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The final pro hockey game at the Spectrum has been played.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Steve Downie and Josh Gratton are added to Phantoms Roster

It's not reflected on the Phantoms site yet, but the AHL Transactions site shows that Steve Downie has been returned to the Phantoms from the Flyers, and Josh Gratton has been added to the Phantoms.

I guess we'll find out tomorrow night what number Josh will be wearing. The number he formerly wore here, 24, is already in use (Rob Bellamy).

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tim Ramholt traded to Nashville for Josh Gratton

I haven't seen this on the Flyers or Phantoms sites yet, but it's made an appearance on a couple of Flyers boards.

The attached quote is from Kukla's Korner, which at the moment doesn't seem to want to load for me.

From the Nashville Predators PR staff:

Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has acquired forward Hugh Jessiman from the New York Rangers in exchange for future considerations, and defenseman Tim Ramholt from the Philadelphia Flyers for forward Josh Gratton.

Jessiman, 24 (3/28/84), was the Rangers’ first pick (12th overall) in the 2003 Entry Draft held at the Sommet Center. The 6-6, 231-pound right wing has spent the past three-plus seasons with Hartford (AHL) and Charlotte (ECHL), amassing 119 points (57g-62a) in 217 professional games. A season ago, he posted AHL career highs in goals (18), assists (24), points (42), games played (71) and penalty minutes (154) with Hartford. The New York, N.Y., native played three seasons at Dartmouth (ECAC) before joining the Rangers.

Ramholt, 23 (11/2/84), was also selected in the 2003 Entry Draft, being selected in the second round (39th overall) by Calgary. The 6-1, 195-pound blueliner played his first two North American professional seasons in 2006-07 and 2007-08 with the Flames AHL affiliates in Omaha and Quad City, and appeared in one game with Calgary on Nov. 29, 2007. The Zurich, Switzerland native was traded to the Philadelphia organization on June 30, 2008, and has played seven games for the Philadelphia Phantoms in 2008-09. Prior to playing in the AHL, Ramholt spent three seasons (2001-03, 04-05) playing in Switzerland, and spent the 2003-04 season with Cape Breton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Welcome back, Josh!

I have to admit to being a little surprised by this move, though. I wasn't expecting us to trade a defenseman for a forward. Unless Hersley's coming off the injured list, we're going to be plugging along with the bare minimum of six D (Bartulis, Ratchuk, Guenin, DeSantis, Syvret, Curry).

If the Flyers decide to plug Gratton into their lineup, we can expect to see Downie back with the Phantoms. Otherwise, we're adding some experience to the Phantoms, which given the amount of youth on this team might be helpful. Unlike prior years, we're not overloaded with veterans, so we can afford to add someone to the roster with some experience under his belt.

Stay tuned. When I see the Flyers/Phantoms sites report on this trade, I'll link to the information.

Downie recalled to Flyers

Apparently, just as I was reading the article I quoted in my previous post, the Flyers were updating their PR Blog with the following item:

Thursday, October 30

11:19 a.m.
The Flyers recalled forward Steve Downie from the Phantoms this morning. Downie is scoreless in four games this season with nine penalty minutes.

Again, given his performance in last night's game, this is unsurprising. Kick butt while you're up with the big guys, Steve!

Darroll Powe injury update

In this Inquirer article about the Flyers' possible move to practice at the Wachovia Center on game days, we get this footnote:

Powe sidelined. Center Darroll Powe suffered a mild concussion after colliding with Atlanta's Jim Slater in the Flyers' 7-0 win Tuesday, general manager Paul Holmgren said. Powe appeared to hit his head on the boards, and he also suffered a bruised knee.

Holmgren said Powe was day to day.

The Flyers likely will promote Steve Downie or Jared Ross from the AHL Phantoms to play tonight against the Islanders. Stevens appeared to be leaning toward Downie.

Considering that Downie got FOUR assists last night, it's not surprising to see his name being discussed as a possiblity for our next callup. Ross had a great game last night also, including scoring our game-winning OT goal, but Downie was outstanding last night.

Phantoms at Hartford: box score, Phantoms site game recap

LOL! The Phantoms' site has the game recap from Wednesday's game, and the title? "Phantoms Win Too".

Anyway, as the entire city goes bananas for joy over the Phillies, justifiably so, there's only going to be limited attention paid to the fact that the Phantoms got it done in Norfolk minutes before the end of the Phillies game. Click here for the Phantoms site game recap.

You can also click here for the official box score.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

We interrupt this Phantoms blog...

We interrupt this Phantoms blog to declare that the PHILLIES are the 2008 WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS!

Congratulations to the Phightin' Phils, and may their success be contagious to every other team that calls the Sports Complex home!

For posts about the celebration in South Philly, be sure to review my regular blog.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Phantoms blog. :)

Phantoms at Norfolk: Third Period and OT

We had a little glitch in our connection near the end of the second intermission. By the time I got the cybercast going again, the period had begun.

Oh, great, now all we see is an Admirals logo. GRRR... Go away Gremlins, I want to see this game!

We get a picture back in time to see the Phantoms going on the PP. Henley's sitting for elbowing. Whoops, I typed too soon. Six seconds into the PP, Maroon got sent off. Now we're at 4 on 4, and it's time to see if we have gotten our play in gear any better under these circumstances. In our first couple of home games, we really had some issues at 4 on 4.

Oh, hold on. I typed too soon yet again. Now we'll be on a 4-on-3 PK. Good grief. Fortunately, Guenin is one of our D there, and he's mauling a couple Admirals who are trying to get second and third shots in. However, the Ads kept cycling and during their six seconds of 5 on 3, they scored. Heward scored on a PP. No Phantoms fan who remembers our first Cup year will be surprised in the least that he's the one who got the tally. However, this means that we are still killing a penalty, so we still need to be alert.

Back at even strength, we get into Norfolk's end and Downie clangs one off the post.

BLAST. Norfolk scored again. The score is 3-3 with 13 minutes and change remaining. My mood is only partially unsoured by the fact that the Phillies took the lead again in THEIR game. Let's hope the Phils keep it up and the Phantoms get back to dominating the game. Right now, we have not gotten a third-period shot on goal yet.

Bellamy finally took our first shot on goal. The picture on the cybercast keeps freezing up. Fortunately, the audio is mostly all right so I can tell you that we are currently being outshot 11 to 1 in this period. The Admirals came out FLYING to start the third, and besides the PKing we had to do early on, I don't think we were quite prepared for the onslaught. Time for us to go back to what we were doing in the first couple of periods. We were a lot more dominant then.

Meanwhile, the Phillies are about to start the bottom of the 8th inning. We could be three defensive outs away from a World Series win. So I'll be typing with fingers crossed for some good mojo to be going on at the Sports Complex.

MATSUMOTO SCORES a beautiful goal with 4:23 left to go in the third! He was right in front of the net and when the puck went to him, he made NO mistake. Gorgeous. It's exactly the kind of clutch performance we need from our guys. 4-3 Phantoms, to go with the 4-3 Phillies score, and here's praying both those leads hold up. :)

Aah, we get to kill a penalty now. Nothing about this game is coming easily, is it? I'm liking what I can see of our D, when the freaking picture isn't freezing up. Nate Guenin blocked a shot. I swear, he must lead the team in that stat. He's good for at least one block in every game.

Blast it all. We got scored on. It was deflected off one of our own guys to keep it in the zone, and Norfolk scored to tie the game on the ensuing scramble. Time for another clutch performance, I guess. We have 1:01 left in the third period, with a 4-4 score.

Here we go to OT. Boy, I hate giving up a point to a divisional rival, but that third period was murder. Norfolk worked their tails off and earned the tie score. However, now it's time for us to get the same urgency and get some results.

Here's hoping that we look good at 4-on-4, now that it really counts. As I was TRYING to write earlier, before I was interrupted by our getting another penalty, we looked pretty ragged at 4-on-4 in a couple of our early home games. Now when it's the real deal, rather than a special-teams situation, I hope we have our act together.

We're starting well Downie, Kalinski, Curry and Bartulis are out. We got cycling in their zone for a bit before Norfolk managed to clear it. Now it's Kane, Matsumoto, Syvret, Guenin. Soon after, we have Giroux, Ross, Bartulis, and someone I couldn't see. We will have a PP in OT, but per the new rule, the penalty will only last one minute. Interesting.

OH, so close. We nearly ended it on the first shift in the PP, but no dice. Downie also just got STONED by a glove save. *Stoned*, I tell you! One minute left in the OT. I really want us to do something with this rush because I HATE SHOOTOUTS with a PASSION. LOATHE them.

OMG!!! DOWNIE ASSISTS again with 15.3 seconds left in OT! Jared Ross does the honors, and we get out of this game with two points.

Oy, my freaking heart! THANK GOODNESS.

My postgame observations, proofreading, and so on will come AFTER the Phillies game is over.

Phantoms at Norfolk: Second Period

I didn't hear an announcement of the scratches, but I missed the very start of the cybercast, so it could possibly have been given then. In any event, missing from tonight's box score are Teslak, Laliberte, Klotz, Beaulieu, and Henley.

As the second period begins, an early penalty is assessed, but nobody can seem to figure out whom it's on. We know it's hooking on someone, but it's not apparently obvious who the culprit is. Oddly enough, Norfolk had the puck when the whistle blew, but the penalty is on the Phantoms. Kalinski sits, after being retrieved from the bench by a linesman.

I like how we are effectively breaking up most of Norfolk's PP opportunities before they are able to set up and get anything going. I think the Admirals got a grand total of one shot on goal in the entire man advantage.

We're back at even strength now, and though we can't seem to get the heck out of our end, Norfolk is either shooting wide or Munroe has an answer for their attempts. Now, finally, after a couple of defensive-zone draws, we're trying to set up in Norfolk's end and get something done. We're six minutes or so into the period and we just got our first shot on goal. It, and the one that immediately followed it, were nice chances, but Ramo kept them out. Now it's our turn to make him freeze the puck and withstand faceoffs in HIS end.

