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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Phantoms @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 12-30-08: Recap and Box Score

Here is the link to Tuesday's game recap on the Phantoms site.

And here is the link to the box score from the AHL site. I can't help but notice some of the individual Penguins' shot totals. Minard had 8 shots in the game; Pesonen had 7. I'm sure that some players' shot totals were inflated by that infinite 5-on-3 advantage that the Penguins had, and the fact that during their extended powerplay time in the second period, the Pens outshot the Phantoms 23-0. However, here's hoping that some of those stats are gaudy enough for Pittsburgh to sit up and take notice, and, oh... call up a player or two. ;)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Kalinski's first NHL goal

We interrupt this Phantoms-game discussion to say, "Congratulations to Jonathon Kalinski!" He's called up to the Flyers right now, and he scored his first goal in tonight's game vs. Vancouver.

Nice work! :)

Phantoms @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 12-30-08: Third Period

AAAAH, we came so close to tying the score again in the first minute of the PP -- too bad our guy lost an edge and fell while attempting the shot. Doggoned force of gravity, sometimes that thing's such a nuisance. We did look great during this early-period PP, even if we didn't score.

Here comes another opportunity for us to get a PP goal, however. The Pens actually got the puck and started a shorthanded rush, but fortunately for us they went offside. Now we're back in their end, where it will be nice if we have another round of Curry vs. Curry. Nope, this time it was Maroon who blasts a shot on net, but Curry-the-goalie was up to the challenge. DeSantis, Ratchuk -- OH, man, insane scramble in front of the Pens' net but Curry-the-goalie manages to keep the darn biscuit on the outside of the net. Darn. That's the end of the PP.

And the darn Pens managed to get it to our end, at which point a Penguin got to a rebound first and cashed it in. 4-2 bad guys. "Woo!", my foot.

Nodl shoots an absolute BOMB on net, but Curry-the-goalie makes the stop. I really do like some of the chances we've been creating. Those were conspicuous by their absence in the past couple of games. Maybe some of our flu-ridden guys are feeling more like themselves now, compared to how they might have felt a few days ago.

I'd also like to point out that the MOVING ADS that are set into the boards are annoying and visually distracting. I don't know how the players put up with them. I keep seeing the ads changing themselves while play is in progress, and it makes me thankful that we haven't resorted to that gimmick in Philly yet. The Spectrum certainly won't, and I hope the Center never does. I'm not over-fond of the sort of self-updating lit-up ads in the boards like they've got at Nassau Coliseum, either. I'm old enough to remember when the boards were blank, so let's just say that I thought that the STILL ads on the boards were irksome, till the moving ones were invented.

Clackson makes a trip into the sin bin for roughing, so we get to spend some time shorthanded yet again. We clear the puck almost right away, though, so that's an auspicious beginning to the PK. Wilkes-Barre brings it back in, and provides Munroe with the opportunity to make yet another nice save. AIEEEE, mad scramble in front, including a pileup of guys from both teams all over the crease. Fortunately, the Pen that eventually got the loose puck was too close to roof the shot, and Munroe snared it.

We're back to even strength, so now it's time to give Curry-the-goalie a workout. Right after this commercial break, that is.

Bother. W-B got a three-on-one with Curry back, and they passed it over to an open man (Lovejoy) for a goal. 5-2, Bad Guys. The Pens have now got 46 shots on goal and the game has multiple minutes left to go in it. It's the second game in a row that we have yielded more than 45 shots.

Sirianni just made a serious bid to pot his first goal as a Phantom, but it wasn't meant to be. *This* time. If he keeps that up, he'll be racking up goals for us in no time, to go with the assist he got in the last game.

Now we're on a late-game PP. Sirianni, Laliberte -- oh, who gets demolished by a crosscheck, so now it's our turn to get a two-man advantage with 2:08 remaining in the third period. We're pulling the goalie, as well, so now we have six skaters to their three. MAROOOOON buries the PP goal with 1:31 left in the third period! 5-3, and we still have a one-man avantage. Oops, make that two, as our goaltender is pulled and so we have 6 skaters to their 4.Maroon is carryng it in again, takes it behind teh net and SCOOOORE, it bounced of I-know-not-what when he shot it from behind the goal line. I think it went in off a Pens' defender. That's our second PP goal on this man advantage.

The score is 5-4, we have 40 seconds left, and the Phantoms have called a timeout. Ross is taking it in and trying his best to get that thing on net, but no go. Syvret took a shot from the far end of the ice, and we are getting a faceoff in the Pens' end with 11 seconds left and our goalie pulled. Ross doesn't win the draw and now there's a stampede of 11 skaters heading to the Phantoms end. Blah, there goes the empty-net goal. 6-4, Bad Guys and we have only a few moments left.

The final score is 6-4, Penguins, and the Pens also got 49 SOG. 23 of those came during that unending shorthanded sequence that we had to withstand in the second period.

Our next game will be in the New Year, at 6:05 PM in the Spectrum. The Phantoms have to catch a flight to Toronto after the game, so the game time had to be moved up to an hour earlier.

The audio was cut off before the stars coul be announced, but it won't take long for that info to make it to the box score.

So we close out 2008 with a four-game winless streak, but given the injuries, callups, and flu that struck the team right then, as far as I'm conerned it's just one of those blips that eery team deals with during a season. Here's to a happy, healthy, and successful 2009 for the team.

Phantoms @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 12-30-08: Second Period

The Phantoms got the second period off to a MUCH better start than the first period. Sean Curry, the Phantoms defenseman, scored on John Curry, the Penguins goaltender, to halve the Wilkes-Barre lead to. 2-1.

We had Nate Raduns sent to the sin bin for the Pens' second man advantage of the game. However, approximately a minute into that, the Penguins earned an interference call thanks to some outstanding penalty killing by Jonathan Matsumoto. So we will play for the second half of our penalty at 4-on-4, and then have a short powerplay of our own.

I'm very happy to see Ryan Parent in our lineup. Boy, will he be a godsend to us, particularly with Guenin out of the lineup. LOL, even TYPING his name causes our team to block shots. Syvret and Curry just blocked some shots, just as I was mentioning our injured Shot Blocker Extraordinaire, Mr. Guenin. Good, maybe I'll find a way to drop his name into the recap EVERY time the opposition is creating offense. heh heh heh...

SCOOOORE, Matsumoto ties it for us with 13:32 left in the second period! Niiiice! He shot the puck, it got blocked by a Pens' defenseman, it went right back to Matsumoto and the SECOND attempt he made found the net. NICE play. Bartulis got an assist, but I didn't hear if we had another assist on the goal.

It's not-quite-halfway through regulation time, and it's a whole new hockey game. Nodl takes a nice long shot from the top of the slot, which gets saved and deflected out of play. We have outshot the Pens 7-1 in the first seven minutes of this period. Now THOSE are the stats I enjoy typing up -- keep up the great work, Phantoms! :)

Mr. Ciamaga continues his trend of employing his whistle on a regular basis. Mormina elbowed Ross in the head, and Ross retaliated with a slash. As usual, the ref only saw the retaliation, so the Phantoms will be shorthanded. Oh, for crying sakes, we barely got a shift into the penalty kill, and now we'll be two men down. Matsumoto is going to the box, which rots because he's one of our better PKers. We'll have 5-on-3 for 1:10. MUNROE makes a fantastic save to keep it out at the end of a mad scramble in front of our net -- YEAH, MUNY!

And BOO, REFEREE. He's sending Parent to the box before either of our two penalties has ended. Parent's bleeping penalty can't even start counting down until Ross comes out. I will keep my unvarnished opinions about this to myself, as this IS supposed to be a family-friendly blog. Let's just say that I am singing "The Chicken Dance" to myself, including the lyrics that get added by the Phantoms Phaithful at the Spectrum: "Hey Ref, You S_CK!"

Munroe has been abolutely fantastic during this very, very, very extended two-man disadvantage. FINALLY, we get a guy back, and we will be down only one man for a minute more. The Penguins have gotten ten shots during their PP and the freaking penalties haven't all been served yet. Whoops, let's make that eleven. Munroe has been equal to them all, and we still have 20 more seconds of this to go. Halle-freaking-LUJAH, we survived the Infinite Penalty Kill from H3ll, with 12 saves from Munroe who deserves a star of the game for what he's done in the past few minutes alone.

