|Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Houle Shuts Door On Senators
Phantoms Take 2-1 Win Over Binghamton
Friday, December 2, 2005
By Brian Smith
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent
PHILADELPHIA - Martin Houle made 17 saves to earn his first American Hockey League (AHL) shutout as the Philadelphia Phantoms extended their winning streak to four games with a 2-0 victory over the Binghamton Senators at the Wachovia Spectrum on Friday night. David Printz netted the deciding goal, as the Phantoms won their season-high fourth straight.
Despite a heavy shots advantage in favor of the home team, the game went without a goal for more than half the contest. The Phantoms were outshooting Binghamton 13-2 after one and 20-7 when they finally scored on their 21st shot at the 13:50 mark of the second period. B.J. Abel dug the puck out of traffic at the top of the circle and put it back to Printz at the left point. Printz blasted a drive through traffic that eluded Senators netminder Kelly Guard for a 1-0 lead.
The Philadelphia penalty kill was excellent throughout the night, holding the Sens 0-6 with the man advantage. The real test came in the third period, with Philly allowing just two shots during a five-minute power play after Josh Gratton was whistled for a boarding major with just under 13 minutes to play. The Phantoms then killed off a high sticking minor with less than four minutes to play.
Head Coach John Stevens was impressed by the effort. "You know what, you can do a couple things when you get those penalties. You can either panic and let them come at you or you can dig in. I thought our guys did a great job of killing it off."
He continued, "The one play of all the power plays in the third, I think they hit the pipe on the one there, but other than that I thought we limited their chances and opportunities. So that's a good sign, when your penalty kill can get it done when it needs to."
Houle was saved by the post once, but was unyielding throughout the night, earning his first AHL shutout and his fourth win in five tries. For the team, it was their second whitewash of the season, as Jamie Storr pitched the shutout in October.
"It's a team effort, but the kid got his first shutout", noted Stevens. "He's just solid in the net. He makes all the saves he's supposed to and he makes saves on effort. He's got great composure for a young guy and he gave us the effort we needed to win."
Eric Chouinard scored a late empty netter to put the Phantoms to the .500 mark.
The 11-11-0-2 Phantoms return to action tomorrow night when they visit the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in a 7:05 pm start. They return to the Spectrum on Sunday at 5:05 pm for their first Western Conference matchup of the season, welcoming the Syracuse Crunch to town. The first 4,000 kids 14 and under will receive the 2005-06 Phantoms trading card set courtesy of Kleenex. Sunday also marks the 2005 Helping Hands auction, with framed cards of actual handprints from the Phantoms and selected Flyers players and management being auctioned off during and after the game to benefit the Children's Miracle Network at the Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania.