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Philly Beats Birds
Phantoms Win Fourth Straight with 2-1 Triumph Over Falcons

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

By Mike Thornton
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

PHILADELPHIA - Martin Houle made 24 saves and the Phantoms picked up an offensive boost from two unusual sources in Riley Cote and Kiel McLeod to take a 2-1 decision over the Springfield Falcons at the Wachovia Center on Wednesday night. The win was the fourth straight for the Phantoms, tying the team's season high for consecutive victories.

The Phantoms grabbed the game's first goal just over four minutes in. John Slaney started the play by absorbing a hit at his own blue line. His sacrifice orchestrated a 2-on-1, with McLeod then leading the charge and eventually finishing with a shot from low in the left circle that went in off the stick of Springfield goaltender Gerald Coleman.

The eventual game-winner came at 14:05 of the second period while the Phantoms were killing off a penalty, and a delayed penalty was coming to the Falcons. While operating deep in the zone, Jim Campbell played a centering pass just high of the goal line. Cote, who streaked off the bench as Houle's replacement, was able to tip home the puck for the shorthanded tally.

Zdenek Blatny ruined Houle's shutout bid when he scored with just under four minutes left in the game. The Phantoms defense, however, held firm the rest of the way. Houle did earn his third win in a row with 24 saves, while Coleman took the loss despite a solid effort of 33 saves on 35 Phantoms opportunities.

Cote's goal was his second in three games after going without a tally in the season's first 55 games, while McLeod's goal was his first in the American Hockey League this season. At the other end, Houle picked up his first regulation win since Dec. 28, getting to his current standing with overtime and shootout wins. The efforts combined for Philadelphia's fourth straight win, tying the previous streak that ran from Nov. 25 to Dec. 2.

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