Ah. I like this better. We're down giving Curry-the-goalie somethng to do. 'Bout time we had the opportunity to do that.

Back we go to the Phantoms' end -- the Pens are fired up from all that PP time, but so is Munroe and he's still making circus saves.

Aw, bloody h... er, I mean Darn it! We got one more scoring chance, but our attempt to center to our players missed everyone and got intercepted, resulting in a rush by the Penguins and another Wilkes-Barre goal. 3-2, Bad Guys and BTW, that "Woo!" stuff ought to be outlawed. If I want to listen to falsetto, I'll put on some vintage Frankie Valli songs.

Yet another PP for the Penguins, now there's a shocker. It'll be their seventh man advantage of the game. Sirianni will sit. Our lines and our special-teams units are somewhat jumbled, as Kane appears to have gotten hurt at some point during the first period and is missing from the lineup. Blah, just what we don't need: one of our top forwards getting banged up. I hope it's nothing major.

Parent blocks a shot -- must be that pair of number 7s on his jersey. (Guenin wears #7.) And now there's a mysterious whistle... aw, for crying sakes. The Phantoms are getting a "Too many men on the ice" call. In the immortal words of Winnie the Pooh, "Bother!"

Nice work by Munroe to make the save and Syvret to clear the rebound well out of harm's way. Here's an interesting stat: before all the powerplays, the Phantoms were outshooting the Penguins in this period 8-1. SINCE the powerplay-fest, the Penguins have outshot the Phantoms 21-0. And we still have half a minute of freaking PK left to go.

Yet again, at the very end of the period, the Penguins are getting penalized, this time, for boarding. We have just over half a minute of time left in the second period. Lets see what comes of it. Boy, are we making good on creating scoring chances! Twice, we took shots on goal and got to the rebound for another attempt, but no dice yet. We have just a bit less than a minute and a half remaining of PP time to start the third period.

Phantoms @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 12-30-08: First Period

Boy, that's not the way we wanted to start this game. We gave up a goal in the first three minutes. It's the fifrth consecutive game that our opponents scored first.

Oh, right, I'd forgotten that in Wilkes-Barre, the announcer gives a falsetto "Woo!" after announcing a Penguins goal. Boy, if THAT isn't incentive to play solid defense, I don't know what is!

Munroe is in goal for the Phantoms. I have to say, I'm surprised that Aubin wasn't given one of these two road games. If Paddock doesn't opt to play him during our home game on Friday, goodness knows we have a long road trip coming up to let Aubin get his feet back under him. He hasn't played since injuring himself on the night after Thanksgiving.

Speaking of injuries, we still have Guenin, Beaulieu, and Hersley injured.

Ah, we are about to get a PP. I see Ross, Sirianni, Nodl, and Syvret on the ice. DeSantis is our other defenseman, though he wasn't on camera when we first took the faceoff. Nice, we look so much more effective at the start of this PP than we did in the last game or two. Even when we're not shooting on net, we are actually cycling the puck without having it repeatedly picked off and cleared. The PP is over now, and while we didn't score, we didn't look like we were running around disorganized, either. I'll take it.

It didn't take an especially long time before the Phantoms were granted another man advantage. We have spent the past two minutes pressuring the Penguins but without evening the score. However, spending all that time in the other team's end is a definite move in the right direction.

Oh, and here we go -- Ciamaga has decided that Raduns tripped someone so our PK is about to get a workout. Unfortunately, the Penguins are creating a major scrum in front of our net. There were too many shots, rebounds, and deflections for our guys to handle. The end result: 2-0 Bad Guys.

Boogaard is fighting Clackson in the final minute of the period. They were wrestling with each other when Clackson lost his footing and fell, so the fight didn't last long. Boogaard is about to get an extra two minutes -- in fact, he's got the Bettman 17 (2 for Instigation, 5 for fighting, 10-minute misconduct). Therefore, the Phantoms will go on the PP with 10.2 seconds remaining in the period.

At the end of the period, the score is 2-0, Penguins.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Phantoms at Norfolk Admirals 12-27-08: Recap, Box Score; We're Getting Help on the Blueline

Here's the link to the recap of the frustration that was last night's Phantoms/Admirals game, from the Phantoms site.

And here, if still more frustration is what you're after, is the link to the official box score.

But fortunately, I'm not only bearing bad tidings here. I have some good news, as well. According to this article, the Flyers have assigned Ryan Parent to the Phantoms, after a long recuperation from surgery that he had in October.

Parent could be just what the doctor ordered on our D, particularly with Guenin out injured. We haven't got the most experienced team this year, so anyone who can help bolster us in that regard will be a big help. Welcome back, Ryan!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Phantoms at Norfolk Admirals 12-27-08: Third Period

We have started this period with an early PP. So far, we haven't gotten a lot done, though we did come close to giving up a shorthanded goal. (Eeeeee. My nerves.) The trouble is, we have been stymied frequently by Admirals who are picking off or blocking passes and shots, and clearing the puck out. I would love to know what has changed over the past few games, that our PP has gone from one of the most effective in the league to one that has such difficulty keeping the puck in the zone.

The penalty has expired. Ross's line created some more scoring opportunities, but so far, we're still looking for Goal Number Two.

SAVE, MUNROE, holy cow was that one a close call. Nice job, Muny.

Sirianni gets sprung on a clean breakaway by Ross -- Nice shot, but even nicer save. McKenna had the rebound sitting unattended to his right for a few moments; then he located and pounced on it.Darn puck was trying to creep into the net, too, but unfortunately it had nowhere near enough momentum to take it all the way in before the goalie froze it. Nice play by our guys, though -- that's the sort of head's up play that we need to see more of to snap out of this slump we've gotten into recently.

Raduns and Szwez are giving the Admirals fits right now. Multiple attempts all had answers, but still, I like to see us get some sustained pressure on the other team. Such things have been conspicuous by their absence in recent games.

Blast it all. Downie brings down the rain of headgear. 7-1 Admirals. As we wait for the hats to be cleared from the ice, on my TV I see that the Flyers dropped their game in Columbus 3-0. Did I mention that this has not been a great weekend for Philly hockey fans? [mumble grumble]

Sirianni, Matsumoto, and Klots are out -- and this is why we have to get the puck on net at all times -- McKenna lost track of the puck in the mad scramble, and it's possible that Klotz scored his first pro goal. Matsumoto picked up the puck for him. :) Klotz is, in fact, credited with the goal. Sirianni got his first point as a Phantom. (On watching the replay, it's possible that Matsumoto ought to have credit for the goal, but hey -- if he knows he touched the puck last and is keeping quiet, that's what I call being a good teammate.)

Downie, meanwhile, just clanged a puck off the post and missed out on a fourth goal. Geesh, that was a close call. (Drat that dratted trade that sent him to dratted Tampa Bay's dratted system.)

We have strung together some nice chances and solid shifts in the final minutes of the game. If only we'd had this level of effectiveness early in the game, maybe the scoreboard wouldn't have such nasty-looking numbers on it. The Admirals have set a season high for SOG against the Phantoms... Previously, we gave up 46 shots vs. Providence.

There's the final horn. Game over, and the final score is 7-2. We have one more game remaining in the year, so we do have the chance to close out 2008 with a win. However, tonight, we are going to fall in the standings behind the two teams that prior to this game, were trailing us by one point.

The stars of the game were all Admirals, not surprisingly -- Lunon, Potulny (Grant, the brother of our former player Ryan), and Downie.

Phantoms at Norfolk Admirals 12-27-08: Second Period

Unfortunately, the second period started the way the first period (and most of last night's game) ended. We were in the process of creating some offense when we got called for goaltender interference Before the first two minutes of the period were over, we gave up yet another goal and are currently trailing 3-0. As are the Flyers, btw -- it has not been a good two days for either of our teams.

Oh, for Pete's sakes, make that 4-0. Downie put in another PP goal, as we were called for tripping almost immediately after giving up the previous PP goal.

It's been a frustrating couple of days for this hockey fan. The Phantoms and Flyers both lost by four goals last night (4-0 and 5-1, respectively), and now both teams are trailing by at least three goals in their respective games. Presume that unprintable opnions have been expressed in ths neck of the woods.

Here we go once again onto the PK. It's another tripping call. The ref had already blown the whistle, so when the puck went into the net the "goal" was waved off, but in the meantime, here we go back into the Land of Playng Shorthanded.

