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

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Game Recap and Box Score, filed under "Read 'Em and Weep"

In the immortal words of Sylvester the Cat: "Sufferin' Succotash!" Here, if you have the intestinal fortitude, are the links to the game recap and the box score.

Egad. What a night. I still have a headache. And if MY head feels like it's splitting, I can only imagine what the coaches and players feel like after that rout.

Fortunately, the team has a few days to regroup. Our next contests are on Friday and Saturday, both at home, vs. the Hartford WolfPack and Binghamton Senators, respectively.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Phantoms at Hershey 11-29-08; Third Period

A few minutes into the third, we have at least two of our guys in the box back and, in fact, we are on the PP now. Let's see if anything positive comes of it. I realize that it's unlikely that we'll get seven goals in the third period to tie the game, but that doesn't mean we can't play well in the third period and recoup at least some lost dignity.

No luck with the PP, unless you count the fact that a Bear completely missed the fact that he could have fed his teammate coming out of the penalty box for a breakaway.

LOL, I was wondering why the fans were applauding when it didn't seem like anything was happening and it was a faceoff. Turns out a linesman lost his footing and fell, while moving into position. Referee Ryan Fraser gave the linesman the "Safe" signal. :D

Crud. Guenin appears to have gotten banged up on the play behind our net. He got up without seeming to favor anything, but he also went up the tunnel. I hope that's it's nothing serious -- we can't afford to lose him.

Klotz tried to get Reid to fight during the ensuing faceoff. Reid didn't want to, but when the puck dropped, Klotz went after him anyway and knocked him down with a hit to the head. Klotz has 7 minutes' worth of penalties on the board, having gotten the Bettman 17 (2 for instigation, 5 or fighting, 10 minute misconduct). Klotz is done for the night, and Maroon is serviing his penalties Reid, meanwhile, headed up the Bears tunnel with the trainer, so it's possible that whatever Klotz did inflicted some damage.

Can we catch even a SMALL break tonight? For crying out loud! We actually looked like we were about to get into Hershey's zone shorthanded, but the rat fink puck deflected off a linesman and came back out to the neutral zone. The Bears promptly took it and set up shop in our end once again.

OK, the good news is, Guenin is back out on the ice. The bad news is, the Bears just got a PP goal that went in off him. [Insert expletives here.] It was during the 5-minute major, which gets served first, so it didn't take any penalty time off the clock.

There goes the franchise record for most goals-against in a game. 9-0 Bears. I'm getting fed up with this "B-E-A-R-S Bears Bears Bears" chant. Hershey has now scored 9 goals in a game twice in two weeks, having done so vs. Bingo recently.

There are less than 9 minutes remaining in the game, so there's still time for us to put something in the box score other than penalty minutes. Of course, we are being out shot 37-11, which means we have a grand total of ONE shot on goal in this period. Egad.

GEEZE OH MAN. We just spent a good minute hemmed into our zone with a stickless player. Curry was behind our net with the puck, waiting for the team to get set up, and as he was coming out from behind the net, his freaking STICK broke in half. Maroon gave him his own stick and we continued trying to get the puck out... unsuccessfully. Finally, Teslak froze the puck and ended an infinite sequence.

The Phantoms have never lost by a wider margin than six goals, so that record is in jeopardy. We just got our 12th shot, so that record won't be broken. We do need another shot to keep from breaking our "fewest SOG on the road" record. We're unlikely to break the most-PP-goals-against record, which was 7 by Hershey a couple seasons ago. I had to laugh as our announcer decribed that particular game as "the worst-officiated contest in the history of hockey". If you've ever seen a truly, truly bad AHL reffing performance, you'll know that he was unlikely to be exaggerating by much.

Yikes, the Wrong Giroux just took a puck of the helmet (from a teammate's dump-in) and went down. Fortunately, he seems to be OK. While he's a pain in the rear of an opponent, and I don't want him scoring on us, I don't want him in the ER either. I'd like to see him in a Capitals uniform. :D Yeah, that would work for me just fine.

Final minute of the game... we have only seconds to put something constructive on the scoreboard. We actually are set up in the Bears' end, but the Bears are blocking shots like mad because they want to keep the goose egg on the board that we want to remove. The one saving grace is that we did get the 13th SOG, so we only tied our record for fewest road SOG in a game.

Game over. Claude Giroux and Michael Ratchuk somehow managed to break even on +/- in this game. But just as we were getting some other postgame stats from our announcer, the freaking AHLlive site cut the broadcast off. Geesh, can they at least wait until the broadcast is actually done before they throw the "off" switch? GRRR.

Ugh. That was painful. Time for Alka Seltzer. I'll be back with game recaps and the final box score, even though they're both of the "Read 'em and weep" variety, when they become available.

Phantoms at Hershey 11-29-08: Second Period

We began this period shorthanded. We seem to have woken up from whatever daze we were in during the first 20 minutes. Or, at the very least, we lok a lot better on this PK than we did at even strength or at any other point of the first period. Good, there we go, we killed that penalty. Now let's see if we can keep this newfound effectiveness going.

Well it would be nice if we could actually do something like get out of our zone now that we're back to 5 on 5. We finally wound up icing the darn puck to get it out.

And Darren Reid, our former player, scores on a screened shot right from the faceoff. 5-0 bad guys. It's Hershey's 18th shot of the game. I'm surprised to hear that it's Reid's first goal of the year, considering that last season, he started the season on our top scoring line. I sure did hate to see him go, during the offseason.

Man, what does it take to get ourselves into the flipping Bears zone? The closest we came was when Powe was racing in with the puck, only to be swept off his feet and lose the puck when the Hershey defenseman made a sliding block. Then the Bears got a 2-on-1 the other way.

Guenin went to the sin bin for cross-checking, but 27 seconds later, Hershey took an interference penalty, so we will be at 4 on 4 for a while. Powe is out with Matsumoto. Hershey netminder Machesney has an answer for a couple of Phantoms shots, but when the Bears head back to the Phantoms end, Alexandre Giroux (the Wrong Giroux) collides full speed with Scott Munroe. We will have a 4 on 3 PP, and at some point n time we'll hae a short 5 on 3.

During all this,  Bears Dman Amadio scores on a shorthanded breakaway. 6-0 Hershey. This is murder. Teslak has his gloves on, but not his mask. Munroe is still in the game. Hershey kills the penalty, and The Wrong Giroux gets a breakaway coming out of the penalty box. We don't get scored on, but we do pick up a hooking penalty. We are being outshot 22-7, with 12 minutes and change remaining in the second period, which should give an indication of just how lopsided this game has been.

Not long afterward, just as the we were told that the shots are 25-9 in favor of the Bears, and Hershey scores again. Teslak is now on the way into the game. I can agree with our announcer that it's not Munroe's fault that we're in this deep of a hole.

Oh, come on, ref! Ryan Fraser is calling Matsumoto for slashing. TWO SECONDS after he was blatantly tripped right in front of the ref and no call was made. Syvret had enough issues with this, and told Fraser about them in enough detail, that he got a ten-minute misconduct and we won't see him again until the third period. Freaking ridiculous. So we're back on the bleeping PK once again, when what we should be on is a powerplay. I wouldn't be quite this steamed, except for CRYING OUT LOUD can something go the heck right for this team in this game?

A-*hem*. Pardon my rant. Now we have a fight between Curry and Whelar. Neither of them landed a lot of punches, both of them threw some haymakers that missed, but Whelar did get the judo throw that hauled Curry to the ice. We have three minutes and change remaining, so the gladiators will be heading up the tunnel to get a head start on the intermission.

Here's a stat that I hope we don't have to revisit at any point tonight: the Phantoms have never given up more than 8 goals in a game, and the game in question was an 8-6 loss in October 1997.

Clackson and Amadio get into a minor scuffle. It didn't escalate to a point where penalties would be called, normally, but in this case the players got coincidental roughing minors. There go two more guys up the tunnel early. Geesh, we are going to start the period with three guys in the sin bin, presuming that no additional infractions get assessed before the period ends. FINALLY, we get the tenth shot of the game. Our team low for SOG is 12, and our road low for SOG is 13, so again, here's hoping that we don't have occasion to mention either of those stats again in this game.

The form of torture known as the second period of this game is over, with the Bears leading 7-0. Hershey also leads on the shot clock, 31(!!!)-10.

Phantoms at Hershey 11-29-08: First Period

Rats. Moments after I tuned into the game, the Bears scored on a PP goal to take a 1-0 lead. Darn Washington, I thought they called Mink up the other day, but he's in Hershey's lineup tonight.

Teslak is our backup tonight, for "at least the next little while", as Aubin sustained what was officially described as a lower body injury. Now, normally I would say "I guess that means shoulder", since I know that teams like to avoid cluing opponents in to what's the matter with an injured player. However, there's really no disguising what happened last night, when he left the ice favoring his right leg. So in this case, I think they're telling the truth.

Dear Caps, please call Mink up again. He just assisted on Hershey's second goal, with Alexandre Giroux scoring the tally. 2-0 Pain in the Neck Bad Guys.

Claude Giroux went to the box another time, but then with 1:14 remaining in the bears PP, someone from Hershey tripped up Jared Ross, so it will be 4on 4 for a while. Then the Phantoms will get a brief PP.

AGAIN with the Mink-Giroux combination for a goal. Not only do the Bears now lead 3-0, they have 10 shots on goal to our ZERO. As in, goose egg. Mink/Giroux/Aucoin have figured in all three goals.

Geeze, I didn't even finish typing that in, and the same line burnt us again. This time it was Amadio from Aucoin and MacNeill, but I saw the players congratlating one another, and Giroux and Mink were on the ice. Four goals on 11 shots. I can't blame Munroe for this, not when we're doing NIENTE to create any kind of threat at the other end. I haven't even heard the Bears goalie's name mentoned yet.

4:20 left in the first period. FINALLY we create a nice flurry in front of Hershey's net, which ended in a ten-player shoving match as Machesney froze the puck. We have a grand total of two SOG now, so at least we aren't going to get shut down on the shot clock.

Oh, Ross got a nice shot from the high slot, and the Bears defenseman's attempt to block the shot actually made it harder on his goalie. The puck popped up and Machesney had to be alert to make sure it stayed out of harm's way.

Claude Giroux is about to get called for a third penalty. I have a feeling that Paddock isn't going to be overly happy over that. We'll see how his ice time is affected.

We killed that penalty, but now it's Bartulis who's going to occupy the sin bin. Good grief, this period has been murder. We got out of the period still on the PK, so we will be shorthanded to start the second. Hershey is outshooting us 15-3, though it took us 17 minutes to register a shot on goal.

