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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Take 2-0 Lead in Calder Cup Finals with 2-1 Double Overtime Win in Chicago

Saturday, June 4, 2005

By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Patrick Sharp scored the game-winning goal 3:50 into the second overtime tonight at Allstate Arena to lift the Philadelphia Phantoms to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Wolves in Game Two of the Calder Cup Finals.

Philadelphia, which posted a 1-0 win in Thursday's opener, now owns a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. The Phantoms will now host the next three games of the series, as Game Three is set for Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. at the Wachovia Center and Game Four is on Friday.

Coming off of Thursday's 27-save shutout win, Antero Niittymaki was stellar again tonight, stopping 48-of-49 shots and only allowing a second-period power-play goal during a Chicago two-man advantage.

Kari Lehtonen finished with 26 saves on 28 shots for Chicago, which has lost consecutive home games for just the second time this year.

The Phantoms forced a center-ice turnover on the decisive play as defenseman Freddy Meyer came up with the puck and fed Jeff Carter. The rookie center streaked into the Wolves end and feathered a centering pass between two defenders to Sharp, who beat Lehtonen into the top left corner of the net.

"There was a quick transition and Jeff Carter filled the middle and was carrying some good speed and got around," said Phantoms head coach John Stevens. "He got the puck across and Sharp just redirected at the net. It was a nice play and I was happy to see it go in because both teams were really starting to tire at that point."

"Jeff came flying down the ice with a lot of speed and that opened the play right up," recalled Sharp. "He made a great pass and I just put it on net. You have to get the puck up on this goalie. He's tough to score on, but it just went in."

The Phantoms and Wolves played scoreless hockey in the opening period for the second straight game before each team tallied a 5-on-3 power-play goal in the second.

Chicago struck first at the 4:52 mark as Jon Sim and Meyer were serving slashing and goaltender interference minors. Cory Larose and Joe Corvo worked the puck to Steve Maltais in the near corner and the veteran left wing skated in on net and deposited his fourth playoff goal past Niittymaki.

Philadelphia evened the score with 5:49 to play in the period after Brian Maloney and Tim Wedderburn were assessed roughing and interference minors. Stationed in the corner, Sharp received the puck from Carter and hit John Slaney in the slot.

The defenseman stopped the puck and uncorked a low slap shot that squeezed through Lehtonen's pads and squirted over the goal for his third goal of the postseason.

A combined 72 penalty minutes were handed out over the first 40 minutes of play, but things settled down thereafter. A shoving match after regulation gave the Phantoms a power play to start the first overtime, but they came up empty.

Chicago later had a continuous power play for 3:48 during the latter stages of the first overtime, but also could not beat Niittymaki.

Philadelphia has now assumed a 2-0 lead in all four series this year, but this is the first such occasion on the road.

Chicago outshot the Phantoms, 49-28, but went 1-for-13 on the power play.

Phantoms Notes: Joey Hope, David Printz, Charlie Cook, Tony Voce, Randy Jones, Mark Murphy and Eric Meloche were scratched ... Defenseman Alexandre Picard, who had been practicing with the team for the past few weeks, made his pro debut after signing an amateur tryout contract earlier in the day ...The Phantoms are now 10-8 all-time in playoff overtime games, including 1-1 this postseason ... Philadelphia improved to 13-7 all-time in Game Two of a playoff series ... Sharp's goal was the first even-strength marker of the series.

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