Munroe starts off with a nice save. Here comes yet another defensive-zone draw. Raduns is hounding the puck carrier, and while he's playing keep-away, time is ticking off the clock. We haven't cleared the puck yet -- our only breaks from defending have been coming when Munroe freezes the puck. But we're keeping Admirals who have the puck dodging the attack of our PKers, which does take away from the time they spend making actual plays. Finally, we bat the dratted disk out. Downie took up residence at our crease and did his utmost to bat in the puck once Norfolk brought it back in, but fortunately, his efforts came to naught. I think this team owes Munroe a dinner for the way he's killing this penalty.

FINALLY. Even strength, hallelujah. Now we're actually giving McKenna something to do, something that hasn't happened a lot in this period so far as we've spent too darn much of it shorthanded.

Raduns, Szwez, and Clackson are out now. Clackson and Downie are having a few words and exchanging shoves, but there's no sign that an actual fight is on the way. I'm slightly surprised, given that those two guys rumbled during training camp a few times, but I"m sure Downie realizes that he helps his team more on the ice then he does in the penalty box.

Ugh, we just heard the numbers on the shot clock: we are being outshot 30-12. In this period alone we have been outshot 18-3. Dang.

AAA, we just got a small flurry of chances right on McKenna's doorstep, but unfortunately the darn puck remained out. However, if we get a few more of THOSE sequences, we'll increase the odds of putting something on the scoreboard besides shots and penalties]

Speaking of scoreboards, unfortunately, Rosehill just went to retrieve a puck that had been dumped into the Phantoms' end, tried to pass it out and it went off Patrick Maroon and into the Phantoms net. 5-0, Bad Guys Geesh, even the doggoned flukes and bounces don't want to cooperate.

However, we shall see what comes of the PP that we've just been awarded on the shift that followed that goal. Kane's shot on goal was saved by McKenna, and the rebound bounced up and landed atop the Norfolk net. (Now, see, when the bounces are workng your way, that kind of rebound goes over the goalie and in. But I digress.) We're getting some chances in this PP, which is certainly more than I can say about some of last night's sessions with a man advantage.

Hooray, Matsumoto shot a strange one in that changed directions on McKenna, and pinged into the net off the post. Yay, there goes the scoreless drought and there goes our PP power outage, in one fell swoop. 5-1, Norfolk. Thank you, Matsy. DeSantis and Syvret assisted on the goal.

Eeeek, DeSantis fanned on the puck trying to clear it out, it got picked off by an Admiral who fed Gratton for a shot, but Munroe was right there to make the stop. These are the kinds of sequence that make bloggers' blood pressure spike. ;)

Unfortunately, one round trip to and from the Norfolk end later, Munroe made a stop at the left post, only to see an Admiral take the puck around behind the net to attempt a stuff-in. Three Phantoms skaters hurried to cover the open post, only to have the puck shot at them and pinball into the net off one of them. Downie was credited with his second oal of the nght. 6-1 Admirals and the period has less than half a minute remaining in it.

There we go. Period over. Argh, the aggravation. The only positive that we have so far is that we actually managed to light the lap one time. Otherwise, we were massively outshot, not to mention outscored, in this frame. Good grief, the agita. We had better come out FLYING in the third period, if only to give the Admirals somethng to remember us by until we see them again next year.

Phantoms at Norfolk Admirals 12-27-08: First Period

I have the Flyers game on TV, and the Phantoms gamecast on my laptop. We're still waiting for the Phantoms game to begin, but the Flyers game is already in progress. We just saw the list of Flyers' scratches for tonight's game... They have seven guys missing from the lineup, all injured. It makes me wonder if the Phantoms wil be sending any more reinforcements to the big club any time soon. I checked's transactions page a little while ago, and so far it doesn't appear that we have any additional guys called up. However, we'll see if that remains true after tonight's games are over.

As I sit here looking at a spinning Norfolk Admirals logo on the laptop screen, I am thinking about how much I miss the pregame coverage that the Phantoms used to have on their gamecasts. We used to have pregame (recorded) interviews with the coach and some info on injuries and callups.

Ah, here we go. On the screen, the Ads are being introduced, but since I have the Philly audio (yay), I get to listen to info about our team.

On the first line we have Ross/Kane, and Sirianni will replace Giroux, who is called up. Matsumoto will have Nodl and Maroon. Guenin, Laliberte, and Hersley are all injured and did not make the trip Munroe will be our starting goaltender tonight.

I can see from the video of the anthem singer that our audio is just a tiny bit out of sync with the video. The audio is actually a few moments ahead of the video. That can make life a little interesting when you're hearing a call being made for a play that you haven't quite seen yet.

Clackson and Szwez are with Raduns for the opening faceoff. I couldn't see who the D were. I think it's Ratchuk and Curry.

The start of the game was delayed a bit by one or more of the officals' late arrival. I'm glad we were told that, because I was wondering why a game that I could have sworn was to start at 7 PM was beginning closer to 7:30. At least I know I'm not losing my memory. ;)

No call on Segal when he shoved our guy down from behind. He proceeded to carry the puck into the Phantoms' end and score. Cuss words... So now both the Flyers and Phantoms trail 1-0.

And here we go, soon after that, the Phantoms get the game's first penalty. Bellamy will go. His linemates are Klotz and Ryan, btw. We had some issues with the Ads' PP last week, so here's hoping we get our rears in gear for the next couple of minutes. Nodl is out for the first PK unit, along with Raduns, Bartulis, and (can't see whom).

Blast. I saw Munroe make the save, but the puck was deflected on up him. When it came in at the unexpected angle, he left a rebound which Norfolk put in. 2-0 Norfolk.

We're doing some good things with the shift that immediately followed the goal-against, creating some scoring chances. We didn't reduce the two-goal gap any, but coming out with energy is never the wrong thing to do.

You know, I am getting frustrated with the sight of opponents camping out eternallly in our end. It was a problem in the game vs. Norfolk a week ago, and it's turnng into a problem again even as I type. It doesn't help us to clear the puck when things happen like Boyd Kane's getting hauled down without anything getting called.

At the stoppage of play, Paddock called the ref over to show him some sort of injury on Kane's face. The officials are apparently calling a belated penalty, WAY after the fact. Surprise -- we actually are on a PP after all. GAH and we hit the post. Whoa -- it's a DOUBLE minor for high-sticking. I'm glad the ref listened. (Kane is getting glued back together now by our trainer.) Matsumoto and Nodl are making life interesting for Norfolk -- it was Matsy who hit the post moments ago, and then both of them got some nice shots on goal. McKenna has been up to the task of making the requisite saves, however.

Now Kane has apparently been repaired enough to return to the ice, as he's out there with Ross, Sirianni, Ratchuk, and Curry. I didn't realize it, but we have not scored a PP goal in four games. Blah, not what I wanted to hear. Time to break THAT slump. We've gone 0-for-23 since then.

I like that we are getting a lot of chances here, but I'm not pleased that we keep getting interrupted by Ads clearing the puck out. Eventually, Norfolk killed the double minor. But we did make the goaltender freeze the puck, so we are getting an offensive-zone draw. Unfortunately, that only will help us if we can win the draw and keep it in the zone. That's not how it panned out, and Munroe had to be sharp to keep the puck out.

Matsumoto's line is creating chances again tonight, this time at even strength. Meanwhile, Downie's line has been giving us aggravation tonght, which doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

Boy, this ref is letting EVERYTHING go. At least he's being even-handed about it. I just saw one of our guys get hauled down, followed seconds later by having an Admiral hauled down, and in neither case did the ref's arm go up. I guess as long as he calls the game the same way for both teams, and stays consistent throughout the game, the players will know what they can and can't do.

There goes the horn to end the period. We are trailing 2-0 on the scoreboard, and we haven't had an announcement of the shots-on-goal totals at the moment.

Here's to a better second and third period for us!

Phantoms vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 12-26-08: Recap and Box Score

Click HERE for the game recap on the Phantoms site. Argh, I hadn't realized that we failed to capitalize on NINE power play opportunities. Yeah, definitely we can file this game under "It Wasn't Our Night, Not Even A Little Bit".

HERE is the link to the box score.

Here's hoping for better results from tomorrow night's game in Norfolk.

