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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Lose 7-4 in Binghamton

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

The Binghamton Senators scored four consecutive goals to start the third period en route to a 7-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phantoms tonight at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.

After the Phantoms rallied to even the score at 3-3 through two periods, Pat Kavanagh and Jason Spezza each scored in the first 5:20 of the third to give the Senators a 5-3 lead. Minutes later, cross checking minors on Ben Eager and Joni Pitkanen gave Binghamton a 5-on-3 advantage and Chris Neil tallied his second of the game at 9:32 to make it a three-goal game.

Josh Langfeld added his 25th of the year with 7:12 remaining to make it 7-3 and help Binghamton capture the seasons series, four games to two.

Spezza finished with a goal and two assists, while Anton Volchenkov had four assists for Binghamton, which leapfrogged Philadelphia to move into first place in the AHL's East Division. The Senators now have 90 points, while the Phantoms remain at 89 with one game in hand.

Eager recorded his first career two-goal game, while Jon Sim and R.J. Umberger each collected a pair of assists for the Phantoms, who lost for just the third time in their last 10 games.

Binghamton's Antoine Vermette tallied the lone goal of the first period with 86 seconds remaining before Eager evened the score 91 seconds into the second. Sim took a feed from Umberger on the play and tried to stuff the puck past Binghamton goaltender Ray Emery, but Eager was there to knock in the rebound for his sixth of the year.

The Senators answered at the 4:11 mark on Brandon Bochenski's power-play goal, his 28th, and assumed a 3-1 lead just over three minutes later when Neil converted on a 2-on-1 rush. Jesse Fibiger assisted on the goal as Neil used Charlie Stephens as a decoy before putting a move on Antero Niittymaki to net his second goal of the season.

Patrick Sharp began Philadelphia's comeback at 10:24 when Senators defenseman Jan Platil overskated the play and the third-year center was able to bury a shot past Emery. Eric Meloche and Boyd Kane received assists on Sharp's 21st goal and first since March 13.

Eager then tallied his second of the game with 3:43 to go in the second as Philadelphia knotted the score at 3-3. Umberger and Sim set up the power-play score.

After Binghamton's four-goal outburst, Josh Gratton netted a power-play goal with 28.3 seconds remaining to cap the scoring. Randy Jones and Pitkanen assisted on Gratton's eighth of the year.

Sim had his team season-high five-game goal-scoring streak come to an end, but did extend his point streak to seven games (7G, 4A). Pitkanen extended his team season-high assist streak to six games.

The Phantoms are back home this Friday at 7:05 p.m. vs. the Hershey Bears. Philadelphia then plays in Norfolk on Saturday before entertaining the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Sunday at 6:05 p.m.

Phantoms Notes: Joey Hope, David Printz and Ryan Ready were scratched ... Spezza became the first AHL player to exceed 100 points since 2000-01 ... Philadelphia had killed 18 straight power plays prior to Bochenski's goal ... Philadelphia lost for just the second time in 26 tries when scoring four goals in a game ... Umberger has a five-game point streak (1G, 8A) ... The seven goals allowed are a season high.

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