Munroe blanks River Rats again as Phantoms take win

Rookie forward Claude Giroux netted a pair of goals and goaltender Scott Munroe posted a 31-save shutout as Philadelphia blanked Albany by a 5-0 final in a Wednesday matinee before 6,199 fans at the Wachovia Spectrum.

Jeffrey Szwez gave the Phantoms all the offense they would need with his first goal of the season 3:32 into the contest. Jonathan Matsumoto, Patrick Maroon, and Giroux all scored in the second period, and Giroux added his second of the afternoon just 39 seconds into the final stanza.

Maroon’s goal came on the power play, while Giroux’s first tally was shorthanded and unassisted.

The shutout continued Munroe’s recent dominance of the River Rats. Dating back to the teams’ 2008 East Division Semifinal series, won by Philadelphia in seven games, Munroe has allowed just one goal in his last 356:06 of work against Albany, good for a 0.17 goals-against average, a .994 save percentage, and three shutouts.

The streak began after Albany’s Kiel McLeod scored at 17:14 of the second period in Game 5 last spring, a contest which went on for another 105:44 and turned out to be the longest game in AHL history, finally ending in the fifth overtime.

Munroe then allowed one goal on 41 shots in the Phantoms’ 1-0 loss in Game 6 before posting a 21-save shutout in the decisive Game 7.

The 26-year-old picked up where he left off this season, blanking the River Rats on 31 shots in a 3-0 victory on Oct. 25 prior to this afternoon’s identical 31-save performance.

All told, Munroe is now 6-2-0 (1.60, .953) on the current campaign, including three shutouts.

The victory snapped Philadelphia’s brief two-game losing skid and brought the Phantoms back above the .500 mark overall at 9-8-0-0.