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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Lose 3-2 in Portland

Saturday, March 12, 2005

By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Brian Willsie scored twice in the second period to lead the Portland Pirates to a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phantoms this afternoon at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Rookie Tony Voce tallied both goals for Philadelphia, which fell to 2-1 on its four-game road trip through the Northeast. Neil Little made 21 saves as the Phantoms lost on the road for just the third time in their last 11 tries.

Making his first career AHL start and third appearance for the Pirates, Maxime Daigneault stopped 27-of-29 shots to notch the win. Portland won its seventh straight home game despite being outshot 29-24.

The Phantoms used a 5-on-3 advantage to take a 1-0 lead with 4:20 left in the opening period. John Slaney began the sequence with a shot that hit the post, but Eric Meloche collected the rebound and pushed it back to the veteran defenseman. Slaney fired again and Voce deflected it past Daigneault for his 16th goal and second in as many nights.

Voce also registered his eighth power-play goal on the play, which leads the Phantoms and ranks tied for second amongst all AHL rookies.

Portland rallied in the second period thanks to a pair of goals by Willsie. The right wing evened the score 53 seconds into the frame with a turning shot that made its way past Little. Shaone Morrisonn and Jared Aulin set up Willsie's 14th goal of the year.

Willsie struck again with 27 seconds to go in the second as former Pirate Mark Murphy served an elbowing minor. Aulin and Trent Whitfield received assists on the play.

Chris Hajt scored what turned out to be the game-winner at 1:52 of the third period when he knocked in a loose puck in front of the goal. Michel Periard and Brian Sutherby fed Hajt for his third goal that made it 3-1.

Voce netted his second goal of the game just 56 seconds later during a 4-on-4 situation. Dennis Seidenberg and Murphy assisted on the play, but that would be the final scoring of the afternoon.

The Phantoms conclude their four-game road trip on Sunday afternoon in Worcester. Philadelphia's next home game is set for Friday, March 18 at 7:05 p.m. vs. Worcester. Following a game in Binghamton on March 19, Philadelphia will seek revenge against the Pirates at home on Sunday, March 20 at 6:05 p.m.

Phantoms Notes: Joey Hope, David Printz, Patrick Sharp and Ryan Ready were scratched ... Seidenberg recorded his 100th point as a pro ... Voce registered his third multi-goal game and has seven points (5G, 2A) in his last six games ... Slaney has eight points (1G, 7A) in his last seven games ... Jon Sim had his six-game point streak and four-game goal-scoring streak snapped ... Philadelphia still leads the all-time series 7-5-1.

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