SCORE -- Bellamy scores on a 2-on-1 with Steve Downie. Boy, every time Downie's on the ice, it seems like we end up with a scoring chance. Good work on that shift. Bartulis has the secondary assist. Oh, and speaking of secondary assists, it appears that the one on our first goal was changed. Now our first goal came on the PP from Giroux, assisted by Downie and Syvret, and our second goal was by Bellamy, assisted by Downie and Bartulis.

And yet again, Downie is on the ice and what's he doing? Hovering around the net making a pest of himself and getting opportunities.

With about 9:30 remaining in the second period, Guenin goes off and we are on the PK. This time, Norfolk is set up pretty well and we aren't managing to clear it out. We did, however, just block a shot on goal. Finally, we got it to squeak out of the zone at the point, and Norfolk has had some issues getting set back up. We're intercepting passes, clearing the puck, and even trying to spring Ross for shorthanded rushes. Norfolk eventually got only one shot on that PP, so even though they were set up early and cycling, we kept it away from our net pretty effectively. That's good to see.

Now it's our turn for a PP. Unfortunately, we're not doing a whole lot with this opportunity. However, another penalty to Norfolk gives us 15 seconds of 5-on-3 advantage. And oh, blah, we give up a SH break and freaking Norfolk capitalizes on it. Well, we have enough PP time remaining that we can make that up if we play our cards right. AND WE DO, Kalinski gets that goal right back. NICE. Ross to Downie (AGAIN) to Kalinski. That's Downie's third assist. Did I mention that every time Downie's on the ice, scoring opportunities arise? That was Kalinski's first professional goal.

Our PP has really, really gotten going in the past few games. We went from looking a right mess in our first few games (with or without a man advantage) to being decidedly dangerous on the powerplay. I couldn't be more pleased.

Side note, the Phillies just scored a go-ahead run, and almost EXACTLY at that moment in the Phantoms cybercast, the Phantoms came inches from putting another goal in. My cats already have baseball wings after the Phillies took the lead in their game -- had the Phantoms scored at the same time, the cats would probably be in hiding for the rest of the week. ;) Ahem... Where was I? Oh, yes. Phantoms game. Right. :) The second period ended just now, so I have time to get my wits together. ;)

Our announcer just mentioned something I hadn't noticed: all three of our goal-scorers tonight have been rookies.

Phantoms at Norfolk, First Period

Munroe is in goal to start, which is unsurprising, given his performance in the previous game. If a goalie doesn't earn a second consecutive start after a shutout, when DOES he deserve one? ;) I'm glad to see that good work is being rewarded.

Ross is in our lineup. I can see him on the ice with Boyd Kane on a penalty kill.

Jamie Heward is in Norfolk's lineup. I always liked him when he was here. I still don't know why the Flyers never called him up, even once, during his year here. I guess an All-Star performance and being named the AHL's top defenseman, as well as helping the team earn a Calder Cup, wasn't enough to impress The Powers That Be back then. But I digress.

We're on a PP now, and we have one man high in the slot, and OH did we just come close to scoring. Giroux got freaking STONED, but we did draw another penalty in the process. Maroon, Ross, and Downie are out on a 5-on-3 PP. That's a combination I like the sound of.

We have 15:10 left in the first period, and nearly the entire time so far we have played on special teams one way or the other. Ryan Fraser is the ref, and I haven't seen him call a game with this many infractions in a while. I'm surprised.

As the first period has progressed, I have liked the chances we've been creating. If we keep this up throughout the game, we're definitely gong to put pucks into the net before the game's over. It's a little surprising to me that the shot clock only reads 2 shots for us, as opposed to 4 for Norfolk, given the number of times we've set up and it's looked like we have had a shot as far as my internet connection is concerned.

We're back on the PP yet again. OH, and we ring it off the darn post! So close. GIROUX, however, scores by deflecting it off a Norfolk skate! Nice work. The goal is credited to Giroux, with assists from Downie and Ratchuk.

Good grief, Kalinski got levelled from behind in the slot, on a late hit, and isn't getting up. Clackson immediately got into a scrum with Henley, and our other three skaters all got into a shoving match also. I saw Bartulis and Matsumoto on the screen, but couldn't see who our other guy was. Surprisingly, the only penalties were matching roughing minors to Clackson and Henley. On the replay, the hit from behind took place just off-camera, but Kalinski's helmet came sailing into camera view just before the camera panned back to show him in a heap on the ice.

He's staying in the game, which is good. And I suspect Clackson has taken the name and number of the guy who hit him -- presumably Henley, since that's the guy Clackson made a beeline for.

Kane just got Ramo to give up a huge rebound, but unfortunately an Admiral was right there to scoop it out of harm's way. That's another thing that we could turn to our advantage, however -- if we are ready for rebounds and loose pucks, we could cash them in.

Yep, right out of the sin bin, Clackson and Henley are going to fight. Unsurprising, given that they have some unfinished business from their previous encounter. Clackson gives up a noticeable amount of size to Henley, who proceeded to grab on and send Clackson to the ice. No punches were thrown, really -- seems like Henley wrestled with Clackson to make the latter lose his footing, and they both went TIMBERRRR. Interestingly, even though Henley landed on top, Clackson managed to flip them over so he was atop the dogpile before the linesmen came in to adjourn the proceedings.

Kalinski is on the ice again. Good. He's taken some lumps in this period, between being boarded early on and then getting brained by Henley later on.

At the end of the first period, the Phantoms lead 1-0. The Phantoms also lead by one on the shot clock, with 9 shots to the Admirals' 8.

Phantoms at Norfolk: game preview

Click here for the pregame press notes for tonight's game, courtesy of the Phantoms site.

This confirms that we'll see Jared Ross in our lineup tonight for the first time. He'll be a welcome boost to our offense.

Still waiting for roster page to be updated

Even though the AHL's transaction page shows that Jared Ross has been returned to the Phantoms, the Phantoms haven't updated their roster page to reflect the change.

Factor in that Powe got hurt during tonight's Flyers game, meaning the Flyers might be looking the Phantoms' way again soon to bolster their lineup.

I hope to heck we see Ross in our lineup tomorrow night tonight in Norfolk.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Powe looks like he got hurt during the Flyers game

Darn it! :(  Powe appears to have gotten hurt during tonight's Flyers game. I missed the replay, but maybe they'll show it again later or on Comcast.

Either way, I hope it's not too serious. He's done himself credit with the way he's played in Orange and Black.

Bwahaha, have a look at this video on the Phantoms site

If you like hockey fights, you'll love this video. There's a headline currently in rotation on the Phantoms' site that reads "Phantoms, Bears don't like each other". Click on it, and you'll get some elaboration on that statement, including a video compilation of some classic Phantoms/Bears fights and line brawls over the years.

I'll add the link here, just in case the AHL gets cranky and makes the Phantoms take it down. The league has done things like that in the past.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Downie vs. Conboy incident makes the Philly papers

There's some primarily Flyers-oriented coverage in the news today that contains a mention of the Downie/Conboy possible biting incident on Saturday.

In the article "Flyers are incensed over smoke bomb indicident during game against Devils", there is the following:

Have a bite?

The AHL should be looking into a suspension for Albany River Rats captain Tim Conboy, who was assessed a fighting major, instigation and unsportsmanlike minors, a game misconduct for instigating and a game misconduct for "persisting in a fight," following a high-sticking incident and fight with Steve Downie during the Phantoms' 3-0 win Saturday afternoon.

"I've never heard of [persisting] in a fight before," said Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren. "The report I got was that [Conboy] bit Downie on the hand. He had blood and teeth marks on his hand."

From where I sit, if that actually was a bite, Conboy needs to sit out some games. I hope it was clear and easy to tell, after an examination of Downie's hand, if there is any merit to the "bite" theory, so the issue can be dealt with properly and promptly.

Oh, and regarding the primary topic of that Flyers article, I hope that the Flyers are able to figure out which imbeciles threw the smoke bomb. Those brainless wastes of space need to be prosecuted.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Jared Ross is returned to the Phantoms by the Flyers

I just checked the Phantoms' AHL transactions. Jared Ross has been returned to the Phantoms. I guess the flu bug is starting to clear up over there on the big club.

Andreas Nodl and Darroll Powe are still up. However, regaining Ross will be an immediate shot in the arm for the Phantoms' offense.

Another reason to be glad for the win yesterday

I just took a look at the standings for the first time in a while. I'm pleased to report that not only did that win yesterday break that infernal losing streak, but it vaulted us out of the bottom of the division. We leapfrogged over Albany, another team that's mired in a winless streak, by one point.

Both the Phantoms and Albany have today off, so our section of the standings will remain as it is for at least the next few days.

The Phantoms' next game will be on Wednesday night in Norfolk. This will be the first weeknight game of the season for us.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Phantoms/Albany game recap from Phantoms site

Here's the game recap from the Phantoms site. It's so nice to post good news. :) Here's to plenty more where this came from.

Phantoms at Albany: Third Period

Holy cow, one of the Albany broadcasters went downstairs between periods to find out more about the Downie/Conboy fight. The Phantoms contend that Conboy BIT(!!!) Downie on the hand. Good grief. If that's the case, that really needs to be a suspension. The game misconduct that Conboy was assessed was for "persisting in a fight" once the linesmen started breaking it up, not for anything connected to an alleged bite.

In any case, the Phantoms have begun the third period on the PP. Albany killed that off, and a few minutes later the Phantoms got to show off a good PK again. It's frustrating the Rats' fans to see the Phantoms get some shorthanded chances. In our end, we are getting solid goaltending by Munroe and nice D by Guenin in front of the net to prevent an opportunity by Albany.

LMHO, the gamecast has the scoreboard display on it, and they just showed two Phantoms on the bench on the Kiss Cam. One obliged by kissing the other on the helmet. Bwahaha! I like seeing our guys have sense of humor. :)

Then again, we can afford to be good sports about it, as we're still leading by a pair of goals and we just had another great sequence of stops in our own zone. Munroe's another one of my "star of the game" nominees. At this point, I'd be choosing the goaltenders and the GWG scorer, the order of which will depend on what the final score is.