Gack. What a start to the game. Here's hoping we have a better second and third period.

Friday's Recap and Box Score

Here's the game recap from the Phantoms site. There's a transaction on the AHL site that says Michael-Lee Teslak has been recalled from Elmira to fill in for Aubin.

Speaking of the AHL site, here's the link to last night's box score on the AHL site.

I'm still waiting for the pregame notes to come up for tonight's game, but when I see them, I'll post them.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Phantoms vs. Springfield 11-28-08: Third Period

The first three minutes of this period have been spent playing river hockey. They've been alternating possession and skating from one end of the rink to the other. However, with 16:37 left in the third frame, we have yet to see either team register a shot on goal for the period.

Three and a half minutes later, the Falcons have had two shots, but the Phantoms are still looking to put their first puck on net in the period. We keep trying, but it seems like there are blue jerseys in our way every time we attempt to get something going. I don't know what their coach said during the intermission, but whaver they did to alter their tactics seems to be working. We're having a dog of a time trying to get set up in front of Dubnyk. Of course, the Falcons are having only slightly more success getting anything accomplished in front of Munroe at the moment. As long as we keep it that way, we're in good shape.

Ah, finally. There we are. 9:33 left in the period and Dubnyk has had to freeze a puck. 'Bout darn time. Muny has had to stop three shots.

Ah, a PP. Good -- now maybe we'll help Dubnyk feel like's more involved in the game. ;) Syvret just made a mad dash to the point from way over in the slot, to keep a puck in. Nice wheels! Not much happened early on, but with 24 seconds remaining in our PP, Springfield took another penalty so we have a two-man advantage for the time being. Not that we got a lot done with it. In fact, Corazzini from Springfield got a shorthanded rush, once it was back to 5 on 4, and clanged one off the post. Eeee. Springfield really wants to tie this game -- if we don't get our rears in gear, we are going to regret it. Color me Not Happy; there was a POINT BANK SHOT for us just as we were returning to even strength, and somehow it stayed out. Dagnab it. I thought for sure it was in, but no.

They got us running around, and sure enough, they drew a penalty. Nate Raduns goes to serve his two minutes, and now we really WILL have to bear down. Matsumoto, Powe, Guenin, and Syvret are on for us. Next: Giroux, Ross, Curry, Bartulis. Ross steals it for a shorthanded chance... MAN, is he quick. Meanwhile, Corazzini, the same guy who nearly scored for Springfield, has fallen on his can twice in this PP. I wonder if he's having a skate problem, since it's odd to see guys take two spills on the same shift

We're back at even strength, but it's taking us more time than I'd like to see for us to clear the freaking puck out. Ah, finally. Szwez carries it out. Now I see that with a minute and a half left, Springfield has pulled their goalie. No wonder we couldn't get out. Laliberte win a major foot race for the loose disk, and his shot from the neutral zone JUST misses the dratted net. Oh, so flipping close to icing the cake. At least he didn't ice the puck -- he made darn sure to get to the other side of the red line before he fired that shot.

With 23.7 seconds left, Springfield calls timeout. Our guys on the ice are Szwez, Powe, Guenin, Syvret, and Laliberte. At the last moment, Matsumoto also came out, so now they are trying to figure out who has to go back to our bench. Looks like Szwez went back and Matsumoto is remaining out. The guy taking the draw for Springfield is Potulny. Alll RIIIIGHT... The ENG with 2.9 seconds remaining seals the deal. Credit it to Laliberte, who narrowly missed doing the same thing a little while ago.

And that does it! The good guys win, 4-1!

Incidentally, I really like that they use the Center's original goal horn for Phantoms games. I like that one better than the new, deafening one that the Flyers are using. The old one doesn't sound like any of the other ones I've heard in other NHL games, plus it doesn't hurt my ears.

Stars of the game: #3: Munroe (See? Told ya!) #2: Maroon; #1: DeSantis, who earned his first professional goal in this game!

Phantoms vs. Springfield 11-28-08: Second Period

We killed that last fragment of Powe's penalty without incident. About a minute and a half later, Ryan Potulny took a penalty, putting the Phantoms on the PP. Matsumoto, Maroon, and Laliberte took the first PP shift with Syvret and DeSantis. Laliberte nearly scored, but Springfield's netminder Dubnyk made exactly the same kind of save that Munroe made in the first period -- while flat on his stomach, he raised his leg enough to keep out the point-blank shot. ARGH. So close.

We're at even strength now, and there hasn't been a lot of opportunity to score for either team. Six minutes into the period, the Phantoms have two shots and the Falcons have three shots since the intermission ended

Maroon and Ross team up on a 2-on-1, but the goalie stands his ground and keeps the puck out. However, we drew a penalty on that rush. We had a PP that lasted a grand total of 4 seconds before we were assessed a penaty of our own. Prior to this, the ref had been alternating penalties, but he gave Springfield two in a row. I guess he had to fix the error by putting Laliberte in the sin bin. ;) The forward pairing to egin the 4-on-4 is Ross/Giroux. Raduns/Powe were next.

Once the penalties to both teams were complete, we came THIS-CLOSE to putting a puck in. Matsumoto was right at the post to cash in a rebound, but a Springfield defenseman got to it first and cleared the puck vigorously out of harm's way. If looks could kill, the glare Matsumoto put on that D would have had him in the ER. ;)

Aah, heck. The Falcons halved the deficit to 2-1 within a couple minutes of their defenseman's preventing a goal.

Blast. We get penalized for delay of game. Maroon serves the penalty for Munroe. Then, 1:09 into the penalty, Springfield gets called for interference. So I guess we're alternating penalties again. ;)

Yikes. DeSantis and a Falcon kind of got tangled up and went sliding into the boards together. Fortunately, they both got up none the worse for wear. It's a little nerve-wracking when guys take an awkward spill like that, but there was no harm done.

MAROOOOON scores on the PP! Ross and Giroux got the assists. Ross fed Maroon, who was right in front of the net, and he managed to bury it before the goalie could get himself set. 3-1, Good Guys.

Soon afterward, while Laliberte was winning a foot race for the puck in the Falcons zone, Powe came barreling in for all he was worth and set himself up at the crease for rebounds. NICE. We didn't manage to get a shot off that time, but if we had, Powe was in great position to make it count.

With 2:20 left in the second period, the Phantoms are being outshot 27-15. If it weren't for the fact that we are winning, I'd be pretty steamed about how wide the margin is that we're being outshot by. If we keep this up, Munroe needs to get a star of the game.

I can't wait to see how many SOG Ross has tonght. It seems like every shift, he's been in the goalie's face and looking to get one past the netminder. He's had one of the As since he returned to the Phantoms. Powe has one also, and so does Syvret. (While Kane is injured, we're going with three assistant captains)

At the end of the second period, the SOG total is Phantoms 16, Falcons 28.

Phantoms vs. Springfield 11-28-08: First Period

Scratches: Donati, Beaulieu, Kane, Hersley
Starting Lineup: Aubin, Guenin, Syvret, Ross, Maroon, Giroux.

Springfield has two Phantoms alumni in their starting lineup: Ryan Potulny and Guilliaume Lefebvre. I'm sure they'll both be motivated to put one in the net.

We finally got a pump video before a game. They showed the one that was made for the two preseason games at the Spectrum. The accompanying music is "The Sun Will Set On You". That's a song I'll have to look up onlne later, as I don't know who sings it.

As it's Tribute to Tough Guys Night, we're going to have a ceremonial pregame glove drop. :D Dave Schultz, Bob Kelly, Dave Brown, and Frank Bialowas dropped their gloves at center ice. LOL

Laliberte has got a rather prominent moustache that I don't recall seeing before -- I wonder if the Phantoms are doing "Moustache Boy" again?

Holy cow, I didn't see what happened to Aubin, but he went to drop to take a shot, which I don't actually think reached the net, and he stayed down. More than that, he wilted flat onto the ice. Good grief. Munroe is masking up and puttting on his gear, just in case. Aubin's down on the ice and other than kicking his leg in pain briefly, he's literally not moving. It took two people to help him off, and he wasn't putting his right leg down as they guided him to the bench door. Munroe took over in goal, and they had their work cut out for them in assisting Aubin up the tunnel. Ouch, poor guy. :( It must make maneuvering while injured a whole bunch harder to be wearing all that goalie gear.

Not long after that, we took a penalty. WHAT a PK! Munroe made several point-blank stops, including one when he was flat on his stomach, yet managed to make a skate save on a sure goal. We finished that shorthanded situation with the game stil scoreless.

Now it's our turn to be on the power lay. DeSantis, Syvret, Matsumoto, Powe, and Laliberte are out. Now it's Ross, Maroon and Giroux out, with the same two D (DeSantis/Syvret). PAY DIRT -- DeSantis scores with a BOMB from the point, assisted by Maroon and Giroux.

Here we go with the penalties. Seconds later, Bellamy goes to the bix and we're back on the PK. Powe, Raduns, Syvret, and Guenin are our guys. Next shift, Giroux and Ross generate a shorthanded scoring chance.

GEESH. The puck was wrapped aroudnd the glass, but it deflected oddly off one of the stanchions and nailed the ref, who went down in pain. Fortunately, he was't injured too badly. We got to see something that isn't witnessed often -- Philadelphia fans CHEERING an official, when he got up. Hey, don't say we're heartless. ;) Luckily, he is able to continue the game. Meanwhile, during the stoppage in play, Scotty is having one of the equipment guys adjust a throat protector which I guess he never had the chance to put on prior to the game.

Once again, as soon as the Phantoms penalty ended, we were put on the power play. We keep trading PPs n this game. Ross, Giroux, and Maroon are with Ratchuk and Curry. Now Matsumoto, Powe, and Laliberte are with Syvret and DeSantis. With 6:55 remaining in the period, the Phantoms are being outshot by the Falcons, 10-6. But we have about half a minute and change of PP time, so with luck we'll make up that deficit. Oh, Matsumoto nearly doubled our lead... So close!

YEAH -- no sooner do we return to even strength, than Jeff Szwez buries one to make the score 2-0! Great play! On the next shift, the Falcons bust their tail feathers getting to our end to try and close the gap. But Muny is money and keeps their attempt out.

Ross is with Clackson and Klotz... We have seven D dressed again, and we are double-shifting someone to go with our two extra guys.

Giroux showed some NICE speed there, pursuing a Falcon deep into the Springfield end to cance an icing call. The Falcon HAD to get hold of the puck prior to the goal lie, or else Giroux would've had both the puck and a prime scoring chance.

Boy, Scotty must have X-Ray vision, to have seen that shot through a screen on the faceoff. NICE work. Matsumoto, Powe, Laliberte, DeSantis, and D'Amour are out.

