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

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.

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