Now the Rats are really, really pressing to get onto the board. We are going to have to really bear down and hold the fort if we want to keep things as they are. So far, we have withstood a couple of strong attacks, but if we let up even marginally the way the Rats are playing now, we'll live to regret it. We are being outshot in this period so far 11-3.

Our D is not lying down on the job, however. we just had a defenseman check an attacker in such a way that not only the Rat, but the linesman nearly joined the Phantoms on the bench. :D

I know that "trap" is a four-letter word to a lot of Philadelphia fans, but the Phantoms are really making a point of clogging up the ice. The Rats are finding it harder and harder to get through neutral ice withut turning the puck over and when they dump it in, we are getting there first. Per the announcers, we haven't given up a shot to Albany in over five minutes. Now we are in the final minute, and the goaltender is pulled for the River Rats.

Albany calls a timeout after the Phantoms ice the puck. (Actually, what happened is that we shot on goal from our side of the red line, and the puck went wide.) 28.8 seconds remain in the third period, with the faceoff in the Phantoms' zone.

Empty net goal by Syvret! That pretty much seals the deal for the Phantoms, as far as the win goes. However, we still have one more possible accomplishment for the afternoon that requires the clock to run out before I'll use the word.

There! Thats the final horn, so I can gladly announce that Munroe gets the shutout! It's the first shutout against the River rats this year, the end of our losing streak, and the continuation of a LONG shutout streak that Munroe has had in the Albany building. I think going into the third period, he hadn't allowed a goal in Albany for over 145 minutes, thanks in part to the 5-OT marathon game we played there in the spring. If that's the case, we can bump that total up to "over 165 minutes" now. Also, we didn't allow another shot on goal from the time that the announcers read the third period shot clock as favoring the River Rats 11-3. The next shot that was directed in on either net was the empty-net goal. At the end of the game, both teams had 31 shots.

My own personal stars of the game are Munroe, Downie (GWG), and Manzato (Albany goalie).

The box score, which is here, shows that the Albany media member who chose the stars was thinking along the same lines as I was.

Great game, Phantoms! I'm glad we can end the weekend on a high note!

Now the Flyers and Phillies have to do their part to continue the good results. The Phantoms have set the tone for the rest of our local teams. :)

Phantoms at Albany: Second Period

I missed the first part of the second period due to some Real Life errand-running. I got home to find the Phantoms on the PK with Giroux in the box, and the score still 1-0. We evidently killed off a 5-on-3 as well, as the Albany announcers are complimenting how well Munroe played during the two-man disadvantage (as well as in the game as a whole). I can also see in the box score that Kalinsky had a penalty shot denied by Manzato.

MAROOOON :) what a nice, nice play! He came off the bench, grabbed the puck behind the play, and bolted in to backhand the puck into the net. Good job by the young'un. Interestingly, earlier in the shift, the Rats seemed to be trying to annoy the Phantoms into a bout of fisticuffs; however, the announcers saw Paddock shake his head "No" at our Szwez as he took to the ice at the same time as the Rats' Gillies. Clearly he wasn't looking to see the Rats or their fans get fired up when we had a one-goal lead, and then along comes Maroon to deflate Albany even further.

Oh, but now we have Angelidis fighting with Szwez. Give the River Rat an E for effort, as he gave up quite a bit of size to Szwez. I'm not so sure if this bout was sanctioned by Paddock or not. I guess we'll see what happens to Szwez's ice time once he's out of the sin bin. ;) Angelidis actually got a takedown, but Szwez got back up and eventually got the second takedown of the fight. Overall, it looked like Szwez got more, and more effective, punches in.

AAAA, MUNY, what a circus save he made there! If that doesnt keep the Phantoms fired up, nothing will. Now the Phantoms are getting ready to go on another PP. The Rats are starting to get frustrated, and they just took a retaliation penalty. As usual, that's the infraction that the ref saw, regardless of what transpired before.

Oh, one of our guys just put a DENT in the post, the puck clanged off it so loudly. Boy, did he catch iron on that one. I like what we're doing in front of the Albany net -- if we had created this level of traffic in front of Wiikman last night, we'd have had more than one goal. Whoa, now Downie rang one off the crossbar. What's this puck got, a magnet in it? ;) In the meantime, we are keeping the goalie Manzato quite busy. He's earning himself a star of the game in my book, because we'd have way more than two goals by now if not for his head's-up play.

Fortunately, Scott Munroe has been exceptionally sharp as well in this game. Albany hasn't had as many chances as the Phantoms have had, but the final obstacle has always been Munroe and he's consistently been there all game long.

Downie and Conboy are fighting afer Downie high-sticked another River Rat who shoved him. The fight didn't take particularly long, but it was energetic. Downie threw all the pounches, and Conboy got the takedown. Chances are that Downie and Conboy will both get more than the five for fighting.

End result: Conboy gets the Bettman 17 (instigation, fighting, misconduct), plus two more for unsportsmanlike conduct and a game misconduct, and Downie got two minutes for high-sticking as well as the five for fighting. The Albany announcers are questioning whether the high-stick was intentional, in which case it would have warranted a match penalty rather than just the two-minute minor. However, there seems to be something amiss with Downie's left hand, I'm still not sure what, and it makes me wonder if it happened immediately prior to the high-sticking incident. In that case, though I'm not saying that an intentional high-stick attempt is an appropriate response, Albany's Dodge got away with an infraction just as much as Downie may have gotten off easy with just a high-sticking call.

Both teams have quite a case of The Nasties now. The second period just ended, so it remains to be seen if tempers will cool down between now and the start of the third period. The Phantoms lead 2-0, which may be our first multi-goal lead since opening night, and we lead on the shot clock 26-20.

We look really excellent right now. We have clearly been the dominant team all game long. The aggravation that we have suffered in prior games, without being able to maintain possession of the puck long enough to get an attack going, is exactly the form of agita that we are inflicting on Albany right now.

Now, what we need is a third period to equal the effectiveness of our first two, coupled with an ability to stay out of the box and not take bad penalties. If we do that, we can break this infernal losing streak.

Phantoms at Albany: First Period

I like the amount of jump we have come out with. Not bad for a team that only finished their previous game approximately 16 hours ago. Munroe is in goal, as I'd expected, and he's looking good.

Our scratches are Teslak, Klotz, Beaulieu, and Hersley.

With approximately 8 minutes remaining in the first period, there's been a lot of back-and-forth play between the teams but the netminders have been equal to the task. I love a good goalie duel, particularly when MY team's goalie comes out with a W, so I'd be fine with having that for a result. :)

We're well into the frame before teh first penalty is called, and it's on Guenin. But allow me to mention yet another ref whom I'm pleased to see is LETTING THEM PLAY. I've carped about Ciamaga's officiating in past seasons when I've felt he was whistle-happy, but today he's anything but so far. Good. This is how the games should be called.

We killed that penalty very well, preventing the River Rats from doing much. Now we're going on the power play, and I hope our PP is equally effective.

Turns out we had a few PP chances, but didn't cash any of them in. However, the good news is that shortly after returning to even strength, Downie and Giroux had a nice 2-on-1 break. The Rats defenseman neutralize the option of passing across to Giroux, so Downie shot and beat the goalie. The Phantoms draw first blood to take a 1-0 lead.

I don't know how Downie's knee is doing, in terms of its recovery, but his SHOT is just fine thank you. :) He was involved in both goals that we scored since his being sent to the Phantoms.

At the end of the first period, the Phantoms lead 1-0. We outshot Albany 14-7. WTG, guys, keep it up!

Phantoms @ Albany River Rats, 10/25/08 game preview

T-minus 3 hours 55 minutes until game time! Here is the preview from the Phantoms site.

Reading the recap of last year's playoff series with the River Rats reminds me of why I'm happy that goalie Michael Leighton is in the NHL now. :) Good grief, was it hard to get a puck past that guy! Well, that plus he strikes me as Good People after his brief stint in Philly, and I think he's paid his dues in this league and has earned the nod from an NHL club.

Meanwhile, Scotty Munroe, the goalie whom I presume will be in net for the Phantoms today, is likely to be a player that the River Rats fans don't want to see. As hard of a time as we had scoring on Albany's goalie, they had an even harder time scoring on ours. So here's hoping that the sight of the Albany arena, where we won the longest game in AHL history and put 101 SOG on net into the bargain, will get Scott and the entire rest of the Phantoms team going today. We need a win.

Hartford game recap from Phantoms site

Here's the recap of the Hartford game from the Phantoms website.

Here's hoping that the recap we see from Albany later today has the Phantoms on the right side of the scoreboard.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Phantoms at Hartford: Third Period

Aubin just made a NICE glove save to start the period. We won the faceoff but turned the freaking thing over in our own end, and darn near paid for the error. Aubin and his glove got the job done there.

Man, every time we get the thing out of our zone, it seems to be coming right back in. (We're not quite two minutes into the third period.) But soon afterward, we have a PP coming up, so with any luck we'll control the tempo for the next two minutes or until we score, preferably the latter. :)

DOWNIE shoots, possibly tipped by Kane or a Hartford player, and the score is tied! We cashed that PP in for a goal. Great job, guys, now keep it up!

Oh, doggone it! The same Pack player that the announcers are thinking deflected in our goal just scored on a screened shot, within a shift or two of our tally, to retake the lead for Hartford. GRRR... 2-1, bad guys.

With 11:13 left in the third, Soryal is about to fight with Curry. Soryal is the same one that fought Clackson earlier. It was mostly a wrestling match with sporadic punches being thrown, until Soryal dragged Curry off balance and off his feet. Then Soryal got in a few extra punches before the linesman arrived to put an end to the proceedngs. This was precipitated by a Phantoms hit on Soryal, which generated a ten-player conference in front of the Hartford bench. Hartford will come out of all this with a two-minute penalty kill.

