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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Fall to Norfolk, 4-3

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

By Kevin Kurz
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Pavel Vorobiev scored a penalty shot goal in the third period that turned out to be the difference, as the Norfolk Admirals defeated the Philadelphia Phantoms at the Norfolk Scope, 4-3.

The Phantoms led 2-1 entering the third period before three unanswered goals by the Admirals. First, Matt Keith tallied his second goal of the night when he deflected a slap shot by Marty Wilford past goaltender Antero Niittymaki at 2:43.

Later, Matt Ellison scored on a two-on-one rush with Anton Babchuk at 11:08 to give Norfolk its first lead of the game.

Joni Pitkanen hauled down Vorobiev at the 12:54 mark, leading to the penalty shot. Vorobiev skated in on Niittymaki and lifted the puck over the fallen Phantoms netminder for what turned out to be the game-winning goal.

John Slaney scored on a two-man advantage with less than two minutes left in the game, but it turned out to be too-little-too-late as Norfolk won its fifth game in nine tries with the Phantoms this season. The two teams meet once more in the regular season finale for both clubs on April 17 at the Wachovia Spectrum.

With the loss, the Phantoms fell behind Binghamton by one point for the East Division lead, as the Senators defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins earlier in the night. Philadelphia leads Norfolk by four points for second place.

The Phantoms jumped ahead in the first period and took a 1-0 lead to the locker room despite being outshot 13-6 in the frame. R.J. Umberger ripped a one-timer into the net on a feed from Ben Eager at 8:58 to open the scoring.

Umberger scored once again in the second period to give Philadelphia a two goal cushion when his slap shot from the face off circle on the power play beat goaltender Craig Andersen, who was making his first start since November due to injury.

Andersen finished with 15 saves to record the win, while Niittymaki stopped 31 shots in a losing effort.

The Phantoms return home to take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Friday at 7:05 p.m. Philadelphia then plays at Hershey on Saturday before entertaining the Albany River Rats on Sunday at 6:05 p.m.

Phantoms Notes: David Printz, Eric Meloche, Charlie Cook and Joey Hope were the scratches for the Phantoms. ... Jon Sim, who tallied a pair of assists on the night, has 29 points (19G, 10A) in his last 20 games. ... Umberger has 14 points (4G, 10A) in his last nine games.

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