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Phantoms come back to beat Bears

The Philadelphia Phantoms came back from a three-goal deficit in the first period to beat the Hershey Bears, 5-4, in a game that was decided by a shootout on Friday night in front of 10,878 fans at the Wachovia Spectrum.

Josh Gratton was a key part of the Phantoms’ come-from-behind victory, scoring two goals in the second period to draw the Phantoms to within one goal of the Bears. Gratton has been somewhat of a nuisance for Hershey as four out of his six goals on the season have come at the expense of the Bears.

Ryan Ready scored his second goal of the season, completing the Phantoms’ comeback at the 16:24 mark of the third period. Ready’s goal set up overtime, and what would eventually turn into a shootout.

Phantoms goaltender Jamie Storr showed no signs of rust as he saw his first action since December 10th when he relieved starting goaltender Martin Houle at the start of the second period. Storr was perfect in relief; he stopped all 20 shots he faced, and then stoned the Bears on all four of their attempts in the shootout.

Hershey did all of its goal scoring early and finished the first period up 4-1. Two 2006 AHL All-Stars had big nights in the loss, as both Eric Fehr and Lawrence Nycholat scored two goals for Hershey. Nycholat also added two assists for a four-point night.

It was a much-needed win for the Phantoms (16-23-0-3, 35 pts.) as they attempt to climb out of last place in the East division. The Bears (24-10-2-7, 57 pts.) remain in second place in the East division.

Elsewhere on Saturday:
Brad Smyth tallied a goal and an assist as Manchester won its fourth straight, 4-1 in Omaha… Seven different Pirates scored in Portland’s 7-4 victory over Albany… Kevin Doell scored two goals and an assist to help Chicago to 6-3 win over Iowa… Seamus Kotyk stopped 34 of 35 shots, and Patrick O’Sullivan netted two goals to help Houston to a 4-1 victory over Rochester… The Falcons snapped a 13-game winless streak (0-11-1-1) with a 5-2 win over Norfolk… Ryan Bayda scored two goals and an assist in Manitoba’s 4-2 win over Hamilton… Peoria scored four unanswered goals starting in the second period to beat San Antonio 5-1… Sean Bergenheim and Rob Collins had the Sound Tigers’ goals in Bridgeport’s 2-1 win over Lowell…Martin Prusek made 35 saves on 36 shots as Syracuse beat Cleveland, 3-1… Daniel Fernholm and Rico Fata each had a goal and an assist to help Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to a 6-2 win over Binghamton… Jordan Sigalet made 23 saves on 24 shots as Providence beat Hartford, 2-1… Brad Leeb scored twice to help Toronto to a 5-3 win over Grand Rapids.