OK, Phantoms, get that PP going again. We seem to be really on tonight when we have the man advantage. We have been playing a PP formation with one man high in the slot (Syvret). We haven't always had success with this, as if we give the puck up we tend to see it cleared out by way of the boards. But tonight, it's been working pretty well.

Hartford did kill the penalty, but we remained in Hartford's end a while longer controlling the action until Hartford finally got it out. THIS is what I want to see more of.

Downie and his line have been doing some good things all game long. Every time I hear his name, it seems it's because he's on the attack and is creating a chance. He may even have scored our goal, depending on which player deflected his shot on goal.

4:27 left. We need to start screening Wiikman in addition to stationing someone at the post to clean up rebounds. He needs to start being unable to see the pucks that are coming at him.

Powerplay with just under 4 minutes remaining in the period. Time for us to bear down and tie this score. We are doing well keeping them from clearing the puck out, but as long as they are pinning it behind their net we're not doing anything constructive.

1:48 remaining, and we're back at even strength. The Phantoms have called timeout.

To my surprise, we have pulled the goalie already (with nearly two minutes remaining). I guess Paddock has seen how we have dominated with the extra skater so he's hoping to take advantage of it.

I'm pleased that for the most part, we are controlling the puck or retaking possession shortly after losing the puck. However, we're not setting up and getting much in the way of scoring chances.

Aaaand the clock runs out. :( We lose the game 2-1. It's a pity that we have three good scorers absent from our lineup tonight -- they could only have helped our offense. But I like the fact that we showed a lot of jump on the PP. Those parts of the game included some of the best play we've turned in to date on this young season. Good. The way AHL can be penalty-fests, if we turn into a dangerous PP team, it bodes well for us.

Here is the box score of this game from the AHL site.

The stars of the game were:

#3: Boyd Kane
#2: Bobby Sanguinetti (Hartford)
#1: Mikka Wiikman (Hartford) -- an obvious choice, as he was excellent in this game.

I'll post the game summary when I see it on the Phantoms site. Right now, they only have the box score available.

We have a 1 PM(!!!) game in Albany tomorrow. Here's hoping we can take our frustration out on the River Rats. I'd like to see us fill the net on somebody; we're overdue.

Phantoms at Hartford: Second Period

I had a bit of a streaming interruption, causing me to miss the first few minutes of the period. No sooner do I bring the game back up then we're stuck in our own end again. Gah! We need to get ourselves in the opposing end for a while.

With the teams 4 on 4, Downie's hustle cancelled an icing call. Nice job, especially considerng he's playing on a bum knee.

OH, Matsumoto had a fantastic chance on a blast from the slot but a Pack player managed to deflect it wide. Rats, that would have been a darn nice shot.

Now, with 5:09 remaining in the second period, Hartford is about to get penalized because someone REALLY rocked Kalinski. We're getting four minutes of PP time because the high-stick drew blood.

I didn't realize. until the announcers just said it, that we are fourth in the league on the PP. Nice. And, in fact, we have done better on this PP than some others in cycling and controlling the puck. OH we have had a couple of nice chances so far. We missed on one stuff attempt on Wiikman's glove side, and on one hit post that trickled the puck to the goalie instead of going in. This is what we have to do a lot more of, so I'm glad to see it.

Again Giroux is creating chances at the near post, but so far he hasn't been able to pot a "clean up the garbage" tally. We're hearing a lot of rookies' names during this extended PP, including Giroux, Raduns, Ratchuk, DeSantis. Matsumoto did his share of creating opportunites, also. Again, we didn't score, but just seeing us create these scoring chances is a step up from what we've done in recent games.

The second period is now over, and the Phantoms still trail 1-0. However, we are now outshooting the WolfPack, 20-18, no doubt because of the number of shots we took during that extended PP.

Phantoms at Hartford: First Period

They have not announced the scratches yet. The starting line will be on the box score, though.

Aubin is in goal for the Phantoms. I'd be tempted to split the games a bit more evenly, were I the coach at this point in this season, but in a multi-game weekend there will be plenty of ice time to go around for everyone.

Argh on givng up an early PP goal. The Pack announcers said that Aubin had no chance on the goal, but I hope that it doesn't get between his ears early.

I know he's a butterfly goalie, but after our previous game, I'm getting skittish sometimes when I see him drop to make a save. He had gone down prior to every goal that went in on Sunday. As long as he doesn't commit prematurely, we should avoid some of the issues we ran into in that game.

Doesn't it figure that I get a PHONE CALL during the first period? There goes a drawback to being at home watching a game onlne. ;) So I missed a decent portion of the period, including most of the Clackson fight. At least I'll be able to watch the parts I missed on the archive later.

Right now, I'm watching a late-first-period PP for the Phantoms, and it took us the first half of the man advantage to be able to really set up in the Hartford end. Finally, we're cycling the puck the way we should. We didn't score, but we did create some real chances. That's the only way we will get the puck into the net -- we certainly won't score when the WolfPack are swarming around OUR net...!

We are heading into the first intermission trailing 1-0. Hartford had 11 shots on goal; the Phantoms had 8.

I'm looking at our starting lineup now. Our assistant captains are listed as Curry and Guenin; our starting lineup was Downie, Giroux, and Clackson, with Syvret and Guenin on D and Aubin in goal.

Scratches appear to be Teslak, Klotz, Beaulieu, and Hersley. Ross, Powe, and Nodl are up with the Flyers, and Cabana is with Mississippi.

Powe will make his NHL debut tonight

From the Flyers' PR blog:

Friday, October 24

5:30 p.m.
Flyers coach John Stevens announced before tonight's game in New Jersey that Danny Briere will be out with a lower body injury and Simon Gagne will be a game-time decision. Philadelphia plays the Devils at the Prudential Center (7:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet).

Briere suffered the injury in the last game, a 7-6 shootout loss to San Jose on Wednesday, according to Stevens. Gagne missed that game with the flu.

"It's day-to-day right now," said Stevens of Briere. "I was hoping that he would feel better today and be an option for tonight, and he wasn't. He was going to see the doctor today. We're hopeful he's feeling better. It's just one of those things and we'll see how he is tomorrow when we get back."

Darroll Powe will be in the lineup for Philadelphia on the fourth line, making his NHL debut.

"We really like the things he brings on the fourth line," said Stevens. "He skates really well, he's got good size, he can really get in on the forecheck, [and] he can kill penalties if needed. He just adds a dimension that we think can help us."

Go get 'em, Darroll, and I hope you go POW with the Flyers as well as you've done for the Phantoms! :)

Phantoms site: Ross and Powe join Nodl on Flyers

The Phantoms site has a press release announcing the callup of Jared Ross and Darroll Powe, as well as Andreas Nodl's continued stint with the Flyers.

Boy, is this going to make the remaining Phantoms' lives interesting. We've just lost two of our top guys to the Flyers in Powe and Nodl, as well as losing the chance to have Ross's contribution to the roster tonight in Hartford.

The rest of our top performers are going to have to dig deep and do everything they can to make up for the absence of these guys. In fact, the rest of our guys are going to have to dig deep, period and end of sentence. We need to break this losing streak ASAP and it's going to take everyone to do it. The goalies are going to have to bring their A game, the D's going to have to help them out, and the offense is going to have to find the net. Those things would all be true even if Ross, Powe, and Nodl were all on our roster right this minute.

So let's go, guys! We have it in us to take some wins out of this weekend. Let's start with tonight.

Phantoms at Hartford: Game Preview

The Phantoms website has posted their pregame press notes for the Phantoms/Hartford game tonight.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

AHL Weekly Conference Notebooks email excerpt

From the AHL Weekly Conference Notebooks email:

phi_200.jpg Schedule/Scores Player Stats
Goalie Stats
A year after winning each of their first five games, Philadelphia is out to a 1-4-0-0 start to this season, having dropped four straight since capturing their season opener... The Phantoms went all of last season without losing four consecutive games in regulation... Danny Syvret sits atop the team’s scoring list with five points (1-4-5), while four different players have three points apiece... The Phantoms have received Jared Ross – last season’s team leading scorer with 62 points – and Steve Downie back from the parent Flyers... Philadelphia is in a stretch of playing nine of 10 games on the road... Head coach John Paddock, who led Hartford to the 2000 Calder Cup title, takes his team north to play the Wolf Pack on Friday.

Ross and Powe recalled to practice with Flyers

The Flyers appear to have been hit with the flu bug, to the point where they've recalled Jared Ross and Darroll Powe to practice with the team.

Here's the quote from the Flyers' PR Blog.

Thursday, October 23

2:04 p.m.
The Philadelphia Flyers were back to work on Thursday morning at the Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone with an 11:00 a.m. practice today.

Still off the ice was Flyers left wing Simon Gagne, trying to recover from the flu that kept him out of last night's 7-6 shootout loss to San Jose (Antero Niittymaki suffered from the bug in Denver last week). John Stevens said after practice that he is "hopeful" for Gagne to get back in time for tomorrow night's game in New Jersey against the Devils (7:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet). Gagne has four goals and one assist in five games this season.

His linemate, Danny Briere, also did not skate and is day-to-day with a lower body injury. Briere leads the team with seven points (3g, 4a).

Jared Ross and Darroll Powe were emergency recalls from the Phantoms and both skated with the Flyers today.

All I can say is, "Kick butt while you're with the big guys, set yourselves up as good choices for a longer-term recall, and don't let any of the flu-ridden guys breathe germs on you!". ;) That's all the Phantoms need is to cross-pollinate the locker rooms with whatever flu has put some Flyers out of commission.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nodl registers his first NHL point

Nodl just earned his first NHL point; he assisted on a goal by Mike Richards. :) WTG!

Transactions: Nodl and Cabana

Finally, the Phantoms site has announced that Andreas Nodl has been called up to the Flyers. Here is the article.

That particular move is unsurprising, as it's been mentioned in the local newspapers in the past day or two.