Powe just got into a major fight with Roy, which was not the best idea he could've had, as he took several punches to the head. MY NERVES, when our recently-concussed players drop the farging gloves. However, Powe got two for goalie interference along with his 5 for fighting, so I presume that's why Roy went after him in the first place. So we're shorthanded for the rest of this period, plus about six seconds' worth of the second period, presuming we kill the penalty.

Matsumoto just caused the Falcons to go offside by standing the puck carrier up at the blue ine. Nice. Anything that kills the Springfield momentum is good

SOG at the end of the first period, Phantoms 9, Falcon 16. We will have six more seconds of PK remaining when the second period begins.

Wednesday's Recap

Here's the article from the Phantoms site recapping Wednesday's game in Wilkes-Barre.

The box score from the game is also available.

In other news, due to the return of Darroll Powe to our lineup, Chase Trull was released from his PTO on Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Phantoms at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 11-26-08: Third Period

During the intermission, the announcer told us that the Phantoms have 32 shots on goal, even though the online box score says 33. So we'll have to keep an eye on that, to see if the stat gets tweaked in the box score at any point during or after the game.

I don't know what the Penguins coach said to them during the intermission, but they came out like someone lit a fire under their tail feathers. Yes, they started on the PP and had another man advantage shortly thereafter, but they're doing their darnedest to stay on the attack. Our D and goaltending have been good, though, and the score has remained 3-1. And of course, as I type that, Powe and Laliberte take the puck right down and team up for a Phantoms goal. Laliberte scores his second of the game, assisted by Powe. We have our three-goal lead back, which is good, but one shift later we are about to go on the penalty kill once again. Guenin will sit.

Raduns promptly clears the puck the entire length of the ice, right to Berkhoel. The same aggravation that the Phantoms have had in recent games, we are inflicting on Wilkes-Barre, clearing the puck promptly and picking off passes. I like when we dole out the agita MUCH better than when we're on the receiving end of the agita.

Curry is fighting with Henrich. Not too many punches were thrown, and Curry eventually got the takedown. Dang, this has been a fight-fest game, and what's interesting is there haven't been any repeat customers so far. No PPs resulted from this bout; it was just the fighting majors for each.

OMG that was some good D on Wilkes-Barre's part -- Beaulieu took a shot on goal, which necessitated a nice save on Berkhoel's part, but he left a big rebound. Had the Pens' defenseman not been RIGHT there to sweep the puck clear, it would have been a guaranteed goal for the Phantom that was only a few inches farther away from the biscuit. As it is, the score remains 4-1 Phantoms.

Maroon is now fighting Mormina -- he's giving up a noticeable amount of size to the 6'6" Pen. Maroon landed a bunch of body shots and actually fared pretty well, given the fact that Mormina's the size of a freaking HOUSE. It was only a little lopsided.

NICE neutral-zone poke-check by Beaulieu. We are clogging the ice for all we're worth. I am hearing Laliberte's name a LOT in these waning minutes of the game. If Paddock awards ice time based on performance, then it's not surprising that the guy with the two goals is on the ice and gunning at every opportunity for a, um, I can't say it during the game but let's just say there's a headgear reference involved. ;)

To my great surprise, the Pens pulled their goaltender in the final minute, even though they're down by THREE goals. I'm not entirely sure I've ever seen a team employ that strategy when they're trailing by that wide of a margin. Sure enough, with 3.6 seconds left, we clear it from our blue line and bury an ENG. That was Powe, going POW again for his second of the night.

So while the Flyers were busy winning a 3-1 game in Carolina, the Phantoms put away the Penguins by a score of 5-1.

SOG: Phantoms 45 (or 44, if you listen to the announcer's tally); Penguins 25.

The Stars of the game: #3: Munroe; #2 Ross; #1 Laliberte I'm a little surprised that Powe and his three points (2G, 1A) didn't get a mention. Then again, by the time he scored the empty-netter, the stars were probably already chosen. Ross did score a superb SH goal as well as registering 6 SOG, so he was a worthy choice as a star.

Oh, and the Pens fans did go home with SOMEthing to smile about. Their goalie John Curry, who's called up to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the moment, was moments away from registering his first NHL win in his first NHL game. I don't root for either Pens team, but I can empathize with the goalie fans in the W-B crowd. I know how happy I am when any of our callups does well, particularly when said player is one of our netminders! So the fans got something upbeat to think about, even in a loss, and Phantoms Nation gets to be happy about the results of the contest.

Happy Thanksgiving! :)

Phanatoms at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 11-26-08: Second Period

The audio was most definitely ahead of the video by a few moments. The announcer gave a first-period recap on camera, and it was clear that the words were audible shortly before they could be lipread on the video.

MUNY, what a save! He made a phenomenal lateral move to stop a stuff attempt on the wraparound. The subsequent scrum in the crease wound up with Munroe freezing the puck, but with most if not all of him in the net. However, no goal light went on, and there was no clear way to determine that the puck was all the way over the line, so play resumed with the score 1-0 Phantoms.

Now we're on the PP again. OH ouch, a slapshot from Matsumoto nailed a Penguin squarely and he went down. But he managed to clear the puck before making his way to the bench. It was Mormina, and while I don't think he was injured, he's probably going to have quite a bruise for a souvenir. Near the end of the PP, the Pens nearly got a SH break, but DeSantis prevented it.

No sooner do we return to even strength, then the Phantoms go shorthanded. Bellamy goes for high-sticking, 3:39 into the period. Yet again, Guenin proceeds to block a shot. I wish I had a dime for every puck Guenin blocks.

POWE goes POW while we're shorthanded! Berkhoel went to the corner to play the puck, but the puck went right past him and bounced off the back boards in the zone where the goalie can't touch it. Out comes the puck, into the crease, and Powe is right there to slam-dunk it into the completely empty net. 2-0 Phantoms!

And again, we're going to HAVE to make plays like this to make sure we put something past this goalie, because he IS a solid netminder, miscue notwithstanding.

Oh, crumbs. Stupid delay-of-game rule. Curry clears the puck over the glass within seconds of our previous penalty's end. Back to the PK we go

MOVE, ya knucklehead ref! The darn zebra got in our way and we couldn't clear the puck. OK, NOW we get the puck the heck out.

Late in the penalty, Raduns is in a fight with Taffe, so to speak. It looks like Taffe and Minard started out by double-teaming him, and ends up with a wrestling match between Raduns and Minard. Taffe gets the extra two for roughing, so we are going on a PP within 11 seconds.

MAN. Well, if we had a near-miss when Munroe ended up in the net early in the period, the Pens just had their near-miss now. There was a huge PP flurry of shots, and by the time the whistle blew, it was under Berkhoel and right ON the goal line. There's no video replay in the AHL, the more's the pity, so play resumed and soon afterward, the Pens' penalty expired.

Mormina's back on the ice, so he's recovered from his encounter with the slapshot.

Meanwhile, Munroe and Berkhoel are trading solid saves. This game is evolving into a NICE goalie duel.

Engelland is in a fight with Szwez and he's winning. That one was pretty decisive in favor of Engelland, who landed about four consecutive rights to Szwez's face. Props to Szwez for keeping his feet throughout and managing a takedown at the end.

Powe came close to scoring... sort of. It went off Powe's hand, and off his stomach, but then on the replay, it looked like Berkhoel regained possession and somehow redirected the puck into the net. However, the ref went POW and disallowed the goal, so the score remains 2-0 Phantoms.

The Phantoms just had an extended stay in front of the Wilkes-Barre net, to the point where the announcer felt compelled to state, "This is not a power play". The Penguins fnally got down to the Philly end and made some noise, but when the Phantoms regained posession, we went barreling down the ice and scored for a third time. It was a mad scramble in front after Matsumoto took the initial shot, but it appears that they're crediting the goal to Laliberte with assists to Bellamy and Matsumoto.

Munroe had to be on his toes, as the Penguins came out of that faceoff with guns blazing. A great lateral move on his part kept the puck out, but we took a holding-the-stick penalty and wound up shorthanded. What's more, we're lucky that the next puck that went over the glass deflected off a stick before exiting the ice, because we'd have been down two men instead of just one. I really like the way we're defending diuring this penalty kill. Giroux and Ross got a Sh 2-on-2 -- they didn't get a scoring chance, but they killed off a few extra seconds of penalty Next up, Raduns got a shorthanded shot on goal. He didn't score, but again, the more time we spend in the other end, the less time we'll spend trying to keep the puck out of OUR net.

The period is over, with 20 seconds remaining on the Penguins PP. The Phantoms lead the game 3-0. SOG: Phantoms 33, Penguins 15.

Holy cow! The Phantoms have an entire games' worth of SOG in two periods. Here's hoping we keep this dominant performance up, because SURE as heck the Pens' coach is going to have a few things to say to them during this intermission.

Phantoms at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 11-26-08: First Period

Our starting goalie is Scott Munroe. I can see in the box score that Darroll Powe is back in the lineup -- THAT'S a welcome sight, for sure!

The first penalty of the game goes to Matsumoto, 4 minutes and change into the period.

It seems like the audio is a few moments ahead of the video... Either that, or the W-B/S announcer is clairvoyant. ;)

Anyway, Ross is in a 2-against-1 battle in the corner for the loose puck, and wins. He fires the puck around the back boards, despite the pair of Penguins hounding him.

Oh, boy, just as the PK ended, the Pens came this-close to scoring. But Munroe made a nice save, and our D stepped up nicely to prevent a clear shot on an empty net in the aftermath of the stop. Crisis averted.

I don't like the problems we are having clearing this puck -- even when we did get it out of the zone, a Penguin (Bissonette, I think) intercepted the puck and brought it right back in. We need to get the heck away from our own end and start creating some chances of our own; the Pens got some offensive momentum from that powerplay and we need to take their energy away.

We have an offensive-zone draw, so let's see if we can do something constructive with that.

Powe is on a line with Matsumoto and Laliberte. Bellamy is also in the lineup, with Raduns and Beaulieu. I'm so glad to see our injured guys coming back. Clackson is with Szwez... Well, I don't know who the third player is, because the Pens got called for a penalty before I got a good look at him. :)

DeSantis, Maroon, Ross, Syvret, and __ (couldn't see him, but likely Giroux). I like how we look on this PP -- we keep getting it on net, and we keep preventing the Pens from clearing the puck. Darn Pens goalie, he made a couple of NICE stops on what I thougth was a sure goal. Matsumoto, Laliberte, Powe, Curry, and Ratchuk are our second PP unit. Literally seconds after the penalty expired, the Phantoms went right back on the PP. So I guess we'l see who that first PP unit player was... Yep. Giroux. :D

Come on, guys, let's get it on net this time like we did with our previous man advantage. I'm not so sure about this PP, as I sit here and look at TWO of our guys behind the goal line. HOLY COW, just as the Pens returned to even strength, their goalie Berkhoel made another pair of fantastic stops. Oh, this netminder's gonna be a pain in the tail, he is. I can see that.

