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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Find Success Abroad, Philadelphia Takes 2-1 Win At Albany

Friday, November 25, 2005

By Brian Smith
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

It had been over a month since the Philadelphia Phantoms had won a game away from the Wachovia Spectrum. So it was an understandable relief to the team when that stretch came to an end Saturday night.

Ben Eager's goal 3:40 into the third period lifted the Phantoms to a 2-1 win over the Albany River Rats at Albany's Pepsi Center, snapping a nine-game road winless streak for the club.

Albany opened the scoring just before the first intermission when Ilkka Pikkarainen scored off a face-off in the Phantoms zone. Ivan Khomutov won the draw back to Pikkarainen, who placed his drive just inside the far post to the glove side of Martin Houle for a 1-0 lead.

The Phantoms tied the game up at 15:48 of the second period during a four-on-four situation. Charlie Cook got the puck from Marc Cavosie at the center point and blasted a shot on net that B.J. Abel deflected past goaltender Frank Doyle to make it 1-1.

Eager's decisive tally came when he skated down the left wing and simply snapped a shot past Doyle to give Philadelphia the 2-1 lead. Brent Kelly and Pat Kavanagh were credited with the helpers.

Philadelphia fired a season-high 43 shots at Doyle, who took the loss despite stopping 41 of them. Houle earned the win by stopping 28 of 29 Albany opportunities. The Phantoms had the advantage on the power play, receiving 10 man-advantages to Albany's four, but both teams came up empty on all their chances with the extra attacker.

The game marked the return of Ryan Ready to the Phantoms lineup. Ready had not yet played this season after suffering an injury while in training camp with the Philadelphia Flyers. To make room on the roster, the Phantoms returned Ken Magowan to Toledo of the ECHL. Magowan was +1 in four appearances for the Phantoms and did not register a point.

The win was Philadelphia's first on the road since a 1-0 win at Norfolk on October 22. The nine-game road winless streak that came to an end is a franchise record, surpassing the seven-game road winless streak (0-7-0) that the team endured from Nov. 2 - 30, 2002. Philadelphia was 0-8-1 during the nine-game skid.

The Phantoms now return to Philadelphia, where they'll take part in a unique doubleheader on Saturday with the Flyers at the Wachovia Center. First, the Flyers will take on the New York Islanders at 2:00. That night, the Phantoms will face the Islanders' AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, at 7:35 pm. Tickets will be available throughout the day at the Wachovia Center box office. In addition, the Cingular Pavilion at the Wachovia Center will be open throughout the day, with live entertainment between the two games.

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