However, I am entirely floored by the OTHER transaction that came through today. Freddy Cabana has been assigned to Mississippi. I first saw this info in a topic on the Phantoms Phorum. I honestly thought I misread the thread title until I clicked on the topic, read through it, and realized that the transaction is listed on the AHL's transaction page.

I am absolutely scratching my head at this move. This was the LAST thing I had expected to see us do. I can't even begin to offer an opinion here; I know that we have surplus players on the team at the moment, and their dispatch to Mississippi was imminent, but I would never have expected Cabana to be included on that list.

So all I can do is say "Kick butt while your with the Flyers" to Nodl, and "Kick butt with the SeaWolves because I want to see you back up here!" to Cabana.

*** Edited to add: Here is an article about the Cabana transaction.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Yahoo Sports reports the Nodl callup

Finally, an official report of the transaction has appeared.

Click here for the article on Yahoo! Sports.

On a personal note

I'm visiting Atlantic City this afternoon. I just verified that the Atlantic City Outlets were developed by the same Cordish Company that's killing the Spectrum.

So I'll not be shopping there today, nor most likely on any other day.'s article on Downie briefly mentions Nodl's recall

Here's an article from's Flyers coverage, discussing Downie's reassignment in more depth. It mentions Nodl's recall in passing.

I'm used to seeing minimal Phantoms coverage, at best, in our local newspapers. But one would have thought that since Nodl is going to the Flyers, his recall would have garnered a little more mention than two sentences buried in the middle of the article. Maybe they plan to give him his own separate article; that would be a pleasant surprise. More likely, the Philly papers would rather use that space to write about the Eagles during a bye week than cover a Flyers prospect.

Well, here's hoping he gives them good things to write about while he's with the Orange and Black. And then,here's hoping they actually write about it.

Andreas Nodl promoted to Flyers, per Courier Post

Here's the article in the Courier Post detailing the recall of Andreas Nodl to the Flyers, as well as the assignment of Ross and Downie to the Phantoms.

I don't see the Nodl transaction reflected on the Phantoms site yet. I'm sure it won't be long until they adjust the roster and mention the recall.

Kick butt in Orange and Black, Andreas, and good luck in your NHL debut on Wednesay!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Phantoms Weekly Release #2, Steve Downie and Jared Ross are assigned to Phantoms

Click here to read the Phantoms Weekly Release #2.

Steve Downie and Jared Ross were assigned to the Phantoms from the Flyers earlier today. Here is the link to the press release on the Phantoms site.

The Philadelphia Flyers announced Monday that they have reassigned forwards Steve Downie and Jared Ross to their American Hockey League affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms, according to General Manager Paul Holmgren.

Downie, 21, was scoreless in four games for the Flyers this season. He split the 2007-08 season between the Flyers and the Phantoms. He recorded six goals and six assists for 12 points and 73 penalty minutes in 32 regular season games for the Flyers and 17 points (5G,12A) and 114 penalty minutes in 21 games for the Phantoms.

He was originally drafted by the Flyers in the first round (29th overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

Ross, 26, was scoreless in two games for the Flyers this season. He registered 23 goals and 39 assists for 62 points and 56 penalty minutes in 67 games for the Phantoms last season. His 39 assists and 62 points led the Phantoms.

He was signed as a free agent by the Flyers on April 8, 2008.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Oh, will these additions ever help the Phantoms! Ross was one of our best players last year, not to mention our top point-getter. I really think we are missing what he brings to the table, and we'll be a much-improved team the moment he suits up for us again. Steve Downie didn't play a lot of games for us last year before he was called up, but he racked up a whole lot of points in a short time, plus he provided a physical presence that's guaranteed to drive the opponent's blood pressure way up. For all the rep he's gotten for fighting and hitting, he's also a Grade-A PEST.

I think they will be just what the doctor ordered for this team. I also expect to hear announcements of players being assigned to Biloxi sooner, rather than later, now that we have two high-on-the-depth-chart players being added to the Phantoms roster.

Impressions from the Bridgeport game: 3rd Period

Crud. Even though we won the initial faceoff and spent some time in the SoundTigers end, on the next shift, Bridgeport made their way into our end and scored during a line change. Comeau was all alone in our end, with just our D and Aubin. Both teams were changing lines at the time.

Wotton dumped it in on his way to the bench, and it came off the corner boards out to Comeau, who'd followed it into the zone. Aubin came way out, but he went down and committed right when Comeau's stick touched the puck. There was, at the time, nothing between him and Comeau when the latter fired the puck. All four of the goals we've given up so far have come with the goalie down. This looks like a technical issue that can be worked on, especially since the shot actually went in low this time. It wasn't roofed over the goalie like the previous tally; it found some daylight even with Aubin out to challenge the shooter.

In any event, giving up a goal in the first minute of a period is a tough one. Let's see what effect it has on the Phantoms' morale in the shifts that follow.

Oh, boy, the first few minutes after we were scored on, we started looking like the team that couldn't break out of our own zone that we saw on Friday and Saturday. This is the first part of the game where the SoundTigers are starting to set up in our end and get the shooting-gallery going.

Aubin had to swap masks with Munroe for a decent chunk of the period. I'm not sure what was the matter, but soon after we were scored on Aubin went to the bench and came back with Scott's mask on. He didn't get his own mask back again until a while after our one PP of the frame.

Here comes the penalty kill on which we gave up our fifth goal of the game. I knew this going into watching it, as I'd checked the box score to see when to expect it to come up. McLean was wide open on the far side, and Aubin was down to make a save from a shot on the near side. The rebound went across to McLean at an oblique angle, and though Aubin stretched flat out on the ice, he couldn't keep the next shot out. Even with Nate Guenin standing at the far post, trying to corral the rebound and protect the net, the play ended up with Guenin sitting on the ice, Aubin lying in the crease, and SoundTigers celebrating in front of the goal.

During this third period, though we didn't necessarily look as ragged as we did on Friday and Saturday, we started to allow Bridgeport to get set up in our end. That didn't happen in the first two periods. Even so, at least we spent some time on the attack in this frame, instead of losing possession in the neutral zone within seconds of getting it past our own blue line (repeatedly ad nauseum all flipping night).So that's evidence of movement in the right direction.

I'm not the least bit surprised that Mannino was the number-one star of the game, even with the number of SoundTigers who had multi-point nights. The Phantoms tested him pretty well, and he was equal to the task.

Here's hoping that our practices this week will help fix some of the execution problems that cropped up over the weekend, especially the issues that surfaced repeatedly and came back to bite us. And here's hoping that Neil can work with our netminders so these Ls don't start getting between their ears. If there was ever a time to remember the credo, "Don't get too high or too low", it's now.

Impressions from the Bridgeport game: 2nd Period

Kane opened the second period with a NICE takeaway and shot on goal. Nine seconds into the frame, we've already had a 2-on-1 break and a scoring chance. Again, starting a period with a lot of energy is important, particularly when we're trailing.

Mannino has made a couple of nice stops already, and it's only the first few minutes of the period. We actually look pretty good, which isn't something I'd have expected to say at this point in a game which I know we lost 5-1. The SoundTigers have already gotten one of their two shots on goal for the period, so I am expecting to see a good defensive effort from now until the second intermission.

And there goes the second save by Aubin. We're pretty early in the period still -- certainly before the ten-minute mark -- so I know in advance that we managed to keep Bridgeport off the shot clock for over half-a-period. Pretty impressive for a team that has had trouble keeping the puck out of our own zone in the first four games of the season.

What a great PK we just had on a penalty to Cabana. All the aggravation that we've had recently with keeping the puck in the opposing zone, we inflicted on the SoundTigers for the entire two minutes. This is just what we want to be able to continue to do.

With eight minutes and change remaining in the second period, the Phantoms are leading in SOG, 22-9. We have more than twice the number of shots on Bridgeport's net than they've got on ours. It's so frustrating to know that we won't have anything more to show for our efforts in this game. Other than the numbers on the scoreboard, I can honestly say that I like a lot of what I've seen in this game. We have spent more time in the opposing end than we did on Friday or Saturday, for one thing. For another, we're giving the opposing goalie a nice workout. Those are things that, had we seen more of them on Friday and Saturday night, might have made the difference between winning and losing the game. So I'm pleased with the improvement I'm seeing in our ability to control the flow.

Of course, we still have about half-a-game left to go. Let's see if I'm still saying that by the time I recap the next frame. :-/

Yep, Aubin definitely tends to leave the puck behind the net on the PP. I hope that he gets more comfortable with making outlet passes. That will save a few seconds every time we don't have to retrieve the puck and lug it up the ice when we have the man advantage.

I'm not entirely sure that Boyd Kane's "goalie interference" penalty wasn't a little bit of flopping by Mannino. It's kind of hard to tell on the computer screen. Kane does crash the net as a matter of course (see: Saturday night's game when he wound up atop Bingo's goaltender not once, but twice). And it's awfully risky for a goalie to start diving around when his team's on the PK and the opponent is setting up in front of him. However... let's just say I replayed it a few times and it's kind of hard to see what bowled the goalie over that effectively.

Especially since the SoundTigers captain was standng RIGHT THERE, within arm's length of the play, but he didn't attempt to kill Kane for hitting the goalie. I would expect a captain to take exception to someone running his netminder under those circumstances, but all he did was give Mannino a tap on the leg pads as the teams prepared for 1:31 of 4-on-4 hockey. Hmmmm.

The 4 on 4 looked like river hockey, but neither team got chances worth writing home about. At least that's a step up from the scary-looking 4-on-4s we had earlier in the weekend, where we were runnng around disorganized and got scored on.

There we go -- the second period is over. I can honestly say that this team looked better in these past two periods than we looked on Friday or Saturday. Except, unfortunately, for the numbers on the scoreboard. *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* I hate it when our efforts don't bear fruit.