Oh, and we can avenge this game on Tuesday in Wilkes-Barre. Here's to kicking some Admiral and Penguin butt over the next few days!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Phantoms vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 12-26-08: Third Period

Paddock appears to be doing a little bit of tweaking. Maroon and Nodl have swapped lines at the start of this period. Now we're on the PK, and our first forward pairing was Kane/Raduns (not Ross). Our second forward pair was Matsumoto/Ross. Now it's Kane/Nodl.

Fortunately, Munroe is sharp, as we gave up four shots in the first three-mnutes-and-change of the period.

Yiiii, that was a near miss. Munroe stopped a shot and the puck just wound up lying there next to the crease. Fortunately, our D arrived before the Pens forwards could get there, and removed the puck from the danger zone.

Not a lot has gone on in the past few minutes. Unfortunately, that string of not-a-lot was broken by another Penguin goal that clanged in by way of the post. Heck.

Our ref is a colossal dunce. He called Clackson for cross-checking, but at the same time he called Ratchuk for two-for-unsportsmanlike AND an additional ten minutes. What a bunch of malarky. Too bad he can't get retroactive coal in his stocking. Dude, you're a ref and we just gave up a goal moments ago. Our players are going to have a short fuse. GET OVER IT, you thin-skinned zebra.

Crumbs. In the first minute of our two-man disadvantage, the Pens put one in that hit Munroe and then bounced up and over him. Darn fluky pinball shot... Even the bounces don't seem to want to cooperate tonight. 4-0, Bad Guys.

I would at least like to see us scrub that goose-egg off the scoreboard in the next eight minutes.

We have some more line-rearranging in progress, as Ryan and Bellamy are on the ice with Matsumoto. Come to think of it, I have hardly seen Klotz since the fight... He's on the bench, though. I hope he's not injured.

Here comes a PP. Let's see if we get some good stuff THIS time. Goodness knws this ref has been whistle-happy all game long. Kane, Ross, Maroon, Syvret, and DeSantis are out. (We're back to three forwards on the man advantage.) Kane has been the one stationing himself at the crease most of the time tonight. (So of course, as I type that, Maroon takes up that spot. LOL.) We just came tantalizingly close to putting a 1 on the scoreboard, but no dice.

We're back to even strength now. Paddock must have heard me typing, since Klotz is going out with Maroon and Raduns.

It's the final minute of the game, and we are still looking to get a puck behind Curry-the-goalie. We also have a a PP, for whih we have Klotz, Matsumoto, Sirianni, Syvret, and Curry-the-defenseman on the ice. Unfortunately, the goose egg remained on the board until the final horn. File this night's outing under "Boy, was it ever not our day". So here's to the Phantoms kicking some butt on the road this week, and coming back on January 2 (at **6:00 PM**; make note of the uncharacteristically early start time) It was our first regulation loss in the entire month of December, so I'll slide the team a bit of a break this time around. But we can't make a habit of playing like we did tonight, or all that hard-earned ground that we have gained on the teams ahead of us will be lost in no time flat.

The three stars of the game were all Penguins, not surprisingly (Curry, Minard, and Taffe).

Here's to seeing our own guys put in the stellar performances, instead of the opposition, from here on out.

Phantoms vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 12-26-08: Second Period

This second period has gotten off to a slow start Not only did we not cash in a PP goal of our own, when we went on the penalty kill a little while after returning to even strength, the Penguins did manage to draw first blood, and they now lead 1-0. To add to the aggravation, my unfavorite rule came into play as we got a delay-of-game infraction for clearing the puck over the glass, so we are currently shorthanded once again. With 15:28 left in the period, we have 13 SOG compared to the Penguins' 11.

We have managed to clear the puck out a couple of times (minus that one episode of sendng it into the crowd), so I'm pleased to se our PK agetting the job done.

We're back to even strength, and Sirianni just fed Ratchuk for a scoring chance that I still don't know how it stayed out. What a freaking stop by (John, the goalie) Curry on a point-blank attempt by Ratchuk.

Maroon, Sirianni, and Matsumoto are continuing to apply pressure. This is the best we've looked all period long so far. We haven't lit the lamp yet, but this was the first sustained pressure we have had since the frst period. So it looks like we're getting our legs under us.

Next up: Raduns, Clackson, Szwez with Ratchuk and (Sean, the defenseman) Curry. And to make matters better, we are about to get a PECOOOO POWER PLAY, so let's hope we get some good stuff done. Matsumoto/Sirianni/Maroon are out, and *OH*, Sirianni came this-close to getting his first goal as a Phantom. Oh, so freaking close...! Now it's Ross/Kane/Nodl's turn to try and even the score. We are havng some issues getting set up again, though. That's been a pain in the tail for us more than once tonight. Ratchuk finally charged up the center of the ice and blasted the puck, but Curry-the-goalie flashed the glove and froze the puck. That was a Patrick-Roy-style glove save, minus the extended Statue-of-Liberty pose afterward.

Dagnab it all. The Pens scored shortly after returning to even strength. Man, we are not looking at our best. I was hoping that darn flu that's been hitting the team would have had some time to clear up in the interim between our previous game and this one, but we have a lot less spring in our step than I'm used to seeing. So I'm thinking that maybe the flu hasn't finished impacting the team's energy level. Beans.

Anyway, we have 9:50 remaining in the period, the SOG are Phantoms 15, Penguins 14, and we are about to go on another PP. Here's hoping we get some good stuff done here. Ross/Kane/Nodl are out, with Kane stationed right at the crease to look for rebounds. Our shot on goal, unfortunately, rebounded to a Penguin and we got to spend some time regaining control of the puck in our end. When we got back, Curry went a mile out of the net to try and get the puck, but somehow he STILL got himself back into the blue paint in time to stop the ensuing shot on goal. DOGGONE IT ALL TO HECK.

However, we get another crack at the man advantage not long after returning to even strength. Let's see how this goes. It's Raduns/Kane/Nodl this time, with Syvret and Ross. (Four-forward PP units are not such a common sight anymore, after being a stape of last year's special teams.)

Boy, what does it take to register a son-of-a-gunning shot on goal on our power play tonight? MAN. Ten seconds remain in the man advantage, and Curry-the-goalie hasn't seen a puck come his way. Aggravating. And, I'm sure, aggravating for the Phantoms as well, particularly since we've been so solid on the PP for so many games.

Back to even strength we go, with the Phantoms now trailing on the shot clock for the first time in the game, 16-17. And, of course, trailing on the rather more important stat of the scoreboard, 2-0. We have nearly five minutes remaining in the period.

We have a heck of a nice crowd for this game. Looks like a LOT of peole decided to take in a game as part of their Christmas vacation. Here's hoping we entertain them with a great comeback, preferably sooner rather than later.

Ryan is out now. He's wearing number 22 and we haven't seen a lot of him yet in this game. His linemates are Clackson and Szwez.

These guys drew a hook9ng penalty on the Pens during their rush up ice. Let's see if we can get organized and get some good stuff done. We have had a LOT of PP time in this period, and with luck, the Pens' PK units will be feeling it by now. Syvret took a nice SOG from the pont, but Curry-the-goalie saw it all the way. We have another four-forward PP unt, with Ross manning the point and Kane in the crease. The next unit to come out is Matsumoto/Sirianni/Maroon (who I would have SWORN did NOT go all the way offside, grrrrrr) with Curry-the-Dman and Ratchuk. Sirianni BLASTED the puck on goal, but we couldn't quite corral the rebound. Of course, offensive-zone draws are good, and we're getting one even as I type. It's now even strength, but the same group of forwards is out. SOG are even at 18-18.

(Non-sequitor of the day: after going clean-shaven for most of the season, I notice that our goalie coach is in the scouts' box sporting some face fuzz. This is new. :) )

The period is over, SOG remain even at 18-18, and the Phantoms trail the Pens 2-0. Let's hope that we can get our rears in gear and come out with guns blazing to start the third period.

Phantoms vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 12-26-08: First Period

Despite what I thought the transactions indicated, it turns out that Nodl is NOT up wth the Flyers, as I can see him in the starting lineup. In the first three minutes of the game, he and his line (with Ross and Kane) accounted for three shots on goal.

About four minutes into the contest, Klotz and Boogaard fought. It was a modest fight, with a lot of grappling for position mixed with some punches thrown in close. From what I could SEE of it over the people standing up (grrr) it appeared to be a draw.

