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

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

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