On the other hand, I like SEEING those efforts, because I know deep down that if the team keeps on making those efforts, it WILL start paying off. We spent quality time in the SoundTigers end and we kept them from setting up in our end for any real length of time, especially in the second period. Even Bridgeport's second and third goals in the first period were on the rush, not as the result of a bunch of cycling the puck and getting us running around. I haven't sat here thinking, "Clear the puck, clear the puck, CLEAR THE FREAKING PUCK already" yet in this game, unlike my thought processes during segments of our first three home games.

On to Period Three.

Impressions from the Bridgeport game: 1st Period

That was a nice shorthanded goal by Raduns. Too bad I know it'll be our only marker of the night, and things will proceed downhill from here. :( Raduns and Nodl were the forwards on that PK unit. Syvret and Curry were our D. Kalinsky and Cabana were our next pair of forwards on the PK, and they got a couple more nice chances. We looked good on that entire PK, in fact. As much as Paddock will have video from this past weekend that he can review with the team, so they know what NOT to do the next time a similar situation arises, we can file the video from that particular penalty kill under "A Job Well Done".

Five minutes into the game, we lead in SOG 5 to 1, including the fact that we spent two of those minutes shorthanded and scored into the bargain. We've also chalked up a fight and right now I'm watching the Cabana, Clackson, and Szwez trio in a little conference with their SoundTiger counterparts behind the Bridgeport net. So if anything, we came out of the gate with plenty of jump.

OMG during our next penalty kill, Aubin makes a save for the highlight reels. Wow, that was nice. At this point in the game, we don't look anything like a team that's about to give up five unanswered goals during the course of the rest of the contest. In fact, we look like the distinctly better team. However, the next shift during the same PP was when the SoundTigers managed to tie the score. Smith's shot from the slot went through two Phantoms and a SoundTiger standing right in front of Aubin. So on the one hand, I wonder if Aubin was screened or if its trajectory changed on its way to the net. On the other hand, Aubin is already down on his knees in anticipation of the puck's arrival, so my presumption is that he did know the shot was coming.

On our first PP, I was a little surprised to see Aubin leave the puck behind the net for our D to retrieve. Usually, the veteran goalies are the ones who are willing to make a long outlet pass to get it back to our guys ASAP. The second time this happened, maybe it was because our guys were about ready for a line change. Syvret (first PP D pair) collected the puck, but by the time we returned to the SoundTigers zone, our second PP D pair was on the ice.

Speaking of whom, said PP D pair was Ratchuk and DeSantis; two rookies. Again, I like seeing Paddock give responsibility to our young guys right from the start of the season. Because he does that, at the END of the season, we won't be able to tell at a glance which players are rookies vs. which ones are more experienced.

Boy, Guenin blocks a lot of shots. If he doesn't lead the team in that stat so far this season, I would love to see who does.

I just saw the go-ahead goal. Joensuu, standing near the boards just in front of the goal line, directed the puck on net because he had Bentivoglio charging in on goal. Aubin made an initial stop, with his skate jammed up against the post. However, he was either caught moving to anticipate where the puck would be next, or his momentum slid him a bit to his right..That's when the puck got deflected into the net through the space left open when Aubin started moving away from the post. It originally looked like it was going to be a cross-ice pass by Joensuu. Instead, the puck wound up being a pinball whose ultimate destination was in the net. Let that be a pair of lessons to our young guys: A. Get the puck toward the net at every opportunity, even when you're in no way in position to score yourself. B. Crash the net. Just being in front might make the difference. You don't get extra style points for shooting it in vs. having it deflect in off you somehow. DeSantis was all over Bentivoglio, but that wasn't enough to prevent the goal in the split-second sequence of bounces the puck took after Aubin made the save at the post.

How aggravating to be in the game and competitive all period long, only to end up trailing when the puck goes in on a play like that. At this point in the game, the Sound Tigers have all of six SOG, but two of them counted. Argh.

Shortly after we got scored on, Powe made a NICE move and came close to tying the score, but Mannino came up with an even nicer save. He earned a much-deserved "Great Save" graphic on the scoreboard for that one.

The same Bridgeport line that scored the second goal burned us again a few shifts later. They came in on a 2-on-1 and Ratchuk was unable to prevent the cross-ice pass.Aubin had to move WAY east-west to track the puck, he was already down in a butterfly, and Joensuu found plenty of open net up high to aim at. He scored the proverbial flying-water-bottle goal. Now the SoundTigers have three goals on seven shots in this period.

NOW I see what triggered the second fight. Szwez and his line, once again, were the next ones on the ice after we gave up a goal, and he immediately went with Jackman. Nice to see that he not only knows when to attempt to fire up the team, but he managed to win a bout with the same guy that defeated Powe in a fight earlier in the period. I like his sense of timing AND his choice of sparring partners there. Oh, and the fact that he won the fight at that particular time is icing on the cake. ;)

We've reached the first intermission. Matsumoto and Powe have gotten nice opportunities in the first, but Mannino has been up to the challenge. They need to keep on doing whatever they've been doing to keep creating those chances. If they do that, the pucks will start going in. Then we'll actually give our goalie more than a one-goal lead to work with, which is something I don't think we've had since opening night. Meanwhile, Aubin was down on his knees in a butterfly for all three goals against. I know there were some mitigating factors like deflections and cross-ice passes that make a goalie's life harder, but I'd like to see him make himself larger in goal. When he's down on the ice, it seems to give our opponents too much net to shoot at. Maybe getting up sooner, or not going down as soon, will help matters.

On to watching Period 2.

Watching the online archve of the 10/19 game

Even though the Phantoms lost by a wide margin on Sunday, I owe it to myself to view the online archive of the road game. If I have the chance to see exactly what happened, I don't want to rely on a box score to form my impressions.

So I'll be watching the game online, and then I'll come back to the blog and offer my take on the game.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hurtin' for Certain: an 0-3 weekend. Ouch.

Oh, ouch. My poor team. Their road game in Bridgeport this afternoon was a 5-1 loss.

Here is the recap from the Phantoms site.

Here is the box score from the AHL stats site.

I didn't get to see the game online or listen to it, but I did have a look at the box score, and I can see right off the bat that there were some changes to the list of scratched players.

Tonight's scratches, judging from the names that are absent from the box score, were Teslak, Ramholt, Laliberte, Klotz, Beaulieu, and Hersley. I know Beaulieu is injured, and someone posted yesterday on the Phantoms Phorum that Hersley is hurt as well.

I did also notice one significant change to our lineup. According to the box score, we have two different assistant captains tonight than we've had since opening night. The box score lists the assistant captains as Guenin and Curry. Between opening night and last night, they were Syvret and Powe.

Our starting lineup was Aubin; Syvret, DeSantis; Matsumoto, Kane, Giroux.

It's nice to see that our guys scored shorthanded in the first three minutes of the first period. We haven't been scoring tons this season, but I noticed that in our first three home games, more than once we buried the first shot of the game or at least of the period. So we're coming out of the gate with some jump.

Unfortunately, after that, our scoring was done for the night. We gave up five unanswered goals, two of which were powerplay tallies. Bridgeport had seven PPs compared to our 4. There were two fights in the first period; the first one took place 45 seconds into the game, between Powe and Bridgeport's Jackman. Late in the first period, Jackman went at it again, this time with Szwez.

Even though we lost the game, I can glean from the stats that there's some improvement in the amount of time and activity that we've had in the opposing end. We outshot Bridgeport 31-22, and 16 of our shots on goal came in the first period alone. That compares favorably to our situation in prior games, when we couldn't get set up at the other end or get the puck on net. I also liked seeing that Bridgeport only got two shots on goal against us in the entire second period. We should only be able to maintain THAT statistic in every period. ;) That would be nice. Our goalies would be sitting there playing solitaire waiting for a puck to come their way, but it'd still be nice.

The rest of the Phantoms' games in October will take place on the road. Our next contest will be on Friday in Hartford at 7 PM.

Phantoms vs. Binghamton Senators 10-18-2008

Scratches: Teslak, DeSantis, Laliberte, Beaulieu, Cabana, Hersley.
Starting lineup: Munroe, Bartulis, Curry, Maroon, Bellamy, Kalinski.

Here is the game recap from the Phantoms site.

Here is the box score from the official AHL site.

I lost nearly all of my first-period notes due to a computer glitch. The problem was that I could have SWORN I hit "save" before I closed the file. Honest. Just goes to show that even baby boomers who've been working on computers since the early 80s (read: before there was an internet) can have an occasional brain cramp, and I sure had one tonight.

However, I do recall some of the most salient points. To begin with, I can't help but notice that our starting line is composed entirely of rookies. After their shift, Paddock rolled the other three lines in turn: Matsumoto/Kane/Giroux, Powe/Raduns/Nodl, and Clackson/Szwez/Klotz.

Tonight was the first time that the Phantoms wore these purple jerseys. It's also the first Phantoms jersey, not to mention the last *Philadelphia* Phantoms jersey, that includes a Flyers logo on it.The Flyers logos appear on the shoulders in place of the image of Phlex and the Spectrum, which has been on the past few years' jersey designs. (The original jersey designs bore an image of Phlex alone on the shoulders.) In the first frame, the same probem that plagued us last night came back to haunt us again: we couldn't keep the play in the Senators' zone long enough to do anythng constructive. For example, we went an entire PP without a shot on goal.

We also had, in the first period, a 4 on 4 situation during which we spent much more time in our end than in Sens end. That was a bit unnerving. I would hope that we develop a better knack for using the extra open ice, preferably *before* the first time we play in an overtime game.

The one goal which the Sens scored seemed to deflect in off Scott Munroe himself. Not sure if he was cheating there, but in his defense, the Sens made him do a lot of lateral movement all period long. They sent a lot of pucks just wide of the net, to one side or the other, forcing the goalie to move from east to west and back again in order to track it. Yes, every team shoots wide, but the number of times Bingo did so made me start to wonder if they weren't doing it intentionally to get the goalie to move out of position.

The shots on goal at the end of first: Phantom 6, Senators 12.

