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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Snap Funk, Take 5-2 Win Over Binghamton
Kavanagh Tricks Senators

Sunday, November 13, 2005

By Brian Smith
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Leading up to Sunday's rematch with the Binghamton Senators, the Philadelphia Phantoms had not won a game in nine tries. They had been close, but always seemed to come up on the wrong side of close. In fact, just one night earlier, the Phantoms were 32 seconds shy of earning two points and only skated away with one in a shootout loss in Binghamton.

The second game of the home-and-home with the Sens proved to be very different, and it was a former Senator that made the difference, as Pat Kavanagh bagged the Phantoms first hat trick of the season to lead Philadelphia to a 5-2 win at the Wachovia Spectrum.

The visitors scored first, with last night's hero making good. While operating on the power play, Denis Hamel took a pass in the slot from Brandon Bochenski and snapped a wrister off the right post and past Jamie Storr to give Binghamton the 1-0 lead just 2:42 into the game.

Kavanagh started out his night of scoring with a shorthanded tally 7:54 into the first period. He was camping in the low slot and managed to attract the attention of Marc Cavosie. Kavanagh toyed with Binghamton goaltender Billy Thompson before roofing one over the glove of the fallen netminder. Storr also received credit for an assist after having played the puck to Cavosie down the right wing boards. Kavanagh, meanwhile, extended his point scoring streak to four games.

Kavanagh attempted to explain the Phantoms fifth shorthanded goal of the season. "I came off the bench and Cavosie was going down the wing... I just skated to the front of the net. I came off the bench so I don't think anybody saw me there. I didn't want to yell to Cavosie because I didn't want them to know I was there. He made a good pass through the D's legs, and I sort of didn't know what to do, but luckily it opened up for me."

Kavanagh registered his second of the night and sixth of the season 4:14 into the middle period. He came down the left wing and stepped between a pair of Binghamton defenders at the Senators blue line, creating a 3-on-2. Kavanagh kept the biscuit and snapped a wrister past Thompson from the left circle for the 2-1 lead.

Philadelphia expanded the advantage at 6:32 of the frame. The power play unit weaved a string of tic-tac-toe passes that ended with the puck on the stick of Ben Eager at the right post. He tapped in the birdie put for the 3-1 lead, with Stefan Ruzicka and Dan Cavanaugh getting the helpers. The goal was sweet justice for Eager, as he suckered Danny Bois into an unsportsmanlike penalty to get his team on the PP.

Binghamton nabbed one back just over two minutes later. Jeff Heerema had the puck in a rush through traffic down the right side boards and was able to direct it towards Charlie Stephens. Stephens slid a seeing-eye puck along the ice and through Storr's skates to make it a 3-2 game.

Just 20 seconds into the third period, Kavanagh completed the hat trick when he came down the left wing side and launched a wrister. With the Binghamton defender being utilized as a screen, Thompson only saw the puck after it came to rest behind him.

The Phantoms staked themselves to a 5-2 lead with their second power play goal of the night. BJ Abel threw the puck on net from the right side point. It pinballed around the top of the crease and found its way to Joey Hope. He shoveled home his first of the season and third as a Phantom while on one knee.

"When you reflect back," noted Head Coach John Stevens, "going against Binghamton and you get three out of four points, that's progress. The bottom line is we need to win a game, but every point's important right now."

John Slaney held the tiller for much of the night and registered two points via the assist. With 446 points, he is now just eight away from becoming the AHL's all-time leading scoring defenseman.

Slaney and the Phantoms are now four points up on the Senators and have a 5-8-0-2 record and 12 points. They head to Bridgeport for a Wednesday faceoff with the Sound Tigers, returning to the Wachovia Spectrum on Friday night to face Hershey at 7:05.

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