04/10/2009 - PHANTOMS WIN 5-2 IN FAREWELL TO "AMERICA'S SHOWPLACE"
By: John Walton
On a night that reflected Philadelphia hockey history, the BEARS came up short in a bid to clinch an East Division championship. Philadelphia clinched a playoff spot with a 5-2 win over HERSHEY at the corner of Broad Street and Pattison Avenue Friday, leaving the Chocolate and White to return home chasing a division title at GIANT Center this weekend.
Riding a wave of emotion after a lengthy pregame ceremony to honor the Spectrum, the Phantoms would fire 13 first period shots and score three times to take an early lead. Jonathan Matsumoto would start the barrage, scoring his 29th goal of the season and his seventh against HERSHEY at 7:44. Rob Sirianni would then take center stage, scoring the next two goals at 16:11 and 18:43. The BEARS could muster but four shots against Philadelphia goaltender Scott Munroe and trailed 3-0 after 20 minutes. Michal Neuvirth made 10 first period saves for the BEARS.
Andrew Joudrey would put HERSHEY on the scoreboard in the second period at 8:13 to cut into Philadelphia's lead, but a goal from Phantom blueliner Jonathan Kalinski at 14:47 upped the lead to 4-1 in favor of the home team. Alexandre Giroux would put home his 58th of the season in the third period, but an empty net goal by Sirianni would round out the scoring and put the Phantoms in the win column in the final regular season game at the Spectrum. Coupled with a Binghamton regulation loss at home to Norfolk, Philadelphia clinched the fourth and final playoff berth in the East Division. HERSHEY is now tied with Bridgeport for first place with 104 points and one game in hand. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, who defeated Albany Friday, sits just two points back with 102.
Notes: The BEARS return home to close out the regular season this weekend with games against the Phantoms and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Face-off Saturday with Philadelphia is at 7:00 p.m., while Sunday's start time with the Penguins is 6:00 p.m. Tickets for both games are on sale now at the GIANT Center box office, or by calling (717) 534-3911. Friday's game in Philadelphia was the final road game of the season for the Chocolate and White.
Bears Radio Network Three Stars of the Game:
1. Rob Sirianni (Hat trick to put Philly in the postseason)
2. Jonathan Matsumoto (Opened the night with a goal)
3. Alexandre Giroux (58 goals on the season)