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

Monday, October 20, 2008

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.

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