Clackson and Bissonette are fighting. Bissonette literally got a headlock on Clackson, but he pulled himself loose and the fight kept going. That was a pretty active bout; I'd say Bissonette got more punches in, plus the takedown, so I'd give him the edge here. He also gave Clackson a pat on the back. Personally, I can't help but notice that Clackson, like Riley Cote last year in the NHL, seems to have no lack of willing waltz partners even though he's a rookie. It's a nice gesture of respect to a young guy who's just breaking into the league, and I credit that to his style of play as an old-school tough guy. He doesn't run around doing dumb stuff; he just sticks up for his teammates, hits hard, and willingly drops the gloves no matter how much size or weight he's giving up to his opponent.

Bartulis is off for high-sticking now. The Pens proceeded to get away with a trip during their powerplay -- you KNOW it's a penalty when the opposing announcer says his own team got away with one. ;)

ROSS draws first blood with a shorthanded goal! What a freaking gorgeous play! The goal was unassisted. Ross is such a head's up player, and if he's not the fastest guy on the ice for either team then I'd like to see who could outrace him. Wow.

At the end of the first period, the Phantoms are outshooting the Penguins 14-5 (!!!), and we lead 1-0.

Darroll Powe reappears on the Phantoms roster

I spy with my little eye something that starts with Powe. On a tip from a fellow fan, who said he'd read that Powe was medically cleared to play and sent down but couldn't recall where he'd seen the info, I took a look on the Phantoms site.

There's no announcement, at this moment, of Powe's return. However, Powe is on our active roster.

I'll keep an eye out for any additional information that comes along. With luck, it'll be in tonight's Pregame notes.

Welcome back, Darroll, and I look forward to watching you go POW on the Phantoms again. :)

Edit: This article in the Inky could be what my fellow fan saw. It's got a progress report on Claude Giroux's development, as well as a mention of Powe's recoery and assignment to the Phantoms.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Phantoms Weekly Release

The latest Phantoms Weekly Release is available on the team website.

We have a road game tomorrow night in Wilkes-Barre, and the annual Flyers/Phantoms doubleheader on Friday. (Note to Self: charge camera batteries, upload memory stick contents, and clear memory sticks in advance of this.) Our opponent on Friday is Springfield, to which I say, "It's ABOUT TIME we faced someone that isn't in our own division!" Dang. I know we've met up with a few non-divisional opponents during our MANY road trips in October and November, but during our few home games so far, it's been one divisional rival after another. Though, having said that, I liked last year's doubleheader a lot, where the Flyers faced the Capitals in the afternoon, and the Phantoms faced the Capitals' farm team, the Bears, that night. THAT'S a *real* doubleheader. If we hadn't seen the Bears five times already this month, with a sixth game slated for the upcoming weekend, I would be suggesting a repeat of that.

It's actually kind of neat when we manage to have a Flyers/Phantoms homestand where each team plays the corresponding team from the same organization. In prior years, we have had the Islanders in Philly during the same weekend as their farm team, ditto for the Maple Leafs, and of course the Caps' two teams were here on the same DAY last year. When that happens, it's a 100% guarantee that you will see brass from the parent club in the press box at the Spectrum. So if there's a particular former player you admire, and you KNOW he's a coach or scout with Team X, my advice is to take a walk over to the press box if Team X and their farm club are both in Philly together. There's a good chance you'll encounter him there.

Of course, Friday's game is at the Center, not the Spectrum, so you'll need a pair of binoculars to have a look at the press box denizens. But still, it's worth the effort if you think a former favorite player will be In The House for either game.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Phantoms at Bridgeport: Recap, Box Score, Comments at the Quarter-Season mark

Here's the Phantoms site's recap of today's game.

And here is the box score.

At the 1/4 mark of the season, we are a .500 team. It could be worse, considering that we dropped 6 in a row at one point. We're a young team, having started out with 9 rookies on the roster; the learning curve that every new pro experiences is a part of the reason why we've taken one step forward and one step back during the course of the year. Injuries have been a factor, and so has the fact that we've repeatedly lost top guys to the Flyers, sometimes for the short term (Ross, Kane, Raduns, to name three) and sometimes for the long term (Powe, Nodl, and in Downie's case "long term" = "traded away"). Our special teams have been excellent, which is a pleasant change from some past seasons when they've been ineffective at best. Right now I'd offer two, easily applied suggestions. 1. If we can get to our own goalies' rebounds more often, we'll give up fewer opportunities for opponents to cash one in. 2. If our goalies have any technical issues that they need to work on, let our goalie coaches sit down with them and give them pointers, let them practice extra on the ice... whatever it takes. They're certainly not slumping -- in fact, prior to this weekend, Scott Munroe was ranked third in the league in GAA. But some goals that have gone in during these 20 games have been facilitated by some technical issues like committing too soon, not getting back up from a split quickly enough, not quite getting the angles right, etc. It's all fixable stuff.

We've given up 59 goals, approximately 5th-worst in the league at the moment, and I know we can improve on those numbers as the season progresses. At the other end of the ice we've scored 58 goals, which puts us at about 12th in the league -- it certainly wouldn't hurt us to do what we can to raise that total, as well. But keeping goals OUT will mean that we can win more games without having to blow out the other team to do so. I trust our coaches to help our young guys continue to acclimate to playing at the AHL level, and to help our team repair the flaws in its game without developing any new Achilles heels.

Go Phantoms!

Phantoms at Bridgeport 11-23-08: Third Period

All right, we have 20 minutes to get that darn goal back. Starting... NOW.

Oh, how is ROSS going off for tripping on that play? I thought it was the Sound Tigers Dman who needed to go off... Both players fell and nobody was sure, at first, which team was about to go shorthanded. Well, whatever... If you're in the AHL, you have to play through a lot of calls that seem to make no sense. Munroe makes a GREAT save, and Matsumoto steals the puck for a shorthanded oportunity.

And if we like playing shorthanded, we'll have the opportunity to continue doing so, as we're going on a two-man disadvantage for six seconds, then Curry will fly solo in the sin bin for the reamainder of his cross-checking penalty. Syvret blocks a shot nicely, sending the play down to the Bridgeport end for a bit. There's been a lot of end-to-end play on this second PK, but eventually it came back to bite us and Sillinger assisted on yet another goal. Bridgeport now leads 4-2.

Morency's in a fight again, this time with Clackson. This is a more evenly-matched bout, size-wise, though Clackson is a bit bigger. The run-up to the fight lasted longer than the actual fight. Morency grabbed hold of the jersey and hauled Clackson off-balance and down; not much else happened in the fight, but both guys will sit for five minutes anyway. There's now a bunch of yapping going on across the scorers' table, but I'd be very surprised if this pair goes again at the end of the penalty time. Morency has already fought twice in this game; a third bout would mean an automatic game misconduct, and I don't think Morency is going to go there for no reason.

I'm surprised to see both teams skating as much as they are in this game. This the Phantoms' third game in three days, and I believe the Sound Tigers also had a three-game weekend; one would think they'd be too tired to repeatedly sprint from one end to the other. Then again, maybe that's why nobody's able to get set up or dominate the game -- maybe fatigue is a factor there. The teams have been pretty evenly matched all game long, regardless of what the numbers on the scoreboard are saying.

Clackson and Morency are skating back to their benches now at a stoppage of play, and Clackson is still giving Morency an earful. If they don't rumble again today, which I doubt will happen, we have plenty of other opportunities during the season for them to write the next chapter of the story.

The Sound Tigers called a timeout with about 3 minutes remaining, prior to a faceoff in the Bridgeport end. Paddock didn't say much to HIS troops, while the Sound Tigers strategized. The announcer wondered aloud if Paddock has a set play that he's going to run with the team. Now it's slightly more than two minutes remaining, and the Phantoms pulled the goaltender. OH, what an unfortunate time to go offside. Gah! Well, life goes on and we are going to take this opportunity to use OUR timeout.

Ross, Giroux, Maroon, Syvret, and DeSantis are on the ice for the faceoff, with Munroe between the hash marks. Munroe did leave the ice ASAP, but even though we had the extra skater on the ice, play came down to our end. Ross deflected a Bridgeport shot on goal and prevented us from falling behind by three goals. We managed to get a good flurry going in the final half-minute of the game, but time was our enemy and the final score of the game was 4-2 in favor of Bridgeport.

This was our fourth game in five days, and I think that having a few days off to recuperate will do us good. I liked that we looked evenly matched for most of this game, but I didn't like that we spent very, very little time as the team controlling the flow. Time for the team to review videos and recuperate physically from the past half-week's worth of games.

Phantoms at Bridgeport 11-23-08: Second Period

We've had to get some sharp goaltending early on. Muny makes a nice stop on a cockeyed shot that came off the heel of a Bridgeport stick. So far, neither team has managed to get a sustained offense going. That could change, however, as the Phantoms are about to go shorthanded for the first time in the game. Guenin will sit. The Sound Tigers are also a team with a solid PP, so we'll have to have our wits about us. So far, we've done well with clearing the puck. It took until about 13 seconds left in the PK before the Sound Tigers generated a huge chance, and not surprisingly it was off Sillinger's stick.

Now that the teams are back at even strength, we are back to seeing a lot of end-to-end action, with very little time spent at either end. Hallelujah, we finally tied the game, and it came off a rush. Danis went out of the crease to play the puck, but the first player to the disk was Laliberte. Danis raced back into the crease, but never quite got set and a Phantom managed to put it in. The Brigeport play-by-play guy thinks it was Ross, but the goal was credited to Szwez

Unfortunately, the arena announcer wasn't finished calling the Phantoms goal when the freaking Sound Tigers got their one-goal lead back. :headdesk: I can't describe what happened because my flipping video is goofed up again. The audio's fine, but the video is coming up like a slide show full of still pictures. The long and short of it is that the score is now Bridgeport 3, Phantoms 2. Time for us to get that goal back. (Again.)

We have a fight in progress. Chase Trull, one of our new guys, is going with Morency. I didn't realize just how big Trull actually is, at least compared to his waltz partner. Both guys got in some nice shots, but I think I'd give Morency the edge here because he got more of them and got the takedown as well.

