|Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Philadelphia Battles To 5-4 Shootout Loss vs. Penguins
Sunday, November 6, 2005
By Brian Smith
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent
The Philadelphia Phantoms have seemingly tried everything to get out of their six game funk. Sixty-five minutes of hockey and nine rounds of a shootout with the Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton Penguins couldn't even turn the tide, as the Pens snuck out of the Wachovia Spectrum with a 5-4 shootout win on Sunday night.
Pat Kavanagh collected the first goal of the game and the only one in the first period, as the Phantoms subdued power play came to life. Rookie Alexandre Picard slid the puck through the Penguins crease. Kavanagh and Brent Kelly banged away, with Kavanagh scoring his second of the season.
After a disputed Penguins goal to open up the second, Captain John Slaney gave the Phantoms their lead back at 6:56. He sliced in on a loose puck to the right of the fallen Dany Sabourin and lifted in his third of the season.
B.J. Abel then made good at 9:10 while the Phantoms were penalty killing. Capitalizing on a neutral zone turnover, Abel finished his 65-foot breakaway with a perfectly placed bid, directed low and just inside the far post.
The resilient Pens, who had a 10-0-1 record and a league best 21 points coming into the game, roared back with a pair before the period came to a close. Just two ticks after a Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton power play had expired, pest Daniel Carcillo scored his second in as many games. Tomas Surovy then bagged his fifth of the season with the Penguins on the power play to tie the game.
"I thought we got off to a good start, but the same old story: penalties get us in trouble," said Head Coach John Stevens.
In a game where a vocal crowd begged for some answers to a handful of Phantoms infractions, Philly was granted four power play tries to the Penguins seven. No penalties, however, were whistled in the third as the Phantoms finished 2-4 with a shorthanded goal and the Pens scored once in seven tries with the extra man.
It appeared that the Penguins would register two points in regulation as Matt Hussey scored with just a shade under five minutes remaining in regulation. Pat Kavanagh, however, made sure that did not happen and secured the Phantoms a point of their own with his second goal of the game. Once again, Kavanagh was getting his nose dirty in the opponent's crease.
With the puck twirling perilously on the blue line and threatening to head into the neutral zone, Slaney pounced and then cannoned the puck at Sabourin. The Penguin goalie made the stop, but Kelly and Kavanagh were in the area and it was Kavanagh that put bookends on the regulation scoring at 16:44.
With no scoring in overtime, the clubs went to the best-of-five shootout. The teams were tied with three goals apiece at the end of five, as Slaney made sure it went to sudden death by scoring on the fifth Phantoms chance. The goal went for naught, though, as Hussey maneuvered the puck over the fallen Jamie Storr in the ninth round and Kelly was unable to counter for Philadelphia.
Stevens appreciated his team's perseverance and willingness to dig deep in the third game in three nights. "We got down late in the third and we came back. We got down in the shootout and we came back. And if there's anything to gain from this, it's the fact that we stayed in the fight."
The Phantoms garnered a point in the 5-4 final, putting their record to 4-7-0-1. Storr was carded with the SOL, stopping 24-28 in 65 minutes, and five of the nine shooters in the extra-extra. Sabourin had 29 saves and held six of the Phantoms nine shooters at bay.