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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Lose 2-1 in Overtime in Game Three of Eastern Conference Finals

Monday, May 23, 2005

By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Brad Boyes scored 14:08 into overtime tonight at the Dunkin' Donuts Center to lift the Providence Bruins to a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phantoms in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Despite the loss, Philadelphia still holds a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, with Games Four and Five set for Wednesday and Friday here in Providence.

Philadelphia held a 1-0 lead for much of the game until Keith Aucoin forced overtime with 6:54 to go in the third period. In overtime, Phantoms left wing Ryan Ready was robbed by Bruins goaltender Hannu Toivonen at 8:25 and the Phantoms were called for too many men on the ice three and a half minutes later.

The Phantoms killed the penalty, but Providence was still threatening when Philadelphia went to even strength and Boyes was able to place the puck past the goal line during a scramble outside the crease. Andy Hilbert and Aucoin received assists on Boyes' seventh playoff goal.

"I thought in the overtime, we created some good chances to score and it was just a hard hockey game," said Phantoms head coach John Stevens. "You never expect it to be easy and you know they are going to come in here and play hard."

Toivonen finished with 36 saves on 37 shots, while his Finnish counterpart Antero Niittymaki stopped 36-of-38 shots as Philadelphia had a four-game winning streak come to an end.

Philadelphia drew first blood for the third time in the series during a 4-on-4 situation in the first period. Freddy Meyer fed Jeff Carter for the initial shot on the play and Joni Pitkanen was there to collect the rebound and backhand the puck over Toivonen's shoulder at the 8:10 mark.

Pitkanen's third postseason goal gave Philadelphia a 1-0 lead at the first intermission, as Providence remained scoreless during the first period this series.

A high-sticking major on Mike Richards following the first stanza gave the Bruins a five-minute power play to start the second, but they managed just one shot on goal. In fact, the teams combined for just nine shots during the period as Philadelphia maintained its one-goal cushion heading into the third period.

The Bruins finally got to Niittymaki with 6:54 remaining in regulation when Milan Jurcina offered a cross-ice pass to Aucoin, who streaked into the Phantoms zone unimpeded. The center entered the far circle and placed a shot top shelf to even the score at 1-1.

Aucoin's fourth playoff goal snapped Niittymaki's personal scoreless streak at 119:01, which dated back to the third period of Game One.

Following Boyes' overtime game-winner, a benches-clearing brawl ensued, which resulted in a combined 68 penalty minutes being assessed. Richards decisively won a fight with Boyes during the melee, while Wade Skolney also fought Pat Leahy. A total of 131 PIM were called in the game.

Philadelphia had a seven-game win streak vs. Providence halted, which included both regular-season meetings and the first two games of this series. It was the Bruins' first win over the Phantoms since Dec. 21, 2001.

Phantoms Notes: Joey Hope, David Printz, Charlie Cook, Mark Murphy, Riley Cote and Tony Voce were scratched ... Philadelphia fell to 0-3 in Game Three of a playoff series this year ... Richards had a four-game goal-scoring streak snapped, while Ready's five-game point streak also ended ... The Phantoms are now 9-8 all-time in playoff overtime games.

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