Now we might be able to do something in the Bridgeport zone.. Danis has frozen the puck and we're getting an offensive-zone draw. We do need to win this faceoff, but maybe this will let us do something that STILL hasn't happened much in this frame: get in position and get a shooting-gallery going. No dice. When we came back from the radio ad (and the ad on the arena screen), play was in the *Phantoms* end with Munroe freezing the puck. Now it's the Sound Tigers' turn to face off in OUR end, and they lose it.

Unlike Friday's game vs. Hershey, during all this river-hockey that's going on, we don't look like we're running around disorganized. Unfortunately, we also don't look like we're getting Bridgeport running around disorganized either. I'd like to see us getting them off their game, but that's not happening so far.

The second period is over. We're still down by one, but the score is now Bridgeport 3, Phantoms 2.

Phantoms at Bridgeport 11-23-08: First Period

The Phantoms have not gotten off to a good start. In the first few minutes of the first period, we're already down 2-0. I was having some difficulties getting the video going at the time of the first goal, so I didn't see it, but the second one went in on a screened shot. Scott Munroe is our starter, and I hope he's able to shake the early portion of the game off and keep going. I trust the rest of the team to get him those goals back, if we pay ike we should. Goodness knows there are plenty of minutes remaining for us to strike back.

Ross, Maroon, and Giroux are out there, even as I type, trying to give us some scoring opportunities of our own. At the time, the Sound Tigers lead in shot on goal, 6-1. They didn't bury one, but on the next shift Jeff Szwez did the honors, cutting our deficit to 2-1 with an unassisted goal.

Now we're on the PP, which prompted the announcer to mention that the Phantoms are third in the league at the moment in PP scoring. Nice. Here's hoping we can generate some of that special-teams magic and erase the deficit entirely. Nope, no dice. Still 2-1.

On the other hand, it didn't take long for the Phantoms to return to the man advantage. EVERYbody's running all over the place in the Bridgeport zone on this PP, but the Phantoms are controlling the puck. Now we're in a scrum in front of Danis, but Danis just made a fantastic stop. There goes the second PP, but we're still in the Sound Tigers' end and we're keeping the pressure on. I think we're going to have to screen Danis a bit more, or bank one in on goal somehow. Danis is looking pretty good.

Fortunately, so is Munroe. We haven't spent a lot of time stuck in our own end, but when we are, Munroe's right there.

I'm surprised to see former Flyer Mike Sillinger on the Bridgeport roster. He and his line are giving us some agita, which isn't surprising to me since he's got a lot more experience than anyone else I know of from either team. He not only assisted on both Sound Tigers tallies but he just clanged one off the crossbar, even as I type.

The first period is over, and the score remains 2-1 in favor of Bridgeport.

Phantoms at Binghamton: Game Recap

Here's the link to the game recap from last night's contest in Binghamton.

The pregame notes for today's contest in Bridgeport aren't available online yet. But the good news is, for the first time in a couple weeks, I'll be at home and able to watch a road game online. :) here's hoping it's a good one. I'd like us to do something radical today and go MORE than one game above .500. Time to kick some divisional-rival butt, preferably in regulation time.

Go Phantoms!

Phantoms at Binghamton: postgame

Remember the first weekend of the Phantoms' season, when both the Phantoms and Flyers LOST by the score of 4-3? Well, tonight, karma balanced itself out in our favor, and both teams WON in OT by the score of 4-3. The box score is posted on the Phantoms website.

I see one other form of karma also balanced itself out, and this time it wasn't in our favor. Last Saturday, the Phantoms scored on a penalty shot. Tonight, it was the Senators who scored against us on a penalty shot. Well, let's look at the bright side here. Last weekend, the Phantoms got a penalty shot goal but lost the game. This time, we gave up a penalty shot goal but we won. If I have to choose between the goal and the win, I think I'll take the win ten out of ten times. ;)

Tomorrow, the Phantoms will play in Bridgeport. We can convert this win into the start of a win streak if we earn a victory tomorrow. That sounds like a good plan, so let's do it. :)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Phantoms at Binghamton: Pregame Notes

Here are the pregame notes from the Phantoms site.

Binghamton has been shut out three times in their last three games. I expect them to come out like gangbusters to try and demolish that scoreless streak ASAP. We will have to be on our guard from the get-go.

On the other side of the coin, if we can get solid defense and goaltending early, and maybe score early as well, maybe we'll have a chance at knocking the Senators' morale off-kilter.

The one thing we can't do is be lured into the kind of trap we were last night, where Hershey started playing end-to-end river hockey and dictating the pace of the game. When that happens, we get into hot water. Conversely, when we're the ones controlling the game, we've been dominant, so we have to focus on making sure it's our team that's running the show.

Go Phantoms!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Phantoms vs. Bears: postgame recap and box score

Dear Washington Capitals: Would you PLEASE call up some guys from the Bears who clearly deserve to be spending some time plying their trade in the NHL? THANK you.

Ahem. Excuse me. I was doing the print equivalent of thinking out loud for a moment there.

Anyway, here's the game recap from the Phantoms site. They must have added that assist for Munroe later in the game, because they didn't announce it when the Phantoms' second goal was scored.

Here's the box score.

Here's hoping the Phantoms take out their frustrations over the Bears on our next opponents. Let's start with the Senators tomorrow and the Falcons on Sunday.

Phantoms vs. Bears 11-21-08: Third Period

As I suspected, J-S Aubin was at the head of the line when the team came back out onto the ice. We still have 1:24 of penalty tine left to kill. We have Raduns, Beaulieu, Guenin, and Syvret on the ice. Nice to see Beau back on special teams in what amounts to only his second Real Game of the season. Heck, it's nice to see him back, period; he plays a hard-nosed game, he's a willing fighter when the need arises, and we can use his physical presence out there.

Aaaand SURPRISE. The scoreboard suddenly turned itself off. Fortunately, they were able to use the time spent resetting the clock to give us a Flyers update. The Flyers are in Buffalo, and they lead the game 1-0 in the second period. Man, I don't know what it is that this freaking board seems to wig out when the Bears are here. Yes, we see them more often than any other team so the odds favor heir being the team thst witnesses our Clock Gremlins. But holy cow, they are going to think that the clock has a fainting spell in every freaking game. That's not the case... it only seems to flake out when the Bears are here (and when we have precipitation, but SSSHHH. Don't let on).

We had a GIANT scrum in front of Hershey's net, but the darn puck stayed out. Phooey. It certainly wasn't for lack of trying on our part.

Away goes the clock yet again. Keith Jones announced that there's 10:28 remaining in the period at the time of a faceoff. While the teams are battling for position in front of Aubin, I can see the clock gradually reviving itself, stat by stat, as the timekeepers bust their collective butts to reset everything.

Aubin looks determined out there. It's not just that he's making stops, but he's just got a demeanor right now that I like to see. It's like the saves have a "So THERE!" appended to them. I hope he keeps that up, as it'll be the perfect antidote to the couple of recent rough outings he had.

Matsumoto clanged a puck off the iron, LOUDLY. The clock is out of whack again for a third time. Keith Jones is announcing the time when there are faceoffs, at the thirty-scond marks, and when there's an even minute amount remaining.

It's the final minute, and though we ended the game with the ref's arm up for a delayed penalty, there wasn't enough time for us to actually do anything with it.

SOG Phantoms 32, Bears 35.

Stars of the game: #3 DeSantis, #2 Mink(Hershey) , #1 Wilson(Hershey).

Phantoms vs. Bears 11-21-08: Second Period

OK, that's frustrating. We're now down another goal, less than two minutes into the period. We're spending too much time in front of our own net again, or at least not enough time set up at Hershey's end. (This goal was assisted by Hershey's goalie; it was on their breakout rather than as the resut of a sustained play at our end.) Right away, we had a fight break out between Josh Beaulieu and his former teammate, Darren Reid. That's Beau's first fight of the season.

This is a shame -- Scotty seems to be fighting the puck tonight. He made one save that came off his pad while he was in the butterfly, and ricocheted off the back boards right back in front of our net. We were fortunate to avoid getting scored on that time, but not so lucky a few minutes later. 4-1 Hershey. I hasten to add that Scott's not the only embattled Phantom on the ice... we're ALL getting off our game in a major way. So much so, Clackson just took a retaliation penalty for roughing and we are now shorthanded. Giroux and Ross made the best of it, though, generating a rush and giving us a real opportunity to score. Boy, do they work well together. At least one thing's going right tonight, anyway -- two guys that haven't spent a lot of time as teammates this season, due to Ross's mutiple callups, are showing some nice chemistry

Scott is leaving some dangerous rebounds out there. This is uncharacteristic, and with any luck he'll make the adjustment to avoid letting that happen before the game is out.

Now it's the Phantoms' turn to go on the man advantage. We can't seen to get set up; somehow, a Bear keeps ending up with the darn puck and they either clear it or skate it past the blue line. Ah, THAT'S more like it -- we did get our rears in gear on that shift and Varlamov had to be sharp.

Back at even strength... With 10:21 left in the period, the SOG are Phantoms 19, Hershey 21.

Bellamy is welcomed back into our lineup with a penalty. We're shorthanded with nine and a half minutes left in the period.

We're about to go on a 4-on-3 for 47 seconds, followed by a 5-on-3 for the rest of the next two minutes; TWO Bears took penalties simultaneously.

YESSSS! Wth 1:11 left in the 5-on-3, we made it a 5-on-4 and scored another PP goal. NICE. Claude Giroux did the honors, assisted by Syvret. NICE. OK, we have another minute with the man advantage, so it's time to pour it on. Donati, Laliberte, Matsumoto, Curry, and Ratchuk are out.

OH OH OH Szwez came INCHES from putting another goal in. Darn, it, I seriously thought that puck was as good as in. GAAH. On the other hand, we are about to get yet another PP, so maybe we can bury this one instead. This was the result of our being able to stay n the Hershey end and apply pressure even after they had all their men back. Now it's Maroon's turn to get a very-near-miss. We wound up with Ross in the Hershey net, but not the puck. Shoot.

We still have 42 seconds of PP time, so there's still a chance. Matsumoto ensured an offensive-zone draw with a big blast that Varlamov had to hang onto for a whistle. LaLiberte was next on the nearly-scored list, having taken a screened shot that Varlamov only saw at the last instant. If his glove hadn't already been up, he'd never have deflected it in time.

OK, back at even strength. Hershey got themselves camped out in front of Munroe again, long enough to draw a delayed penalty. During the time that they had the extra skater on the ice, Hershey scored again. Now it's 5-2 with less than two minutes left in the period.

With 36.4 left in the period, we go on the PK again, with Curry in the box.

At the end of the period, Aubin carried his mask going up the tunnel. I suspect we will see him lead the team onto the ice to start the third period, but we shall see. SOG: Phantoms 25, Bears 24.

