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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Lose 3-1 to Bridgeport

Friday, April 8, 2005

By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Justin Papineau tallied the game-winning goal in the second period and Wade Dubielewicz made 19 saves to lead the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phantoms tonight at the Wachovia Spectrum.

Chris Campoli and Jason Guerriero also scored as Bridgeport won for the third time in its last five games. The Sound Tigers also ended a five-game losing streak when playing in Philadelphia and finished with a split of the eight-game season series.

John Slaney netted Philadelphia's only goal and Antero Niittymaki stopped 20-of-23 shots as Philadelphia had a five-game home win streak come to an end.

With the loss, Philadelphia fell three points behind first-place Binghamton and remained four points ahead of third-place Norfolk in the East Division. The Phantoms have five games left in the regular season.

"We're getting down to crunch time here and we've got to do the right things all the time," said Slaney. "You have got to go play hard for 60 minutes. When you make mistakes in the neutral zone, don't get the puck out and make mental errors, it's going to catch up to you."

Bridgeport tallied the lone goal of the opening period as Phantoms defenseman Dennis Seidenberg served a tripping minor. Rob Collins and Justin Mapletoft calmly worked the puck around to Campoli, who one-timed a shot past Niittymaki at the 15:54 mark for his 14th goal of the year.

After finishing the period with just three shots, the Phantoms evened the score 5:10 into the second stanza on Slaney's 13th goal. Riley Cote took a feed from Mark Murphy on the play and attempted a shot from the side. The rebound kicked out to Slaney, who beat Dubielewicz far post.

But the Sound Tigers struck again to assume a 2-1 advantage at 7:32 of the middle period. Just seconds after Philadelphia killed a slashing minor on Patrick Sharp, Bridgeport's Ryan Caldwell was able to skate deep into the Phantoms zone. His shot hit the post, but Papineau knocked in the rebound.

The lead grew to 3-1 just 2:04 into the third period when Guerriero netted his first career goal. Sean Bergenheim fed the rookie cutting to the net and Guerriero placed a shot into the top left corner from between the circles.

Philadelphia managed just six shots during the final period and did not threaten after Niittymaki was pulled for an extra attacker with 86 seconds remaining.

The Phantoms finished with just 20 shots on goal and went 0-for-5 on the power play.

"We let this team come in and take it to us," said Phantoms head coach John Stevens. "They outscored us and out-chanced us and the special teams got outworked on both sides of the puck. They were killing us on face-offs and that's a quick indication of being ready to play or not."

Philadelphia plays at Hershey on Saturday before returning home to take on the Albany River Rats on Sunday at 6:05 p.m.

Phantoms Notes: Joey Hope, Eric Meloche, Charlie Cook and Joni Pitkanen were scratched ... Philadelphia wore replica Philadelphia Blazers (former WHA team) jerseys and auctioned them off for charity after the game ... Slaney has a four-game point streak (3G, 2A).

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