|Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Top Team Toppled
Cote's First Sparks Phantoms to 4-2 Win Over Grand Rapids
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
By Mike Thornton
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent
PHILADELPHIA - Riley Cote's first goal of the season led the Philadelphia Phantoms to a 4-2 victory over the Grand Rapid Griffins at the Wachovia Spectrum on Friday night. The Griffins entered the game with a league-high 39 wins, but it was the Phantoms that ended up securing their 22nd of the season. The victory marked the first time the Phantoms have ever defeated Grand Rapids in Philadelphia.
Cote's goal came just 2:58 into the first, the fastest to open a game for the Phantoms this season. Cote was posed between the circles and shelved a Kiel McLeod pass for the early advantage.
Later in the period, Griffins winger Darryl Bootland tied the game on the power play at 11:35 when he slid a 10-foot bid under the pads of a sliding Jamie Storr.
The Phantoms came out strong in the second, as Matt Ellison connected for his seventh goal of the season at the 14:07 mark with assists from Stefan Ruzicka and Ryan Ready. Ruzicka improved his assist streak to six games with the helper, which is the team's longest streak of the season.
Then, with a 5-4 man advantage, John Slaney found Tony Voce through the seams and on the doorstep for the two-goal lead with just 1:43 left in the middle period.
The Griffins made it interesting when Nate DiCasmirro found the back of the net at 12:55 of the third and closed the score to 3-2. But the Phantoms sealed the deal with a Brent Kelly empty-net goal with 1:11 left on the clock.
Storr had an exceptional outing in net for the Phantoms, coming up with big saves at crucial times. He finished the night with 30 saves on 32 shots. Joey MacDonald stopped 27 and took the loss.
The Phantoms will look to further their two-game winning steak when they travel to the GIANT Center on Saturday to take on the Hershey Bears. The Phantoms will return home Wednesday, March 1 to take on the Springfield Falcons at the Wachovia Center at 7:05. This is the rescheduled game from Feb. 12, and all tickets for the Feb. 12 game will be honored on Wednesday.