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Phantoms stay Sharp, win 5th in a row

Patrick Sharp and Mark Murphy each recorded a goal and two assists as Philadelphia won its fifth straight game with a 4-2 decision over Cincinnati on Wednesday at the Wachovia Spectrum.

Jeff Smith and Ryan Ready both added their first goals of the year and Antero Niittymaki stopped 18 of 20 shots to win his fourth start in a row. After losing its first two games of the season, Philadelphia has captured five consecutive games to move into a first-place tie in the AHL’s East Division.

Frederic Cassivi finished with 20 saves for Cincinnati, which had won three of its previous four games. The Phantoms are now unbeaten in their last four meetings (2-0-2) with the Mighty Ducks and own a commanding 33-9-5 lead in the all-time series.

Cincinnati opened the scoring 2:07 into the game on Michael Holmqvist’s first goal of the year. But Philadelphia answered with a power-play goal of its own just 91 seconds later as Sharp netted his fourth goal on a slap shot from the far circle. Sharp is the only Phantom to record a point in every game this season.

“I am just trying to play my best,” said Sharp about his three-point performance. “Coach Stevens pushes the best out of me every night.”

Philadelphia entered the game with the top power-play percentage in the league at 27.3, and went 2-for-5 on the night.

Elsewhere on Wednesday:
Mike Glumac, Peter Sejna and Dennis Wideman each picked up a goal and an assist as Worcester erupted for four goals in the first period, then held on for a 4-3 win over visiting Houston, the IceCats’ fifth win in a row… Tony Salmelainen scored twice, and Brad Winchester got the winner with 4:41 to go as Edmonton edged Syracuse, 4-3, to take over first place in the North Division.