Freddy willing and able

Defenseman Freddy Meyer scored the first three goals of his professional playoff career on Friday night, leading Philadelphia to a 4-2 win over visiting Providence in Game 1 of the AHL’s Eastern Conference Final at the Wachovia Center.

Meyer, who had totaled six assists in 23 previous Calder Cup Playoff outings for the Phantoms, scored on each of his first three shots. He beat Hannu Toivonen through traffic for a power-play goal 4:53 into the game, scored on a nifty shorthanded move with 1:18 left in the opening period, and one-timed a Ryan Ready feed down low late in the second to cap the hat trick.

Mike Richards recorded a goal and two assists and Antero Niittymaki made 22 saves for the Phantoms, who ran their home record this postseason to 7-0.

Meyer, 24, is a second-year pro out of Boston University. He had one previous hat trick for Philadelphia, scoring three times in the third period of a 4-1 win at Hershey on Feb. 21, 2004.

Providence scored on two of its 11 power plays on the night, with Kevin Dallman and Andy Hilbert finding the net. Hilbert’s goal was his league-leading 17th point of the postseason.

Keith Aucoin registered two assists and Hannu Toivonen made 33 saves for the Bruins.

The teams go back at it in Game 2 on Saturday night in Philadelphia.