voce's second multi-goal game of the season.

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