With 15:17 left in the period, the Phantoms incurred the first penalty. Chris Zarb went to the sin bin for hooking. Ross, Kane, Bartulis, and Syvret were the first PK unit.

I missed the list of scratches, but it's clear that Guenin is among them. I'm not surprised, as he went off injured during the last game and did not return. The fact that Zarb a defenseman, was called up during the break between games led me to expect that we wouldn't be seeing Nate tonight.

Munroe has had to be alert during this PK. He's looked good, as he has for the past several games running. However, I expect that we will see Aubin getting some ice time during the road games with which we will close out this months schedule.

We are back to even strength. We have got six D dressed tonight, rather than seven, and the pairings are Zarb/DeSantis, Ratchuk/Curry, and Syvret/Bartulis.

Raduns is on a line with Szwez and Clackson. Right now they are buzzing in the Pens' zone. With 9:01 remaining, the SOG are Phantons 8, Penguins 3. They've earned us an offensive-zone draw, for which we wil have Ross in the faceoff circle and Kane with Nodl (rather than the called-up Giroux) on the wings.

Here comes our first PP. Matsumoto, Maroon, Sirianni, Curry, and Ratchuk are on the ice. Unfortunately, at the moment we are having a hard time getting the puck into the W-B end and keeping it there. We've come close to gettng set up a few times, but the rotten Penguins keep either clearing it or intercepting it and carrying it up ice out of harm's way. Now it's Minute Two if the PP, so let's see what transpires with Ross, Kane, Nodl, Syvret, and DeSantis... Nope, so far we still are retrieving the darn disk from in front of Munroe. Finally, we get set up, but I can hear Munroe's stick banging on the ice to announce the return of Minard. No good -- we went completely shotless on that man advantage. And now I can see the ref's arm up, waiting for us to get possession so he can send one of our guys off. Clackson is gong for tripping. We're back to Ross, Kane, Syvret, and Bartulis killing the penalty. And Munroe :), who once again is doing well. He's craning his head to see through the crowd, but since he's been stopping the puck effectively, I'd say he's kept the biscuit in his lne of sight.

Our second PK unt is Raduns, Nodl, Curry, and Ratchk. GOOD GRIEF. The flipping puck just ricocheted into the Phantoms bench in such a way that a lid from one of the water bottles bounced off the glass next to the tunnel and into the seats. For SURE I'm going to watch that sequence online when I get home, because I'd like to see how many laws of physics got broken in the process of having a kid in the 8th row get hold of a water bottle lid. (He did return said lid to the equipment manager, when he saw that the lid-free bottle had to be set off to one side.)

Now we have some good news and bad news. The good news is, we have a PP. The bad news is that our trainer is talking at length to Chris Zarb on the bench. I guess as long as the two of them don't migrate up the tunnel, all shall be well. But Zarb had an injury in Mississippi, from which he recently returned to the lineup, so I don't want to see him needing to have chats with trainers, thank you very much.

Yet again, btw, we are going shotless in this PP so far. Our most recent two shots came just after or previous power play ended, and since then, we've gotten nada.

Now, with seven seconds remaining in the PP, we are going on a two-man PP. I heard an ugly crash into the boards, though I couldn't see who exactly made that noise, and now a Penguin is heading off for cross-checking (after a ten player glaring match in the corner behind the Pens' net). Fortunately, it appears that everyone from both teams is still in one piece, which is not always the case after a thud like that emanates from somewhere the ice.

The first penalty is over, the second penalty s exactly halfway over, we have 15.3 seconds left in the first frame, and we STILL are waiting for a PP shot on goal. That's not a good thing, guys -- let's give the goalie a puck to stop, shall we?

Ah, just as I type it, they do it. A shot on goal. Meaning that we will finish this period with 11 SOG instead of 10. Meanwhile, the Penguins have 6 SOG.

The Phantoms will have 44 more seconds of PP time remaining at the start of the second period.

Phantoms Weekly Release #11

Click HERE to access the current Phantoms Weekly Release.

Transactions that we've had this week have included call-ups, send-downs, and signing of players to PTO/ATOs. The list is as follows:

12/26/2008 Billy Ryan (C) Philadelphia ADD Signed to ATO
12/26/2008 Chris Zarb (D) Philadelphia ADD Reassigned by Philadelphia (NHL) from Mississippi (ECHL)
12/26/2008 Claude Giroux (RW) Philadelphia DEL Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
12/26/2008 Jonathon Kalinski (LW) Philadelphia DEL Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
12/26/2008 Rob Sirianni (RW) Philadelphia ADD Signed to PTO
12/23/2008 Andreas Nodl (RW) Philadelphia DEL Returned on loan to Philadelphia (NHL)
12/23/2008 Andreas Nodl (RW) Philadelphia DEL Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
12/23/2008 Jonathon Kalinski (LW) Philadelphia ADD Returned on loan from Philadelphia (NHL)
12/22/2008 Jeremy Duchesne (G) Philadelphia DEL Returned on loan to Mississippi (ECHL)
12/22/2008 Michael Teslak (G) Philadelphia DEL Returned on loan to Elmira (ECHL)
12/21/2008 Jonathon Kalinski (LW) Philadelphia DEL Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
12/20/2008 Randy Jones (D) Philadelphia DEL Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)

So in other words... Zarb is up with the Phantoms. Duchesne and Teslak are returned to their ECHL clubs. Jones is back with the Flyers. Kalinski, Nodl, and Giroux are up with the Flyers. And we've signed Billy Ryan and Rob Sirianni to tryout contracts. Mercy sakes, our front office has been busy!

Tonight, we have the opportunity to close out our 2008 home schedule on a high note. We are playing the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, against whom we have played very well recently.

Go Phantoms!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

More articles covering the Phantoms' possible relocation

From the Press of Atlantic City:

Report: A.C. ruled out as home for Phantoms

The relevant info -- it's actually the whole article in this case, unlike some of the other articles from which I've quoted excerpts:

Maybe hockey won't be back after all.

Local ice hockey fans, who had their fingers crossed hoping the Philadelphia Phantoms would play at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, might have to wait longer to get hockey in their backyard.

According to report on, Philadelphia Flyers president Peter Luuko said that the organization has ruled out Atlantic City and other New Jersey locales as a temporary home for its top minor-league team on Tuesday night.

However, Jeffrey Vasser, executive director of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority, said he hasn't heard about of any decisions and is supposed to speak with the organization again after the holidays.

The report goes on to say Philadelphia is considering selling the Phantoms and allowing the team to relocate to another city while the Flyers would maintain control of the players, which Vasser has known to be an option.

The Wachovia Spectrum in Philadelphia, where the Phantoms have played for 12 years, is scheduled to be demolished after this season. Atlantic City had preliminary talks with the Flyers dating back to last summer.

Atlantic City, along with Trenton and Philadelphia's Wachovia Center, were considered temporary sites while a possible new arena is built in Allentown, Pa., or the Cherry Hill area. Now the Phantoms could go as far Massachusetts, according to the report.

Boardwalk Hall last hosted hockey at the arena in 2004 when the Boardwalk Bullies of the minor-league East Coast Hockey League played there. The Bullies moved to Stockton, Calif.

Here's an actual blurb from The Philadelphia Inquirer, but it's relegated to half-an-afterthought near the end of this game recap. Here are the relevant two sentences:

Phantoms in limbo
Peter Luukko, president of Comcast-Spectacor, said there are "several options" concerning the Phantoms, the Flyers' AHL affiliate that will be homeless when the Wachovia Spectrum closes after this season.

"We could move the team, we could sell them, we could find another affiliate - we're still working it all out and probably won't have it all figured out until after the New Year," Luukko said last night.

The Organ-Eye-Zation really found a way to impinge itself on the Phantoms Faithful's attempts to enjoy our holiday. Now the miserable rotten idea that a bunch of businesspeople, who negotiate for a living, might not even be motivated enough to come to an agreement about where a team will play for the next few years -- even when the FLYERS adamantly want the farm team as close by as possible and sharing the Skate Zone practice facility -- is a disgrace. It's a shame that it's the parent company of the Flyers, and not the Flyers themselves, in charge of making the decision. We'd have an answer already, and it would be a lot more pleasing to local hockey fans than the results of the seeming INDIFFERENCE of the Comcast-Spectacor powers-that-be. Said businesspeople ought to be the ones having a holiday full of frustration, not the fans. The Powers-that-be should be ashamed of themselves for putting a loyal fan base through the wringer.

