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Big feat for Phantoms’ Little

Neil Little became the 10th goaltender in American Hockey League history to win 200 regular-season games, backstopping Philadelphia to a 4-0 win over Bridgeport at the Arena at Harbor Yard on Friday night.

Little, in his 10th AHL season, owns a lifetime record of 200-143-41 in 412 career appearances. He made 33 saves on Friday for his 17th career AHL shutout.

R.J. Umberger and John Slaney had a goal and two assists each for the Phantoms.

A native of Medicine Hat, Alta., the 33-year-old Little has had a successful AHL career after being drafted in the 11th round of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers. He made his AHL debut with Hershey near the end of the 1993-94 season after a four-year career at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).

Little played two seasons with the Bears (1994-96) before the Flyers moved their AHL affiliate into the Spectrum. He won 31 games in each of his first two seasons with the Phantoms, and led the club to a Calder Cup championship in 1998.

With Brian Boucher and Jean-Marc Pelletier also in the system, Little was loaned to the Grand Rapids Griffins, then of the IHL, for the 1998-99 season.

Little returned to the Phantoms in 1999-2000, and was selected to his first AHL All-Star Classic in 2002.

On Mar. 28, 2002, Little made his long-awaited National Hockey League debut, making 25 saves for the Flyers against the Carolina Hurricanes.

In 2003-04, Little finished sixth in the AHL with a career-best 1.96 goals-against average and posted six shutouts for the East Division champion Phantoms.

So far this year, Little is 12-4-0 in 19 appearances.

Hall of Famer Johnny Bower is the AHL’s all-time leader with 359 career victories. Jean-Francois Labbe (202) is the only goaltender ahead of Little who has been active in the last 30 years.

Cincinnati’s Frederic Cassivi ranks second among active AHL goaltenders with 147 wins.