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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Top Norfolk, 2-1
Rookie Netminder Houle Just Misses Shutout In AHL Debut

Sunday, November 20, 2005

By Brian Smith
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

PHILADELPHIA - The Phantoms won their third straight home game on Sunday, with a 2-1 triumph over the visiting Norfolk Admirals. Rookie netminder Martin Houle won his American Hockey League (AHL) debut, making 20 saves.

The Phantoms showed no signs of their 7-2 setback one night earlier in Hershey. In fact, Head Coach John Stevens made mention of the fact that he wanted his team to turn the page, echoing the sentiment in a post game conversation, "We have to erase that game and move on."

And that's exactly what Philadelphia did, scoring the game's first goal in the vanishing moments of the opening period. Freddy Meyer rifled a puck from the left point that didn't go on net. His intentions appeared to have the goaltender interpret a shot, but the bid ended up being a pass with pace to Pat Kavanagh who was standing three feet in front of and slightly to the right of the right post. Kavanagh merely turned his stick towards the goal and let the puck take its course to the back of the net.

The goal at 19:54 was Kavanagh's team-leading ninth of the season. Along with Meyer, John Slaney was awarded an assist and now is just six points away from becoming the AHL's all-time leading scoring defenseman.

At 17:12 of the second, just as a Phantoms power play was coming to an end, Philly blueliner David Printz fired a 55 foot cannon that missed wide. The carom off the backboards was a perfect rebound to Brent Kelly in the left wing circle. As the teams came back to even strength, he one-timed the puck through traffic and inside the right post to make it 2-0.

That score stood until Norfolk converted on their eighth power play at 12:40. A shot on net that originated from the left wing boards found its way to the left of Houle and was tucked in by Nathan Barrett to make it a 2-1 game.

The Admirals pressured in the late stages, even pulling their goaltender for the extra attacker. But the 20-year old Houle made the one-goal advantage stand, earning the win and the first star of the game honors.

The 7-10-0-2 Phantoms now head to Norfolk for a rematch on Wednesday night. Albany waits on Friday. The Phantoms next home game is Saturday, November 26 when the host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Wachovia Center. The second game of a doubleheader with the Flyers begins at 7:35 pm.

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