And that's as much as I'm willing to expound on the topic at the moment. I don't want to get overly worked up, or I'll NEVER get to sleep.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

12/20 Wrapup; the latest news on the Phantoms' future is unpleasant

Imagine my surprise when I went to post information on what the Phantoms might be doing after this season, only to realize that I hadn't posted the official game recap or box score. Oops. I honestly thought I already posted these links -- sorry for the delay!

Here's the Phantoms' site game recap. And HERE is the link to the box score.

OK, now for the unhappy task of offering the latest news on where the Phantoms might be playing next season.

Turns out that they might not even be owned by the Flyers/Comcast-Spectacor, never mind playing anywhere near here.

Once again, we must turn to the SUBURBAN newspapers to get news on a PHILADELPHIA team. The Philly papers, apparently, couldn't give a rodent's posterior about reporting this information, but the papers from Delaware County, Bucks County, and south NJ all have articles.

I wish a GIANT BAH, HUMBUG on the corporate Grinches and Scrooges who are responsible for taking our team away from its loyal fan base. I hope they all get coal in their stockings. No, I take that back, since nothing's finalized yet.

What I REALLY hope for the Corporate Bigwigs is that their emotions in the aftermath of their decision-making are PRECISELY the same as the emotions of the Phantoms Fans who are impacted by their decisions. In other words, if they make us happy, may the results of their decisions make them happy. But if they break our hearts, well... what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, isn't it? I'd wager that we care about our team like the bigwigs care about their bankroll, so let the fates of the two be identical. Let the bigwigs' feelings, as they review the state of what THEY care about most, mirror those of us fans as we ponder the state of our team. May those feelings be duplicated right down to the last atom.

OK, now that I've gotten that out of my system for the moment, here is the newspaper coverage on the subject.

From the Delco Times:

Flyers Scoop: Hershey not so sweet

The relevant excerpt is as follows:

PHILADELPHIA - The Flyers have had had their minor league affiliate either in town with them or at the furthest 90 miles away in Hershey for nearly a quarter century.

That run is about to end.

Flyers president Peter Luukko said the team hasn't decided what to do with the Phantoms after this season, but it's almost a guarantee that there won't be minor league hockey in the Philadelphia area come next fall.

Luukko all but nixed the idea of the team moving to Atlantic City, N.J. as a temporary home until local investors could build a new arena for the Phantoms to play that would be relatively close to Philadelphia.

"We have several options at this point," Luukko said. "We could move the team, we could sell them, we could find another affiliate - we're still working it all out and probably won't have it all figured out until after the New Year."

With local investors in both Camden County, New Jersey and Allentown, Pa. trying to cut through political red tape to have arenas built that could house an American League team, it's a good bet that Comcast-Spectacor will sell the Phantoms to a prospective buyer (a company source said there are several potential buyers interested in purchasing the franchise), who would then move the team elsewhere.

Then, they would sign an affiliation agreement with one of the AHL cities that has independent ownership but might have a contract with another team expiring at the end of this season.

There are usually a handful of these situations that come about each year. Springfield, Mass. (Falcons) is one possibility for next season as their affiliation with Edmonton expires at the end of the season.

Hershey, which would be an ideal location, is locked into the Washington Capitals for one more season.

Ultimately, the Flyers would like to bring their affiliation back to the area, but Luukko said that possibility is at least four years down the road, if not longer.

Comcast-Spectacor forced themselves to make a decision of this ilk on the Phantoms when they announced in January plans for a multi-million dollar entertainment complex known as Philly Live! to be built between the Wachovia Center and where the Spectrum now sits.

They later announced the Spectrum would be razed as part of the project to make room for a posh hotel.

Luukko also said locations such as Trenton, N.J. or the Wachovia Center itself were not feasible destinations for the Phantoms, even on a short-term basis.

From the Courier Post:

Phantoms' future murky

I was going to quote the relevant portion of the above article, but there ISN'T one. The only Phantoms-related content it has, at the moment, is its title. I emailed the editors to request that they either restore the edited-out content about the Phantoms' future, or create a new article with the Phantoms-related information in it. We'll see if they take me up on either of those suggestions; if they do, I'll update this post accordingly.


Phantoms' affiliation with Flyers may end

Here is the relevant excerpt:

PHILADELPHIA — For years, the Flyers have enjoyed a productive and convenient relationship with their American Hockey League affiliate, the Phantoms.

The Phantoms have won two Calder Cups in their 12-year tenure in Philly and developed many Flyers prospects along the way. But there's a chance that connection could radically change when this season concludes.

With the Wachovia Spectrum scheduled for demolition next year, it was already known that the Phantoms probably would not be playing in Philadelphia in the future.

Tuesday night, Flyers president Peter Luukko disclosed that there's a good possibility the Phantoms will be sold and relocated to another city — such as Springfield, Mass. (the Falcons' contract with the Edmonton Oilers runs out this season) — while the Flyers maintain control of their players.

Such a move would allow Comcast-Spectacor to possibly wait several years to build a new arena nearby in places such as Allentown or Camden.

The Flyers have had an affiliate with the AHL since 1984-85 when they began an association with the Hershey Bears. The Flyers then moved their AHL connection to Philadelphia when they started the Phantoms in the 1996-97 season.

Luukko ruled out Atlantic City, Trenton and the Wachovia Center as possible temporary homes for the Phantoms.

I have a sick feeling that we're going to end up with no Phantoms, no Spectrum, and even then Philly Live! Dead. will be DOA because of lack of ability to secure funding to even get started. Not that I give a flying [reproductive act] about the fate of Philly Live! Dead., mind you -- I wish I'd never heard of it. But I just get this feeling that we fans are going to lose something we care about, for a project that will never end up seeing the light of day.

But even if Philly Live! Dead. dies on the vine, God forbid that The Greedy Powers-That-Be should spare the Spectrum and leave the Phantoms team where it is. That would be too big of a loss of face for the Corporate Bigwigs. So they'll continue with their plans, unabated, as if nothing's amiss -- until we end up with a big hole in the ground or an extra-large parking lot at Broad and Pattison as a testament to their bull-headedness.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Phantoms vs. Norfolk Admirals 12-20-08: Third Period, OT, Shootout

We just had some great D in the second minute of the period, to prevent Downie from getting to a loose puck in front of our net. He's flat-out dangerous on the ice, and I still curse the fact that the Phantoms lost him in a trade.

Fortunately,m we have a few dangerous guys of our own, and that would include Ross, Groux, and Kane, who are generating some scoring chances even as I type. Unfortunately, none went in yet, but we have already gotten five SOG in four minutes. If we keep this up, we will be listening to cheering fans before long.

Bartulis made a nice play to break up a Norfolk attack in our end. Laliberte has been on a roll, taking the puck up the ice for us just about every time he gets hold of it.

CRUD CRUD CRUD. Guenin went into the boards awkwardly and came up with his right arm dangling. Darn it. He made a beeline up the tunnel, along with the trainer. I suspect we will be playing with five D for the remainder of the contest.

Speaking of dented guys, Mihalik did make a return to the ice in the third period. I'm personally not convinced that a guy who was "out on his feet" should have been sent back into the game, but I'm the cautious sort when it comes to possible concussions. (And IMO, all teams shoud take a similar stance on that score.)

With 10:30 left in the third period, the SOG are Phantoms 25, Admirals 27. Our guys are really doing a great job keeping Norfok hemmed into their zone, and we are working our collective tails off in the attempt to tie this game again. Come on, guys, you can do it. One goal, that's all we need to even it up. Here comes Ross's line. Maybe they'll do us the honors. :) Ah, now we're going on the PP -- one of the benefits of preventing our opponent from clearing the puck for minutes on end: eventually, you'll draw a penalty. Syvret and DeSantis are out with Giroux, Ross, and Kane. We had a wee blip during this shift, as the Ads broke out shorthanded, but we regrouped and headed back down to camp in Norfolk's end. Now it's Ratchuk, Curry, Nodl, Laliberte, and Maroon. Still no luck. Two SOG have gotten on net, but none have gone in yet. Ratchuk had a shot blocked just as our PP ended. That was a nice move by the Norfolk player. (Dang it.)