Phantoms vs. Bears 11-21-08: First Period

Scratches: Klotz, Trull, Kane, and Hersley
Starting Lineup: Munroe, Bartulis, Curry, Laliberte, Matsumoto, and Donati.

I'm very pleased to see Bellamy return to the ice. We've missed the feisty game he brings to the table, and it'll help make up for the loss of Kalinski (who's up with the Flyers).

Varlamov, that pain in the caboose to play against, is in goal for Hershey tonight. After his performance on Friday and Saturday, that's unsurprising. Oh, but we just came close to cashng in a NICE odd-man rush a minute and a half into the game, and drew a hooking call as a result. We're headed to the PP.

Hershey proceeded to get a shorthanded break, but Munroe stayed with him throughout and made the stop. On our return trip to Hershey's end, we got a two-man advantage for 1:21. We have GOT TO do something with this. GOT to. We have Giroux, Maroon, DeSantis, Syvret, and Ross out. The next shift has Matsumoto, Laliberte, Donati stil with Syvret, and DeSantis.

OK, we have thirty or so seconds of 5 on 4 now...aaaaand no dice. The game remains scoreless. SOG Phantoms 5, Bears 2.

Giroux, Maroon, and Ross are a line, and they generated a near-miss that had the crowd groaning. Beaulieu, Bellamy, and Raduns are out, with Curry and D'Amour.

We have seven D dressed again tonight: D'Amour, Bartulis, Ratchuk, Guenin, DeSantis, Syvret, and Curry. I guess with the number of njuries and callups we have, this was the best combination of healthy guys we could field, even if it IS a non-standard grouping of 11 forwards/7 D.

I like the amount of jump the Phantoms came out with. Other than the PP time, we have spent a good amount of the first eight minutes in the Bears end... What a change from the weekend. I think everyone wants to put that mess behind them ASAP.

MUNY with the great save! A Bears player had his arms raised to celebrate a goal... and then had to regroup himself quickly because the puck was still in play. Heh... GO SCOTTY! :)

With 10:25 left, the SOG are even at 8 apiece.

There has been a lot of end-to-end play in the past few minutes. That's not favoring us much, as we gave up two quick goals on the Bears' next two shots. When we start playing river hockey, Hershey seems to be able to get someone open for an unchallenged shot at a wide-open net. The first goal, in particular, was generated when a Bear, Mink, collected a rebound before any of our guys could get to it.

Geeze, I hate being in the hole to this freaking team. There's still plenty of game left to make up the deficit, but that's not the point.

Now it's our turn to serve a penalty, as Matsumoto goes off for slashing. With 6:19 left, SOG: Phantoms 9, Bears 10. Our PK unit is Giroux, Ross, Syvret, and Guenin. Guenin passed to Ross at the blue line, who carried the puck up ice for a scoring chance and killed some penalty time. Raduns and Beaulieu were our next PK forwards, followed by Giroux and Ross again.With six seconds left on the PK, Matsu's linemates Laliberte and Donati are out. Even though we are at full strength, we still are hemmed into our own end... This is aggravating to see. If there's one thing we don't want, it's a repeat of last weekend.

Oh, DeSantis DRILLED a Bear behind our net. Nice hit, Jason! :)

The Bears responded: their Amadio drilled our Clackson. What a running feud there seems to be between Clackson and the Bears (and Amadio, with whom Clackson has already fought at least once this season).

Hershey also took a slashing penalty on that shift, so we are on the PP again with two minutes and change left in the period. MAROOOOOON proceeds to reduce the deficit to one goal. Assist: DeSantis. NICE play!

Ya know, it still just looks WRONG to see Reid in another team's uniform. I really liked him when he was here. At least he's with Hershey, so we get to see him play in person a few times this year.

At the end of the first period, the SOG are tied at 13 apiece. Hershey leads, 2-1.

Phantoms vs. Bears 11-21-08: Pregame Notes

Here are the pregame notes for the upcoming Phantoms/Bears game from the Phantoms site.

This is the fifth of six meetings between the two teams this month. I don't know why our schedule is so front-loaded with Hershey games, but I think it's silly and the league should have spread the contests out more evenly through the season.

In any event, this will be our opportunity to rectify the problems that cropped up over the course of last weekend's home-and-home.

Go Phantoms!

Articles: Phantoms vs. Bears; Kalinski's callup

This morning, the Phantoms site features an article on the Phantoms' season series with the Bears, whom we face yet again tonight.

There's also an article on our recent roster moves, including the callup of Jonathon Kalinski to the Flyers, as well as the Phantoms' signing of Tyler Donati and Dominic D'Amour to PTO contracts.

The Phantoms have gone 2-3-0-0 vs. the Bears this season, but in most of those games, we've had a battle on our hands in the third period. In the one case, even going into the final frame with a three-goal lead wasn't enough to ensure a win. So we will have to make sure and put forth a full 60-minute effort if we intend to avoid getting saddled with another L. We can certainly beat the Bears -- we've already done so this season. But it'll be a win we will have to work hard for.

Go Phantoms!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Flyers recall Kalinski

The Flyers have recalled Jonathon Kalinski from the Phantoms. Click HERE to see the article on Yahoo.

Flyers recall LW Kalinski

PHILADELPHIA (TICKER) —The Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday recalled left wing Jonathon Kalinski from the Philadelphia Phantoms of the American Hockey League.

The 6-1, 185-pound Kalinski has two goals and three assists in 16 games for the Phantoms this season.

Over the last two seasons, the 21-year-old has tallied eight points.

Phantoms/Albany Game Recap, Donati article

I love the headlines we get on the Phantoms site for the game recaps. This one, in honor of our annual School Day game, was, "Munroe takes Rats to School". LOL!

In other news, click HERE for the article on the Elmira Jackals site announcing the callup of Tyler Donati to the Phantoms. He's the Jackals' top scorer and is tied for second in the ECHL in points.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Phantoms vs. Albany: postgame musings

WOW, what a great game the Phantoms played! It was physical, we were solid both at even strength and special teams, and we came out with the W. Nice. :)

River Rats fans must dread the name "Munroe", given the number of shutout minutes he's pitched against them since the spring. Have a look at the pregame notes and see his stats vs. Albany since the 5-OT marathon game in last year's postseason. :)

Going back to last season’s playoffs, Munroe has allowed just one goal in his last 296:33 of action against the River Rats. He didn’t allow a goal from the 17:14 mark of the second period in Game 5, which went into the fifth overtime, until 10:38 of overtime in Game 6 – a scoreless streak of 176:22. After that Game 6 OT goal, Munroe proceeded to shut out the Rats in Game 7. His scoreless streak at the Times Union Center is 165:44.

So let's see... he held the Rats scoreless for 176:22 during the playoffs, and in three full games since then (Game 7 and also this year's regular season) he hasn't let in another Albany goal. We're talking MICROSCOPIC GAA numbers here, folks! :) Under any other circumstances, I'd have thought that we'd do well to let Aubin get his confidence back by playing a struggling opponent, but not when the alternative is Munroe vs. the River Rats. Go, Muny! Great job!

On the Clackson open-ice hit... that was a legal check. The Albany player in question's helmet did go flying off into space, but some of these guys wear the darn things way too loose anyway. Sage advice for the day: don't carry the puck into the Phantoms zone with your head down, PERIOD. Clackson's not the only guy we have who will happily check you halfway into next week under those circumstances. Incidentally, even though I do believe that the River Rat (#11 -- I need to look his name up) was honestly rocked by the hit, that didn't stop him from picking his head up, looking around to see if there was a call, and then putting his head back down before the trainer arrived. So he definitely had at least some of his wits about him. Which is good, because once I saw the airborne red helmet sailing in the opposite direction of the airborne red-jerseyed player, I was concerned that the guy was going to hit his bare head on the ice when he landed. Big hits = good. Players from either team in the ER = bad. So in this case, I have no problem with him being alert enough to peer around and see what was going on.

I was glad to see a nice, solid win for the Good Guys, to help exorcise the nightmarish memory of Saturday's game. On to Friday and another home game. If we play then like we did today, we're going to be darn tough to beat.

Here's the box score from today's game. When the recap is up, I'll post that link as well.

Phantoms vs. Albany School Day Game, 11/19/08: Third Period

Clackson and Paiement are still in the box, serving the remainder of their double minors, at the start of the third period. The teams are playng 5 on 5. Not even a minute into the period, we score again. :) Claude Giroux puts in yet another tally, assisted by Ross and Maroon. At t least two of the above guys, and possibly all three, look like Star of the Game candidates. Scotty Munroe stands a chance of being selected if, errrr, the right sort of score is on the board at game's end. (During games, I refuse to say that word that begins with S and ends with ZERO.)

The fifth Phantoms goal signified the end of the contest for Mr. Peters. Daniel Manzato is taking over the thankless task of defending the Albany net.

D'Amour has just gone to the box for high-stickng so we are on the PK. We have Raduns, Kalinski, Syvret, and Guenin out. Giroux AGAIN takes the puck and heads into the River Rats' end with it. I seriously thought he was going to trigger a cascade of headgear on the play, but he lost the puck and Albany headed back down to our end with it. We've killed the penalty; the SOG stand at Phantoms 25, River Rats 18.

Clackson just rumbled with #32 of Albany. The River Rat threw a lot of punches, but so did Clackson and even though he gives up noticeable amount of size to his opponent (Gillies), Clackson managed to wrestle him to the ice at the end. Methinks that was Gillies' retribution for that monster hit Clackson had on the Rats' #11 earlier. Clackson is heading up the tunnel with our trainer, so he might have gotten a tad banged up. Actually, since both guys got five minutes and a ten-minute misconduct, and there's less than 15 minutes remaining in the third period, Clackson can afford to head up the tunnel as it's unlikely he'll be back in this contest. Gillies also picked up two minutes for roughing, so the Phantoms have gotten a powerplay out of the tilt.

Ratchuk has had a couple of nice keep-ins during this man advantage. We didn't quite manage to seal the deal with a goal, however.

With 12:15 remaining in the third period, the SOG are Phantoms 29, River Rats 18. LOL, make that 19, because as soon as wrote it, Abany put a puck on our net.

Here we go on the PP once again... Or at least, we WERE going on the PP until the ten-skater shoving match in front of the River Rats net. Now I see Ross gong into the sin bin along with a Rat. Now it's Dwyer (Albany) for hooking, and Ross two for unsportsmanlike conduct. Phooey.

