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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms at Albany Recap

Saturday, October 15, 2005

By Brian Smith
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Rookie Stefan Ruzicka powered the Phantoms offense, scoring twice in Philadelphia's 3-2 loss at Albany's Pepsi Arena Saturday afternoon. The game was actually the back end of a home-and-home, as the two tangled in Philadelphia last Sunday, with the result favoring the Phantoms, 4-2.

Both clubs scored twice on the power play, with the Rats collecting the first of the matinee with the man advantage at 10:25 of the opening period. Rookie David Clarkson followed his original 30-foot shot, triggered from the left wing boards. The puck was redirected from the pads of Phantoms backstop Jamie Storr and into the right wing circle. Clarkson zipped to the spot and snapped in his first as a pro.

The game's only even strength goal made it 2-0. At 14:45 of the middle period, Barry Tallackson finished off a two-on-one. With Storr committed to the puck handler Jason Ryznar, the disc was slid to Tallackson for the tap in at the right post.

Just 44 seconds into the third, Ruzicka sunk a short putt to get the Phantoms within one. Parked at the back post, he measured up a cross-crease pass for his first regular season AHL goal. His second, meanwhile, also cut the deficit to one, this time with just 2:36 remaining in regulation. R.J. Umberger and Tony Voce were granted the assists, as Ruzicka swatted in a 10-foot bid over Rats goaltender Ari Ahonen.

With Storr on the bench in favor of the extra attacker, Ruzicka sought his third of the game. Lurking at the side of the net, the 20-year old Slovakian attempted to jam a rebound through the fallen Ahonen, but the Albany netminder held his ground. Ahonen finished the afternoon with 26 saves, while Storr turned aside 31.

Tuomas Pihlman pocketed what proved to be the game-winning goal for the River Rats at 4:23 of the third. From behind the end line in the right wing corner, Pihlman banked the puck off a Phantoms defender and by Storr.

Next up for the 2-1 Phantoms is a two game set in Norfolk. They visit the Admirals on Oct. 21 and 22, with both faceoffs scheduled for 7:15 PM. A swing through New England will cap a season long seven game road trip. The Phantoms next home game is Fri., Nov. 4 at 7:05 PM against the Hershey Bears. That night at the Wachovia Spectrum, banners will be raised to the rafters.

Notes: The Phantoms were 2-9 on the power play and are 3-24 on the young season. Albany was 2-8 on the PP. Philadelphia has now allowed three power play goals on 24 chances---With the assist, Umberger has points in all three games. With a goal and four assists, he leads the team with five points: (1/4/5)---The loss snapped a seven game win streak against the Rats, with the last defeat coming in New York on Apr. 9, 2004.

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