With 5:43 left, SCOOOORE! :) Giroux buries the puck, assisted by Jared Ross. SWEEEET. We also lead on the shot clock, 29-27. That's what comes of practically living in the Ads' end for the entire third period so far. Of course, Nofrolk is not too happy and they are suddenly playing with a lot more energy. They got a 2-on-1 against us, but Bartulis stood his ground and let Munroe take care of the puck carrier. Save, Muny. The score remains 2-2. Now we're back to a lot of end to end play again. If all goes well, maybe Norfolk will be tired from defending nonstop for the vast majority of this frame.

Boy, does Laliberte ever have wheels. He took off with the puck like it was on fire, sprinted the lenfth of the ice, and got us another shot on goal.

As an aside, I would love to know whose glove has been lying at our half-boards for the past three or so shifts.

Last minute of play in the third period... Normally I would hate to see us give up a point to a divisional rival if we see OT from this contest, but given that we needed most of the game to tie the score, I won't gripe about that tonight.

Yep, we are about to go into the extra session. The SOG at the end of the third period are even at 30, and the score is 2-2.

On to OT. Our first grouping is Ross, Giroux, Bartulis, and Syvret. Aw, WHAT THE FLAME is this? The freakin' Admiral slams right into Munroe, and no call? On what planet is that not goalie interference? GRRR...

Anyway, we had a faceoff just outside our zone. Next group to come out: Laliberte, Nodl, Ratchuk, Curry. We are facing Downie on this shift, and his line came dangerously close to ending this game the wrong way, but Munroe made a nice save and kept the score even.

Next: Kane, Raduns, Syvret, Bartulis. A norfolk blast from the blue line was deflected hgh into the netting in the corner, so we're having another draw. I'd like to see us go and annoy the other netminder for a while, as Munroe has already stopped three shots in less than two minutes. Curry, DeSantis, Ross, and Giroux are takign the draw now in the neutral zone. NOW we look like we are going to break out . Finally. Yep, Ross is battling for the puck and came up with it in the corner behind their net. No SOG came of it, though. Finally, after yet another near-goal from Norfolk, Nodl and Maroon took it down and Maroon earned our first extra-session shot.

With 1:34 remaining in the OT, the Phantoms have 31 shots and Norfolk has 35. It's time to get back on that roll we were on earlier in the third period.

One minute left in the OT. Come on, guys, we can do this. I despise shootouts, so please give us a happy ending before the final horn sounds.

The Phantoms call a timeout with 43.9 seconds remaining in the period. We are about to have a draw just outside Norfolk's zone. Riss, Giroux, Syvret, and Bartulis are out. Yikes, the puck came over the glass and hit a little boy in the head. He's up and getting some first aid, but he's bleeding from I'm-not-sure-where and he's crying. Owie, poor little guy. I hope he's all right.

Shootout. PHOOEY. I freaking HATE SHOOTOUTS. Ending a team game with an individual skills competition is just not cool. But I'll take the bonus point for the skills contest, should we come out of this victorious. Better us than them, after all.

But it wasn't meant to be. Double Phooey. This is the first time in this entire season that we have lost an OT or shootout game. Norfolk 3, Phantoms 2.


#3 Ramo (Norfolk)
#2 Giroux
#1 Bochenski (Norfolk, GWG)

Phantoms vs. Norfolk Admirals 12-20-08: Second Period

Right before the second period began, Mihalik (SP, number 44) got ito a shouting match with Jef Szwez who was on our bench. The ref immediately sent them both to the sin bin for unsportsmanlike conduct. I told my husband, "That's a fight waiting to happen." Sure enough, four seconds after they returned to the ice, the fight started. Mihalik got in several solid punches, and I thought he was about to win a lopsided decision over Szwez... But then Swez tagged him solidly with a one-punch TKO. I don't think he was fully unconscious, but he was definitely out-of-it and he dropped like a rag doll. The ref started waving for the Norfolk trainer to come out, which he did. Szwez went back to the penalty box. Both guys were assessed five minutes for fighting. Mihalik also bled on the ice, as the ice crew had to come out to scrape clean the area where he landed.

The Phantoms came tantalizingly close to tyng the game, but unfortunately the freaking ref's whistle blew the play dead a fraction of a second before the puck slowly trickled out from under the goalie and into the net Naturally, a boo-fest ensued, and the guy in charge of music took the opportunity to play an excerpt from "Mr. Grinch". LOLOLOL...!

So we have 10:04 left in the second period, and I'm less than pleased that we only have two second-period shots credited to us. I would like to see us get more rubber on goal in the second half of this frame.

Clackson just fought with Rosehill, at the Norfolk halfboards. It was a relatively even bout, though it drew an extra round of cheerign when Clackson managed to disengage Rosehill's helmet partway through the proceedings. By the time the bout was over, Rosehill was holding his hand over his eye (whch led me to thnk he was cut, but now I'm not sure) and he was hollering a whole lot of unprintabillities at Clackson as the linesman skated him far, far away from his adversary. Eventually, both gladiators took their seats in the respective penalty boxes, where they have spent a good three minutes jawing at one another. It should be interesting to see what happens when they exit the box in another couple of minutes.

SCOOOOOORE, Jared Ross from Guenin and Giroux! That was the line that got the goal disallowed, so it's poetic justice that they would be the ones to tie the score with a beauty.We had a nice shot on goal from the right, and Ross was in perfect position at the left post to cash in the resulting rebound. SWEET. Now the score is 1-1, and the SOG are Phantoms 14, Admirals 15. There are six minutes remaining in the second period... And I am not so sure that we have seen Mihalik since that fight. Hmmm.

Crumbs. We gave up another PP goal with about two and a half minutes left in the period. (But not before Guenin blocked another couple of shots during the PK.) So far, we have given up two PP goals. This game hasn't been a penalty-fest overall (other than the fights, lol), so that should be our clue to stay out of the box as much as possible. I'm not sure if it's our PK that's having a rough go, or if Norfolk's PP is on a tear, but we don't need to give up any more of these dratted goals. Downie got the primary assist on this goal. 2-1, Bad Guys.

I'm none too happy that we are stil stuck n our end now that we are at even strength again. Bleep. Oh, lol, just as I type that, the Ross line comes barreling up the ice to put a shot on goal. :D Hey, maybe I should try using reverse psychology more often. ;)

OK, there goes the horn to end the second period. The Admirals lead 2-1. The SOG are Phantoms 15, Admirals 25. And I noticed that Clackson has a little bit of blood on his sleeve. Maybe he did inflict some collateral damage to Rosehill after all.

Phantoms vs. Norfolk Admirals 12-20-08: First Period

At the end of this afternoon's Flyers game, the Flyers called up Jonathon Kalinski and sent down Scott Munroe, who had served as Niittymaki's backup today.

Now, Munroe is starting for the Phantoms, making him the first player since (I believe) Freddy Meyer to dress for both teams in the same day. A few years ago, Meyer was called up and dressed for the Flyers in warmup. However, he was scratched from the game, so he was sent down and played for the Phantoms that night.

J-S Aubin is our backup tonight. This is the first time I've seen him on the ice since he injured himself during the game on Black Friday.

After tonight, the Phantoms will be off from December 21 through Christmas Day.

Randy Jones is not on the bench. He is eligible for one more Phantoms game before he HAS to go back to the FLyers or clear waivers and stay down. So maybe the Organ-eye-zation wanted to give themselves a little more leeway regarding getting the Fyers' D roster organized, as there's quite a logjam on the big club at the moment. If the team decides not to play Jones again, then our next game is on December 26. The Flyers will have until the day after that to fgure out what to do with their relatively large group of D, all of whom deserve to be seeing ice time with the way they have played lately.

Chris Gratton is with the Admirals and is on the ice right now. He just barely missed beng able to play against his cousin Josh, who's up with the Flyers and played this afternoon.

Steve Downie is also in the lineup for this game for the Admirals. We just had a shift where Downie and Clackson were on the ice together, and no fight occurred. However, we have only spent about three and a half minutes of game time yet; the night is young. :D

With 1:16 left in the first period and the SOG even at 4 apiece, the Phantoms are getting the first P of the game. Raduns, Maroon, and Nodl are on the ice for the first PP, with Ross and Syvret. IT's been a long time since we have had a four-forward PP unit. Ross is on the point, as he was for a lot of last season when Berube was our coach. Next up: Laliberte, Giroux, Kane, Ross, and Syvret. The ref's arm is up again, so we are going to get 37 secons of a two-man advantage. NICE. :)

Downie's going into the sin bin. Time to make Norfolk pay. Which we can't exactly do when the darn Ads clear the darn puck. Let's try this again. And again.

