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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Lose 3-1 at Norfolk in Game Three of East Division Semifinals

Monday, April 25, 2005

By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Craig Anderson made 30 saves tonight at the Scope to lead the Norfolk Admirals to a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phantoms in Game Three of the East Division Semifinals.

Philadelphia still holds a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, with Games Four and Five set for Wednesday and Friday in Norfolk. If necessary, Games Six and Seven would be played in Philadelphia on Sunday and Monday.

Colin Fraser and Ajay Baines each scored in the third period to snap a 1-1 tie through 40 minutes of action. Meanwhile, Anderson turned aside all 14 shots he faced in the final stanza and helped kill Philadelphia's three power-play attempts during the period.

Antero Niittymaki finished with 31 saves on 34 shots for Philadelphia, which was attempting to take a three games to none lead in a best-of-seven series for just the second time in club history.

Josh Gratton opened the scoring for Philadelphia at the 7:11 mark of the first period - just 11 seconds after serving a cross-checking minor. Patrick Sharp deflected Jeff Carter's initial shot from the near wall and Gratton was there to tap in the rebound for his first career playoff goal.

But Norfolk took advantage of a Philadelphia turnover in its own end to knot the score at 1-1 with 7:10 to play in the opening frame. Eric Nickulas took a feed from Baines on the play and launched a shot from between the circles that Jason Morgan deflected into the top left corner of the net.

The goal ended Niittymaki's personal scoreless streak at 111:55, which dated back to early in the second period of Game One.

Fraser was credited with the game-winner 1:58 into the third when Niittymaki and Joni Pitkanen misplayed a puck at the side of the net. Following two failed man-advantage situations for the Phantoms, Norfolk's Brent Seabrook intercepted a bad clearing pass at the blue line and fed Baines for an insurance goal with 4:58 remaining.

Philadelphia finished 0-for-7 on the power play and was outshot, 34-31. The Phantoms did kill all four Norfolk power plays and are 20-for-21 on the penalty kill during the series.

These two teams are meeting in the division semifinals for the second year in a row, as Philadelphia captured last season's series in six games.

Phantoms Notes: Joey Hope, David Printz, Charlie Cook, Mark Murphy and Tony Voce were scratched ... The Phantoms fell to 9-7 all-time in Game Three of a playoff series and 19-19 when playing a postseason road game ... Sharp is the only Phantom to record a point in all three games.

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