With ten minutes remaining in the period, we're at 4 on 4 and I see the ref's arm up yet again. One of our guys just fell over the Rats goalie, resulting in at least two separate scrums. Some Rat just wrestled Matsumoto to the ice, and I can't even see who the other two guys are because the other players are in the way. When the dust cleared, Kalinski wound up in the box for goalie interference and we're going to be down 4-on-3 for the next 1:18.

Curry, Bartulis, and Giroux (no surprise) are our guys on the ice to start the PK. Munroe makes a save, Giroux picks up the rebound and skates it past our blueline before clearing it down the ice. Now it's Syvret, Guenin, and Raduns (another rookie forward). We are now at 5 on 4, and Raduns took the puck all the way down to the other end and got a shot on goal. So we're still making noise in this game even while shorthanded. Matsumoto, Ross, Syvret, and Guenin are out now.

Yet another fight has broken out. This time it was the Rat who got the takedown -- on Matsumoto again. WTH is this? Albany seems to have a penchant for going after our smaller players now that Clackson is out. That's just a bunch of nonsense. I'm sure they're frustrated, given the score and some of their recent game results, but STILL, going after the little guys is just cheap. The River Rat is Jenson, who along with Matsumoto got give minutes for fighting. Somehow, in the midst of that, Kalinski also picked up two for roughing. That's pretty bogus, to only give our guy the minor when everyone was shovng everyone else. Oh, well. We have Beaulieu, Raduns, Bartulis, and Curry on the PK. Next up: Ross, Giroux, Syvret, and Guenin. (Nice clear, Nate!!) And yet again, Giroux takes the puck all the way up ice. He doesn't cause a rainstorm of headgear, however.

D'Amour goes for cross-checking and we just barely finished the previous freaking PK. I would like to see us stay at even strength for a while, so the goalie, errr, has an opportunity to be considered as a Star of the Game.

Raduns takes the puck ALL the way own on a breakaway, and I thought we were about to see another SH goal. But Manzato made a nice stop and kept it out.

Now we will be at 4 on 4 for 1:11, as a River Rat was called for elbowing. Giroux, Beaulieu, Syvret, and Ratchuk are out. I like seeing Beau on the PK -- it's stil more evidence that he's back in the lineup for real, and not just so we can dress a minimum number of players like I think was the case last weekend with Hershey. On the PP now, it's Donati, Maroon, Bartulis, DeSantis, and...???. I couldn't see who our other guy was before we had a line change. Raduns, Laliberte, Maroon (still), DeSantis, and Bartulis. AAAH, HOLY COW what a scramble in front of the Phantoms net. I don't know how the puck stayed out, except that we had some good stuff from Muny; plus, we had some good fortune that the puck eventually got out behind everyone who was battling for it. Raduns was the first on the scene to take it out of harm's way.

With a minute remaining, the shot totals have nearly evened out: the Phantoms have 33, and the River Rats have 31. We are clogging the ice for all we're worth -- we don't want Albany to have an opportunity to spoil Scotty's you-know-what.

And we get it done! Final score, 5-0, so Scotty does, in fact, get his shutout. :) Stars of the game: #3 Jeff Szwez, #2 Claude Giroux, and #1 Scott Munroe with the 31 saves.

Phantoms vs. Albany School Day Game, 11/19/08: Second Period

I was just about to gripe that we were spending the first couple of minutes of the period hemmed into our zone. Then Matsumoto's line got us out of trouble and headed down to the Albany end... And Matsumoto's shot on goal somehow found the net. NICE. I'm not sure, until I watch the replay on the archives, if the goalie was cheating or just plain missed the puck. I think he had his angle wrong. In any event, Matsumoto is now the proud owner of an unassisted goal, and the Phantoms have a 2-0 lead.

We generated some nice chances during a PP a short time later, which included a fantastic shift by DeSantis, but Albany managed to prevent us from inflicting additional damage on the scoreboard. We were dominant enough that if Albany starts a parade to the box, they're sure to give up a goal eventually if we keep the pressure on like we just did.

A ten-skater scrum in front of the Phantoms net wound up with Clackson and a River Rat (La Couture) separating from the dogpile in a shoving match. However, due to the linesman's intervention, it never escalated into a full-fledged fight. Both guys are now sent off for roughing, and we are at 4 on 4 for two minutes.

I sit corrected. The Phantoms are about to get a 4-on-3 PP for 1:05. (Less, if we score or get called for something ourselves.) We have Ross, Maroon, Giroux, and Syvret, out (one defenseman and three forwards). Man, we came SO CLOSE on that shift. We have a very potent PP, and Abany is a struggling team, so we have to cash these chances in when we can. Syvret has twice gotten the puck on net HARD, from the high slot, but we haven't managed to bury the ensuing rebounds.

I just realized that Ross is wearing a third A, in lieu of having our captain Boyd Kane in the lineup.

We're back at full strength now. Shoot. I was really hoping we would pad our lead with the man advantage. On the other hand, here goes another River Rat into the box for hooking, so I might just get my wish if all goes well. We have DeSantis, Syvret, Ross, Maroon, and Giroux out. MAROOOOON! Oh, what a gorgeous goal from the rookie! Assists are from DeSantis an Syvret, and now the Phantoms lead 3-0.

With 9:08 remaining in the period, the Phantoms have 19 SOG and the River Rats have 13. And we are about to embark on a PK of our own, as Bartulis goes off for hooking. Kalinski, Raduns, Guenin, and Syret are out. LMHO, the little kid behind me pointed out that "Our #7 (Guenin) hit a River Rat on the butt with the stick". That's unsurprising. :D

Halfway trough the PK, Munroe has only faced one puck. With 30 seconds left in the PK, GIROOOOOUX steals the puck and buries a SH goal. Freaking beautiful! FREAKING beautiful! 4-0 Phantoms and our special teams are back to being dangerous no matter if we're playing with the man advantage or shorthanded.

Again, I realize that the River Rats are a struggling team. But that's all the more reason for us to have our act together and keep applying pressure, and that's exactly what we've been doing. I'm pleased that we don't look shell-shocked after the implosion on Saturday.

Speaking of implosions, it appears that Albany is in a frustrated mode. They just took a roughing penalty and we're on the PP again. We have Laliberte, Donati, Matsumoto, Ratchuk, and Curry out. That would be an equivalent of a fourth forward line, so it's apparent that Paddock is showing enough sportsmanship to let some guys who don't normally see PP time get out there. Plus, it gives our regular first PP unit a break; they've had a ton of ice time in this portion of the game.

OMG Clackson just freaking BURIED a River Rat at the blue line. It was an open-ice hit and the Rat's helmet went sailing through the air. Immediately, another Rat (#27) went after Clackson. Both of them earned double minors from the encounter. The stunned River Rat, number 11, eventually did get up after being attended to by the trainer. Looks like everyone is in one piece. (One somewhat dented piece, perhaps, but one piece nonetheless.) The combatants have gone up the tunnel, as there's only 3:18 remaining in the period.

Phooey. We couldn't get the bleepin' puck the heck out of our end, and now we're going on the PK as a result. Laliberte heads to the sin bin with 2:09 left. Giroux, Ross, Curry, and Bartulis are our first PK unit. Darn if they didn't generate an offensive chance again. HOLY COW, I thought Giroux was gonna check the GOALIE (Peters) at the goal line, when he came out of the net to play the puck. Fortunately, either Claude thought better of it, or wasn't intending to hit the netminder, but he thumped into the boards just inches away from Peters.

The PK is over, as is the Second period The Phantoms lead on the shot clock, 23 to 16, and on the scoreboard 4-0.

Phantoms vs. Albany School Day Game, 11/19/08: First Period

Not only is Jared Ross back from the Flyers, he's in the starting lineup. Along with our defensive callup D'Amour, for whom I saw a transaction yesterday, we have another new name in the lineup: Donati. He's sitting with the forwards and wearing number 6. (D'Amour is number 4.) I saw no indication online yesterday that we were calling up another player, so I'll have to do a little looking around online when I get home.

We took a penalty early, but through the first minute and a half of our PK, the Rats have not gotten a puck on net.

Just as we returned to even strength, Munroe had to be sharp. Nice work, Muny. :)

D'Amour is paired with Ratchuk. Kalinski just made up for his trip to the sin bin by getting the primary assist on a NICE Phantoms goal by Szwez. :) Ratchuk got the secondary helper. We took the shot, and Szwez was off to the side in perfect position to lob the rebound into a wide-open net. Grand teamwork so far -- we look ten zillion times better than we did on Saturday in the final frame of the Hershey game. Yes, I realize that the River Rats aren't anywhere near as stacked of a team as the Bears are, but still, we aren't showing any after-effects from that brutal drubbing.

I saw on a Flyers message board that Powe is healthy enough to return to play, but I'll have to look around to see official confirmation of that. (Either that, or I can just wait till the next Fyers game and see who's on the roster. ;) )

Ross is on a line with Szwez and Clackson, with D'Amour and Ratchuk on D. I missed the announcement of the scratches, so I'll have to have a look at who's out there and figure out who's missing by process of elimination. Now it's Raduns with Beaulieu and Laliberte, with Bartulis and Curry. Incidentally, Beaulieu is actually taking real shifts in this game, as opposed to Friday when he dressed but didn't play, or Saturday when the only shift I saw him on the ice for was the one in which he took a hooking call. So it's nice to see Beau back.

Guenin and Syvret, our two assistant captains, remain as a D pair. Matsumoto is on a line with Kalinski and Donati. They just generated a really nice rush. Clackson is out with Giroux and Szwez... Now that I think about it, one player I don't see is Kane, who was on a line with Giroux over the weekend. He's neither on the bench nor on the ice. Hersley is also missing from the lineup, but I believe he's injured, as is Bellamy.

We need to get the heck away from in front of our net. Muny has been more than up to the challenge, but we keep having our D dueling with Rats for loose pucks in front of our crease. If we let that happen too often, it'll eventually cost us.

FINALLY, btw, we see Neil Little back where he belongs, as the Eye in the Sky for the first part of the game. He's been off scouting in Parts Unknown in recent weeks.

The forward line combinations are, to put it mildly, not written in stone. Every time I think I know what line is out, I notice someone different is on the ice. Ditto for the D, which I think we have seven of at the moment. Ratchuk is out with his regular partner, DeSantis. We also have D'Amour, Curry, Syvret, Guenin, and Bartulis dressed on D. That's a good way to break in the newest member of the blueline corps. It also means we don't have four full lines of forwards dressed, so someone's going to be double-shifting here and there.

Syvret and Guenin are out as defensemen, but this time it was SYVRET who blocked a shot... Normally, that's Guenin's purview. Speaking of Nasty Nate, he's headed to the box for cross-checking.