Let me start my commentary on the second period by complimenting -- yes, I said COMPLIMENTING -- Francois St, Laurent. Last night, I griped at the number of times he interrupted the flow of play. Tonight, he he did exactly the opposite of last night, and he really let the teams play. That's as it should be. However, there was one bit of creative officiating, not quite two minutes into the frame, when Powe backed into a Senator and got called for interference. Um, what? In any event, I was interested to see that both Nodl and Giroux saw PK time, including a stint when they were both on the ice together. I like when the coach shows trust in the rookies like that, and it's clear that Giroux and Nodl are expected to handle extra responsibility. We had a mad scramble in front, but Scotty's break-dancing kept the puck out.

I notice that Bellamy goes to the net looking for rebounds. Nice. We need to get more shots on net when he does that so he can clean up the proverbial garbage. Unfortunately, that wasn't one of our strong suits tonight; moreover, Glass has good rebound control so Bellamy didn't have much to work with when he took up residence at the post.

We ended up shorthanded again when Syvret went off for delay-of-game. I really do like the way we cleared the puck out during that PK. The Sens can't score if they're busy retrieving the puck from the opposite end of the ice.

Once we returned to even strength, we saw some head's up play from Syvret, who cleared away a dangerous rebound. Getting to those loose pucks first makes all the difference.

Late in the second period, I started noticing some unexpected forward combos on the ice. The first time or two, I thought we were halfway through a line change. But then I saw the players in question come over the boards together, so I knew it was an intentional move on the coach's part. For example, we had Bellamy, Szwez, and Kalinsky out together; on the next shift, we had Clackson, Maroon, and Powe. With about five minutes remaining in the frame, I was certain that at least some of the lines were being shuffled around.

At this point, we had lots of river hockey going on, but not a lot to show for it for either team. With 3:42 left in the period, we got another PP. Our first powerplay unit was Kane, Matsumoto, and Giroux, with Curry and Syvret on D. THAT group wasn't shuffled around! Though we had some good chances in the first minute, the puck stayed out. In the second half of the PP, Ramholts dratted stick broke and the double-dratted Senators broke out shorthanded. Fortunately, we withstood that charge and returned action to the Sens' end. The chances we were generating had the fans hollering, but the darn ornery biscuit remained outside the net.The darn ornery goalie Glass had something to do with this, as well. ;)

It was at the end of that PP that I realized that the Sens had NOT had a shot on goal in quite a while. So even though there was a lot of play moving from end to end, and not us living in the Senators' end, we did a far better job tonight of keeping the puck away from the goalie, compared to last night's game when we gave up a truckload of shots. It's nice to realize that we're tightening those loose ends up, bit by bit.

The shots on goal at the end of the second period: Phantoms 13, Senators 18. I honestly think that the Senators got most, if not all, of their second-period shots in the first half of the frame.

We scored a beautiful goal early in the third period, and I mean highlight-reel fodder. Which is good, because that's exactly how I got to finally see it. On the highlight reel on Comcast SportsNet. But I have a really good reason. Honest. I was completely distracted by the goings-on in our own end, where there was a small dogpile of the Sens' Jablonski, our Szwez, and until I see the archived game on, I can't actually say who else (because I was busy determining which of our players it was leaning over the top of it all). What I CAN tell you is that I watched Szwez *literally* drag Yablonski off the top of the pileup, and once Yablonski got to his feet, it appeared to me that we were about to see a fight. They had all the body language of combatants preparing to drop the gloves, and I expected to hear the referee's whistle at any moment.

Well, I sure heard something, but it definitely wasn't a whistle. Our goal horn blared and the fans went insane cheering. What? Goal?

As I eventually saw on TV, Powe scored on a BEAUTIFUL wrist shot; he was assisted by Ratchuk and Munroe. So while we were having a little mini-conference beside our net, the REST of the Phantoms took the puck down to the Senators' end and buried it. I was laughing too hard at this turn of events to be mad about missing the goal. Hey, as long as we scored, right?

Less than a minute later, Boyd Kane landed on the goalie Glass; a dogpile formed atop Kane.The end result of this was that Kane and the Sens' Bell got penalized for roughing at 14:37, leading to two minutes of 4 on 4. I hoped we'd look better on this 4 on 4 than we did on the one we had earlier in the game.

Alas, it wasn't meant to be.The Sens scored during this 4-on-4 and regained their one-goal lead. The score was now 2-1, bad guys.

A few minutes later, the Phantoms were SWARMING on a powerplay. I was pleased to see just HOW hard we were working to try and regain that goal. We didn't score, unfortunately, but if we consistently work that hard, we'll hear a lot of goal horns this season. (Or if we're on the road, we'll hear a lot of groaning fans, which is the equivalent of a goal horn for the visiting team. ;) )

AGAIN, Kane ends up on top the goalie Glass and a big dogpile formed in the aftermath. This time, the Phantoms came out of the scrum with another PP.

At the end of the powerplay, the Senators got themselves set up in our end, and were throwing everything humanly possible at our net to increase their lead. We survived that flurry and cleared the puck, but the Senators came back in and absolutely blasted one past Scott from point blank. 3-1, bad guys.

It was at this point that I realized at least one reason for the rearranged lines. It dawned on me that I hadn't seen Klotz in what seemed like forever, so I looked down and verified that he was, in fact, still on the bench. I'm looking at the Phantoms box score even as I type, and I notice that Klotz was one of our guys on the ice for our first goal-against. So either he got dented at some point during the game but they were keeping him on the bench to conceal that fact, or he was on the coach's Excrement Roster.

Late in the game, though I'm not sure when, the scoreboard clock somehow fell about 20 seconds behind the correct game time. I became aware of it when Keith Jones announced that the time displayed on the clock was incorrect, and there was one minute remaining in play. He then counted down the clock by announcing the time in ten-second intervals. When there were only ten seconds remaining, he counted down each second until the game time expired.

Shots on goal at the end of the game: Phantoms 25, Senators 28.

#3: Senators' Jeff Glass.
#2: Scott Munroe
#1: Senators' Zack Smith, who scored the GWG.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

10-18-2008 Pregame warmup notes vs. Binghamton Senators

Scott Munroe led the team out of the tunnel for pregame sate. Kalinski is on the ice for warmups; so is Klotz. Both of those guys were scratched last night.

Pregame D combinations: Syvret, Guenin; Curry, Bartulis; Ramholt, Ratchuk.
Pregame line combinations: Kalinski, Bellamy, Maroon; Klotz, Szwez, Clackson; Matsumoto, Giroux, Kane; Powe, Nodl, Raduns.

Neil Little is out of town doing some scouting, which is why we didn't see him last night. An observation registering my surprise at his absence last night made it into my draft game notes, but for the sake of space I edited it from the recap. If you saw how long the recap was by the time I was finished with it, you'll understand why. ;)

Parallels between our two home games so far

I noticed a couple of things that the two home games we've played so far have in common.

One thing is that we have had long stretches of both games where we can't get the heck out of our own end and STAY out. Even if we clear the puck or start a rush, we aren't keeping it long enough to actually set ourselves up at the other end and create chances for ourselves. Somehow, when we're going through one of these spells, the opponent has wound up with the biscuit within seconds, and has come back and gotten themselves set up in our zone.

The other issue is that we have gone long stretches in both games without taking a shot on goal. Not surprisingly, this issue has run concurrently with the times when we can't seem to control the puck long enough to be a threat to the opponent.

On Wednesday, John Paddock told the Phan Club that this is one of the youngest teams he's ever coached. So I suspect that as our kids learn from experience, we will see these problems crop up less and less often. At least, I hope that's the case. Otherwise it will be open season on our goalies, at least in the short term until our team straightens this issue out.

Anyway, one of my favorite sayings for a long time has been, "Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement." So even though we have a young team NOW, they are gaining experience with every shift on the ice. Even if that means getting stripped of the puck or beaten to a loose puck by a veteran rival, it's a concrete experience for our guys to learn from. These are the things we have to witness as fans while our young guys actually go through the process of developing. I can deal with seeing our guys grow out of their inexperience with games like our first two, as long as they keep learning from what went right and wrong for them on every shift.

Bear down tonight and kick some Senator butt, Phantoms. I know we have the talent on this team to rack up some Ws this weekend.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hershey scores GWG with under 3 minutes left in regulation

Oh, ouch. The Phantoms and Bears traded the lead back and forth in this game. Unfortunately for us, the final time that a team took the lead, it was the wrong team and the Phantoms wound up on the wrong side of a 5-4 score.

Here is the game recap from the Phantoms site.

Here is the official box score.

Here are my game notes:

Scratches: Teslak, DeSantis, Klotz, Beaulieu, Hersley, Kalinski.
Starting lineup: Aubin, Guenin, Syvret, Cabana, Clackson, Szwez.

From the list of injured players we got on Wednesday from the coach, Kalinski is the only scratched one. I hope he's OK soon.

This will be Aubin's first home start as a Phantom.

Holy cow. 16 seconds into the game, Darren Reid (former Phantom) fought with Jeff Szwez. Szwez got the jersey over Reid's head a bit. From what I could see before the bout moved over to the bench side of the ice, at which point I lost sight of the proceedings, the fight wasn't especially lopsided either way.

I always liked Reid when he was here. There were some Bears fans seated behind me, and I told them that they had better take care of him in Hershey, or we Phantoms fans will come and take him back. In return, they told me that I am to take care of former Bear Syvret. That's a fair deal, and I agreed to it. :)

Hershey has a player named Giroux and he just went to the box. I can see it will be fun for the announcers to kept the two Girouxs straight all night long.

Guenin tried to block a SOG from the wrong Giroux who'd just left the box, but the puck got through to Aubin anyway. It's not uncommon in hockey for a scoring chance at one end to be followed almost immediately by a goal at the other end, and that's what happened on this shift. The Phantoms headed up ice and scored to take a 1-0 lead. The goal was by Bellamy from Laliberte and Ratchuk. We scored on our first shot. The shots on goal were 1-1 at the time of our goal.

The Bears got a shot through a screen of most guys on the ice past Aubin to tie the score, with 11:37 remaining in the period. The shots on goal were even at 4-4.

Ramholt made a fantastic play and stopped a goal from going in. Aubin was way out and the puck was shot at the net. Ramholt was in place to keep it out.

I'm amazed at the number of consecutive PPs we are racking up. Hershey just got another penalty. Soon after our second PP unit got on the ice, we generated a flurry of shots and cashed it in. Matsumoto scored, assisted by Kane and Syvret. :) 2-1, Phantoms.

Wow, AGAIN we got a PP. Usually in the AHL, the tendency is for the home team to be the one that's called this tightly. We had best cash all these chances in, because I fear the makeup calls will be sure to follow.

Ramholt made a nice play to keep the puck from being cleared.

When the play returned to even strength, the Bears set up in our zone and were controlling the play. Guenin blocked another shot, diving like he did earlier in the game, but this time the puck hit him and stayed away from the net.

Fight: Clackson vs Arsene. It didn't last long, but Clackson landed on top of his opponent. Oddly enough, the Bears "scored" a moment after the whistle blew to stop play because of the fight. On one hand, one might say that the fight cost Hershey a goal. On the other hand, if Aubin heard the whistle he might have let up, so the non-goal might not have gone in had the fight not stopped play. Either way, the score remains tied at 1-1.

Aubin made a nice save. We then started a counter-rush, and after a scramble in the Bears crease where Matsumoto was digging at the puck, the ref's arm went up. AGAIN we went to a PP. This many PPs for US in a period is something I'm not used to. On a side note, this was when I began to wonder if Guenin got a little banged up from blocking that shot. I noticed I hadn't seen him in a few shifts.

Half a minute later, our powerplay became a 4 on 4 situation, as Powe went to the box. I think that was the first penalty we had in the game that wasn't from a fight. We were now facing 1:30 of 4 on 4 hockey, with 2:54 left. The shots on goal at this time: Phantoms 9, Bears 12.

Nodl rushed the puck up ice, but we couldn't keep control of it. During the ensuing Bears counter-rush, we wound up with another penalty. Raduns was sent off for holding at 2:11. So that meant that we'd be at a 4 on 3 disadvantage for 47 seconds, then we'd be down 5 on 3.

At this point in the game, I was glad to see that Guenin was on the ice. Kane made a nice defensive play to block a pass. I started getting nervous when the Phantoms and Bears combined to make a pretty good-sized screen in front of Aubin. We can't let that happen -- he's not the tallest guy on the ice as it is. Eventually, we killed enough penalty time that we were only on a 5 on 4 disadvantage. The Phantoms started playing desperate, which I like to see. I want to see our guys out there looking like they mean it. Powe got a SH rush going and took a nice shot with 20 seconds left. Finally, we killed what was left of the penalties, and were none the worse for wear on the scoreboard.

I'm not exactly thrilled with the way the Bears broke out of their own zone at the next opportunity. They came straight in on our goal like we weren't even there. We're going to need to offer up more resistance than that if we want to win this game.

At the end of the period, a ten player scrum started and carried itself over to the front of the Bears bench, at which point I couldn't see the goings-on anymore. The only penalty that was doled out as a result of that fracas was to Powe for roughing. So we will start the second period with a full 2-minute penalty kill. SOG at end of first: P11, B15.
Second period: I was pleased to see that we only allowed one shot on goal during that entire penalty kill. With 17:53 remaining in the second period, we were at 5 on 5 and we had a stoppage in play when a hard hit knocked the glass askew in the Phantoms penalty box. However, it didn't take too long for them to fix the problem, as the pane was only jarred loose, not broken.

Hershey's Sloan and Reid, and our Szwez, started a three-way conference and were jawing at each other. Only Sloan was penalized. It made me wonder if Reid and Szwez have a history, as it was the second time in this game that they ended up in a confrontation. In any event, the end result was a Phantoms PP, but we had a terrible time trying to get set up in Hershey's zone. Then, following a line change, we did manage to set up, but we couldn't get a flipping shot on goal for love or money. The Bears cleared it out, and Nodl brought it back in but was offside. Grrr... this is the kind of thing that we need to avoid if we're going to do anything with the man advantage.

Unfortunately, as soon as our powerplay ended, the Bears broke out and tied the score 2-2. At this point, the shot clock read Phantoms 11, Bears 20 with 14:40 left. In other words, we hadn't shot on goal yet in the period. Color me Not Happy about that.

Our feisty line of Szwez, Cabana, and Clackson came out after we gave up the goal. :) We really needed to tilt the ice back toward Hershey's net. Clackson shoved Sloan, but a linesman intervened before the exchange escalated into anything else. No penalties were called, but Clackson was still jawng as he returned to the bench. (I couldn't see if Sloan was chirping as well.)

After a scramble in front of our net, Ratchuk was sent to the box. Did I mention we were going to get the makeup calls going against us? Hershey, unfortunately, was having no difficulty setting up in our zone. Aubin left a big rebound in the slot, but we cleared it all the way to the Bears net. Nodl got a nice SH rush going. Soon afterward, so did Cabana. We weren't getting shots on goal with these shorthanded breakouts, but neither were the Bears as long as we were in their end, so it's all good.

The shots on goal, with 8:42 left, were Phantoms 12, Bears 25. We had a grand total ONE freaking shot on goal in the frame, and more than half the period had passed. I was fuming; we weren't shorthanded THAT much of the period, that we should generate so little offense. It was only a matter of time before we paid for letting the Bears take up residence in front of our net. Hershey scored again with 6:51 left, to take a 3-2 lead. The wrong Giroux scored, darn it.

The good news is that we tied the score at 3-3, literally within seconds. Syvret scored, assisted by Raduns and Clackson. Excellent!

On the next shift, Aubin had to be quick to keep the puck out and the score tied. We ended up shorthanded yet again as a result. Moments into the penalty kill, Aubin stopped a shot and stayed down. The trainer went out to check on him. Eventually, he did get up and remained in the game.

After this, we went on the powerplay another time. Again we couldn't get set up. Two more quick penalties in succession by Hershey translated into a VERY LONG 5-on-3 advantage. The Bears actually had three men in the box at once, and the third minor couldn't even start counting down until the first of their three penalties had expired.

Eventually, the length of the two-man advantage worked in our favor. Matsumoto scored, from the right Giroux ;) and Syvret, with three seconds of 5-on-3 advantage remaining. The Phantoms now had a 4-3 lead.

Shots on goal at the end of the second period: Phantoms 18, Hershey 32.
I got back to my seat for the third period just in time to see the Phantoms do a great job PKing w/Raduns in the box. But when we returned to even strength, we were still stuck in our freaking end of the ice.

Finally Matsumoto's line broke out and we spent some time at the other end. However, for our efforts, we only got two shots. Our next breakout came courtesy of Nodl. We seem to give the puck to him to rush a lot. Nodl has a lot of speed, which I like.

Oh! WHAT did I say about those darned screens in front of Aubin? A puck got deflected in past a screened Aubin's skate, tying the score 4-4 with 6:28 left. The shot clock read Phantoms 22, Bears 40. This is the result of spending too much time in our end.

Aah, bleep. The Bears scored on a faceoff in our zone, taking a 5-4 lead. Aubin kind of keeled over into the net in frustration. There were two minutes and change remaining in the period.

With a minute left, Aubin went off for the extra skater. On the ice, we had Guenin, Syvret, Powe, Nodl, Raduns, and Maroon.When Bears goalie froze the puck, the Phantoms called T/O with 43 seconds left. Unfortunately, time ran out and Phantoms lost 5-4. Hershey is now 4 and 0 to start their season.

The shots on goal at the end of the game were Phantoms 25, Bears 42.
#3 Matsumoto
#2 Syvret
#1 Bears' Arsene

Pregame Warmup

I arrived partway through the pregame skate. I can see that Powe and Szwez are on the ice, so whatever it was that had them injured as of Wednesday has improved to the point where they're warming up with the team again.

We'll see who the scratches are, however. Warming up pregame doesn't absolutely mean that a person is in the lineup that night. I do hope they're well enough to play, however.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

John Paddock was the Guest Speaker at the Phan Club meeting

Last night, we had coach John Paddock as our guest speaker at the Phantoms Phan Club meeting. We've got a few banged-up forwards, so our original plan to send down another one or two players by the weekend might be delayed. It depends on whether we get Ross back from the Flyers, and whether any of the the dented guys (Szwez, Kalinsky, Maroon) are good to go by then. Powe also got hurt on Saturday night.

I'm not sure how injured is "injured" for any of these guys. I hope that it's nothing major and they are back in the lineup soon. But suddenly, that surplus of guys sitting in the press box could be converted to a group of guys getting some time in the Phantoms lineup.

Oh, and it was interesting to hear the perspective of the man who was the Other Team's Coach during the infamous Phantoms/Senators brawl game. You know, the one that featured the Goalie High-Jump competition. This is what happens when you have two teams with a lot of personality, not to mention some colorful personalities and a strong competitive spirit. Someone asked him if he jokes with Neil Little about the game, as they now work together on the coaching staff. He laughed and said, "Well, maybe the first time, since he's got a big picture of it in his office". (LOL!!! ) But now they talk about hockey, goaltending, and golf.

We also had the opportunity to congratulate Mike Thornton on his promotion. The changes to his responsibilities mean that it's unlikely he'll continue as our play-by-play announcer. He actually received resumes in his email from people interested in the job, which is pretty impressive to me considering that the announcement was only made yesterday afternoon. But he said he was going to talk, today, to the person who called some games for us last season, as well as being the one who'll be stepping up to fill his old position. I'll just leave it at that, since it won't be long until official announcements come out on that score. We have a home game on Friday, so we have no choice but to get our administrative tails in gear by then.

So I'll close by saying that I hope our dented guys are back in good shape in no time. I also hope that our guys who need playing time are able to either get it here, or if they're assigned to Mississippi then I hope they tear it up in Biloxi. Do us proud, guys!
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