The PK is over, and apparently River Rats are allowed to try and run Matsumoto over when the puck is nowhere near him. GRRR...

And AGAIN, in the final minute of the period, a Rat (Petruzalek) tried to throw a check on Guenin, but missed and hit the boards hard. Only problem is, the puck was nowhere near Guenin at the time. Mumble, grumble...

The first period is over, and the Phantoms take a 1-0 lead into the locker room. SOG: Phantoms 12, River Rats, 9.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dayton Bombers (ECHL) loan defenseman Dominic D'Amour to Phantoms

From the ECHL's transactions:

Bombers Loan D'Amour To Philadelphia November 17, 2008

DAYTON, Ohio - The Dayton Bombers announced that they have loaned defenseman Dominic D'Amour to the Philadelphia Phantoms of the American Hockey League.

Selected in the third round (88th overall) by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft and in his fifth professional season, the 24 year old has seven points (3g-4a) and 25 penalty minutes in 12 games for the Bombers.

Team Press Release

Phantoms Weekly Release #6

The latest Phantoms Weekly Release is now available: click here for it.

It mentions the arrival of Chase Trull, but says nothing about the release of Freddy Cabana. I think that we won't be seeing news of Cabana reported on the Phantoms site, as he was recalled to the *Flyers* and released by *them*. That gets the Phantoms off the hook for having to report this unfortunate bit of news. We might not even see it reported on the AHL transactions site, as he was recalled to the Flyers, not the Phantoms, prior to being released. The next transaction we see related to Freddy might be the one that tells us when he's signed with a new team.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Freddy Cabana has been released

I'm sorry to say that I've finally seen an outright statement of Freddy Cabana's status, and he's no longer with the organization. Here is the report from Bill Meltzer:

Cabana released

The Flyers have pared down their NHL contracts to 48. The team released minor leaguer Freddy Cabana.

Darn it. That was absolutely not what I was hoping to see, but at least it's a concrete answer. I wish Freddy the best. He's a good young guy.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Phantoms at Hershey 11-15-08: Recap, Box Score

Since I'm up at this ridiculous hour, let me do something productive like track down the URLs for the game recap and box score.

Here's the game recap from the Phantoms site.

Here's the box score from the AHL site.

Ouch. We gave up 23 SOG in the third period. Of course, one can't mention that without also mentioning that we had FIVE penalties in the third period alone. I know that leagues can't stand to see the phrase "makeup call", but boy did the third period go a long way toward evening out the PP opportunities. In the first two periods combined, the Phantoms had 9 powerplays compared to the Bears' 3. Yet, by the end of the game, the Phantoms had 11 PPs compared to Hershey's 8. Now, what's wrong with THAT picture? Were we saints for 40 minutes and devils in the last 20? Was the converse true for Hershey? No.

But I'm not saying the officiating was the reason we lost. There are things that the team can work on, individually and collectively, to avoid having everything fall apart in one period. And the officiating was certainly lopsided in our favor for two periods, before reversing course in the third and benefiting the Bears. If anything, BOTH teams would be justified in objecting to what was being deemed a penalty at varying times in the game. But we probably won't have to say anything... league president Dave Andrews was in the house for this game, as he presented an award to a Bears player prior to the contest. So he got to see, with his own eyes, what AHL fans see on an all-too-frequent basis. I don't know what, if anything, will result from that, but at least he'll know that we fans are not hallucinating when we grouse about being called for five minors in a row.

But with or without the zebras, we have some things we need to work on. Our PP, which has been good overall this year, had some real brain-cramp moments during this game. We had a long 5-on-3 and spent the time passing the puck, never once directing it on net. Well, we did actually try one shot, but a Bear blocked it. But that was the ONLY shot attempt... with a two-man advantage, we've got to create more than that. And at the other end of the ice, the same concerns I raised about the goalie committing prematurely are starting to be valid again. When that problem was resolved, we were winning. On Saturday, that issue resurfaced, to our detriment at times. Word is that Neil Little has been doing some out-of-town scouting, which is great for him; but now I think we need him back here ASAP to work with our netminders and make sure they resolve any technical difficulties. Is it too much to ask of our front office that our goalie coach should actually be allowed to be here and, you know, coach our goalies? If the front office is sending the Phantoms goalie coach out in the field, then they should bring in the Flyers goalie coach to work with our guys instead... after all, he USED to be the goalie coach for both teams until our team wised up and hired Little specifically to work with the Phantoms netminders.

In any event, we've got until Wednesday morning to straighten out the problems in our collective game. Our next contest is the annual School Day game, and that's on Wednesday at 11 AM.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Phantoms at Hershey 11-15-08: Third Period

Peltier has started off the third period calling the PHANTOMS repeatedly for penalties. We just finished killing off a penalty, and now we're back on the PK once again. Our play so far has been solid, but we can't keep this up for the entire period so we're going to have to stay out of the sin bin.

Oh, GOOD GRIEF. No sooner do I mention this than with 14:14 remaining, we have a guy already in the box for a minute and we get another penalty. We're about to have a 5-on-3 PK for sixty seconds. The Bears called a timeout during the stoppage of play.
Aubin is in position and solid but he's making me nervous that he keeps gong into a butterfly before anyone's in position to shoot.

See, and this is why seeing the goalie go down prematurely makes me nervous. He's just plain down in a butterfly, not moving and not able to see the puck; one of our D (can't see who because we're at the far end of the ice) is standing and apparently also screening Aubin because he never moved when the shot finally came. A Bear pinged one in off the far post. At least it was during a 5-on-4 so we're at even strength again. These are the technical issues that we had going on during that early-season losng streak. When he stopped doing some of these things, he started winning. The score is 3-3.

Or at least it WAS 3-3 for a couple of minutes. The Bears took the lead with 11:02 to go, on a long east-west pass to a wde-open attacker. Now it's 4-3 bad guys, and the Bears also lead on the shot clock 33-23. Blast it -- this is the kind of period the Bears played when they erased a three-goal deficit at the Spectrum a couple Sundays ago. Now we're shorthanded AGAIN.

And with 19 seconds remaining in the PP, a Bear apparently gets a hat trick because suddenly it's raining headgear. Must be Osala, because I know he's already got two on the night. Crud -- 5-3 Bears with 8:57 left. If there weren't a delay right now due to the officials clearing hats off the ice, I'd say that we should be calling a timeout right now. But we're not, and apparently Paddock isn't using the moment to rally the troops, eihter, because our five guys were at the center ice faceoff circle the entire time the ice was being cleared.

Now it's the Bears going shorthanded, and NOW it appears that we're having a conference at the bench. But we're taking advantage of a promotional timeout, rather than calling a timeout. Matsumoto, Laliberte, Maroon, Ratchuk, and Curry are out. Hershey's clearing the puck out pretty effectively, however. Now we have Giroux, Kalinski, and Kane on with DeSantis and Syvret. We are having a terrible time even getting set up, never mind creating chances. We actually still have 23 shots on goal, the same as we had five minutes ago... Meanwhile, the Bears got set up in OUR end while shorthanded, stayed there when they got their man back, and eventually scored to make it 6-3. Geesh, I'm growing to despise this "B-E-A-R-S Bears Bears Bears WOOO" chant that they do after every goal.

Oh, and I want to swat either our front office for trading Downie, or Tampa Bay for insisting on taking him. @#$#@$...

Sheesh, this PK is gong to give me a fargin' coronary, too. One of our D clearly intended to tuck a loose puck under Aubin's pad, but it looked for all the world like there was about to be a miscommunication on that point. Fortunately, we did NOT have an own-goal go in at that time.

However, on the next shift, there was a scrum at our left post involving all the skaters. Somehow that translated to a puck in the net, and it's now 7-3 Hershey.

I'm thinking that the odds do not favor a comeback with under three minutes remaining in the third period... I mean, I don't want to be a pessimist or anything, but a goal every thirty seconds from now until the final whistle would be really asking a lot.

Oh, whoopee, we go on the PP with 1:07 left in the period. Yeah, that's going to do a lot. </sarcasm> But we'll see. Is Matsy on the ice? Yes, along with Maroon and Laliberte. Let's see if he can get something going; he's got a pair of goals of his own tonight. The Bears are clogging the ice for all theiy're worth, though, so we're just plain not getting set up. Nope, no dice. Game over.

The Bears outshot us 41 to 25. Gotta get the bus, so I missed the stars of the game. I'll post that later.

Phantoms at Hershey 11-15-08: Second Period

Though we didn't score on that minute of PP, we did score on a subsequent powerplay. Syvret, a former Bear, did the honors and got us on the board. Shortly thereafter, Jonathan Matsumoto was awarded a penaty shot, which he scored on, to the great delight of the Phantoms Phaithful who made the trip to Chocolate Town.

I'm sorry to say that the lead didn't last long, however, as we gave up a PP goal of our own not long afterward. The score stands at 2-2, and with 6:40 remaining in the period, the Bears have 16 SOG to our 15.

Aubin's making me nervous -- he just gave up a couple of huge rebounds. Fortunately, neither one had a Bear in position to take advantage of the opportunity. The trouble is, the same way the Phantoms got a LOT of spring in their step following Matsumoto's goal, onw it's the Bears who are playing with more energy. Getting stuck in our own end for long stretches of time never ends well.

Oh, but lo and behold. We did manage to take the play down in front of Varlamov for a spell, and drew a tripping penalty for our troubles. See, that's what comes of getting the opponent running around. :)

Oh, rats, and here come the Bears, shorthanded, with only Jason DeSantis back (and Syvret trying gamely to turn it into a 2-on-2). Aubin makes the save.

We're having a small break in the action as the ice crew removes a pane of glass in the corner behind Hershey's net. However, they are not replacing it with a new one -- they're reseating the original pane and affixing it back into position. I guess it was jarred loose without being damaged.

YES!!! We took our lead back with about 3 minutes remaining in the period. Matsumoto buries his second goal of the night. Beautiful!

Aubin followed this up by making a BEAUTIFUL east-west move to keep the puck out and preserve said lead. That Bear's going to be seeing that save in his sleep tonight -- he had the whole net to shoot at until Aubin made the lateral move.

My word, let's just say that this game does nothing to dispel my theory that AHL referees call the home team more tightly than the road team. Hershey just got a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct, with 46.4 seconds remaining in the period. So the Phantoms are back on the PP at the end of this frame, as we were at the end of the first.

Now the Bears fans are chanting "Nigel s*cks!" as the intermission begins. LOL -- Philly fans get the rep, but even we don't spell out "BS" and chant objections to the ref specifically by name. ;).

In any event, on our way into the second intermission, the Bears have 18 SOG and the Phantoms have 19.
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