There goes the two-man advantage. But we still have over a minute of PP time remainng, so it's time to hop to it. Ratchuk/DeSantis are with laliberte, Maroon, and Raduns. We are having a bear of a time getting ourselves set up so far. It's the end of the PP, and Clackson is on the ice with Szwez and Nodl. There's a partial change now, as Clackson and Nodl stay out with Giroux, Bartulis, and Curry. Downie did not remain on the ice upon his exit from the sin bin; he went to the bench and was replaced by a different forward.

With 11:55 left in the period, the Phantoms have 7 SOG and the Admirals have 5.

Bellamy, Klotz, and Raduns are out as a line. Syvret/Guenin are the D pair. Guenin blocked a shot. Hey, I think I broke my streak of typing that phrase last night. Darn. We will have to start a new consecutive-game "Guenin blocked a shot" streak tonight. :)

We have had a lot of end-to-end rushing tonight, as well as last night and on Wednesday. In prior years, that was not the Phantoms' style and we usually lived to regret it if we played river hockey for too long. BUt in the past few games, we have been pretty much thrving with that style of play. Or at least, it hasn't come back to bite us. So FWIW, while I am not ready to dub this as "our new style of play", I like to think that maybe we will be the ones making the other teams regret getting into an end-to-end skating game. That goes double for if our opponents find themselves worn out by all the activity before the contest is over.

Oh, get real, ref, Guenin was just standing up to an attacker. I see the ref's arm up, so he's going to be sending Nasty Nate to the sin bin with 5:31 remaining in the first period. SOG at this time are even at 8 apiece. (Interference? Didn't the Norfolk guy have the puck two seconds before Guenin stood him up? What the hey?)

Yeah, thanks ref, now the darn Admirals are up by a PP goal That didn't take much time. Doggone it. Zebra 1, Phantoms 0. [scowl]

Giroux just got the puck swatted off his stick by a Norfolk guy as his line was trying to rush the puck. Every now and then he tries to create a play with something that's a bit more high-risk than you usually see at this level. This would be one of those times. But he's learning. He doesn't go for the low-percentage move as often now as he did early in the season.

AT the end of the first period, there is a scrum behind the Norfolk net. Downie s on the ice, no surprise. ;) Nothing much came of it, other than some vocabulary that I could lipread (and can't repeat here) as our guys were on their way bck to our bench.

Norfolk currently leads 1-0. SOG are even at 9 each.

Phantoms coverage from the team site: Friday wrapups and Saturday preview

First, here's an article, Seven Deadly Wins, the game recap which describes the Phantoms' current seven-game win streak. :) That's a nice pic they took with that in-goal camera.

Second, here's last night's box score.

Third, here's a game PREVIEW of tonight's game vs. the Norfolk Admirals. We will be welcoming Steve Downie back to the Spectrum tonight. Nobody at all will be surprised in the least if Downie and Matt Clackson end up dropping the gloves. Those two went at it multiple times during training camp, and they were arguably on the same side then. So do stay tuned for what could be a colorful game. :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Phantoms vs. Lowell 12-19-08: Third Period

Yikes, we just had quite a close call. Munroe stopped a shot at the left post, but the rebound went way to the right and right to a Devi. Fortunately, said Lowell player shot wide. However, on the same shift, Jeff Szwez picked up a penalty for Delay of the Game, so we are getting to see our PK unit in action. The first pairing was Giroux. Kane with Ratchuk/Guenin. Now it's Raduns/Nodl with Jones/Bartulis. We have done a good job of keeping the puck out of harm's way, and as a result, the penalty is killed. Time to head down and keep Frazee company at the other end of the ice now. ;)

This period is going rather like what we saw in the last game -- a LOT of end-to-end rushes. With 9:50 left in the period, the Phantoms have 26 SOG and the Devils have 25, so the action has been relatively even in this period.

We interrupt this blogging to announce that the scoring on the third goal of the Phantoms was just changed -- it's now credited to Raduns from Szwez and Syvret. We now return you to your regular recap. :D

Ross's line is out, and Ross went speeding up the ice with the puck like his skates were on fire. He fed the puck to Kane, whose shot on goal caused a huge rebound into the slot. Unfortunately, the ony player anywhere near it was wearing a Lowell jersey. Pity. That'd have been a nice goal.

Munroe has been looking good tonight. He's tracking the play well. Looks like having a couple of nights off hasn't hurt him in the slightest.

And we just came this-close to seeing Muny in his first pro goalie fight. The Phantoms literally crashed the Devils net, with Kalinski slamming into the post hard. Someone apparently bowled over the goalie -- I was too busy watching if Kalinski was OK to notice what else happened. But the upshot was that Frazee was sprawled in the crease, and there was a ten-skater shoving convention over by the boards. It looked for moment like Frazee was about to turn it into an eleven-player gathering, and the next thing I knew, there was Munroe at our blue line. Frazee did not get involved in fisticuffs, so Munroe remained at our end of the ice. But hey -- we have Neil Little, one of the better Brawling Goalies the league has seen, as our goaltending coach. In fact, he's staning right behind our bench even as I type. So I would expect that the Organ-Eye-Zation's attitude that all players stand up for one another is being imparted to our young'uns. :D

When all was said and done, we had some four-on-four skating for a while. Kalinski's two minutes for charging were counterbalanced by a Devil's roughing minor. As Constable Benton Fraser (see: /Due South/) would say, "Even Steven". :)

I like how our D is getting to loose pucks first when we're in front of Munroe. In particular Jones made a nice play earlier in the period, and I didn't see who just cleared away the oose disk right now (with less than four minutes remaining in the period), but his timing was impeccable as a Devil was about to try and nab the puck.

Now it's three minutes left in the period, and we are clogging the living dayliights out of the ice. Lowell is having a hard time getting through the neutral zone, because there's an array of white-and-purple jerseys right there for them to have to skate through. Aw, come on, ref, that guy tripped over his own feet, Kalinski had nothing to do with it. ;) Oh well. Great, just what we need: a PK with the goalie pulled with 90 seconds left in the frame. Giroux and Ross are out with Syvret and Guenin and SCOOOORE. Ross BLASTED the puck the length of the ice, straight into the empty net. 5-2, Phantoms. The assist went to Giroux.

After the next faceoff, Guenin BURIED a Devil. I think there's a dent in our half- boards where the hit made contact. NICE stuff. :)

Game over -- the Good Guys win! Phantoms 5, Devils 2, and the Phantoms lead in SOG 31-27.


#3 Rheaume (Lowell)
#2 Nodl
#1 Kalinski

Phantoms vs. Lowell Devils 12-19-08: Second Period

When Giroux is with Ross and Kane, he is on the wing and Ross takes the faceoffs. However, I noticed that when he is with the first PP unit tonight, Kane and Laliberte, it's Giroux taking the faceoffs. That made me do a double-take when the period began and I noticed Giroux in the faceoff circe.

We have had a largely interruption-free second period so far. With eight and a half minutes gone, the Devils' penalty came to an end without incident and there have been no additional infractions called against either side. We did have one extended period where Munroe had to be on his toes, as we couldn't seem to get the flipping puck out of our zone for love or money. Fortunately, we withstood that flurry, and shortly thereafter we came up with a scoring opportunity of our own. Kalinsky charged the net with the puck and shot point-bank. Oh, if only there had been a rebound, he would have been in perfect position to put it in, as the goalie was flat on the ice. However, the netminder activated his Gravitational Field, and absorbed the shot.

But within a shift or two, the Phantoms extended the lead to 3-1 on a nice sequence. Szwez tallied the goal, with assists to Raduns and Syvret.

Unfortunately, the drattted Devils aren't going to just Go Away Quietly. Not long after that, Rheaume-of-the-high-elbow, AKA the brother of Manon Rheaume, scored, assisted by former Phantom Rosario Ruggeri. 3-2, and our lead was back down to one.

Well, the Phantoms and Kalinski in particular aren't Going Away Quietly, either. Within moments, Kalinski took the puck and fired it on net, and this time there was no time for Frazee's Gravitational Field to kick in. The puck found the twine, and the Phantoms' two-goal lead was restored. 4-2, Good Guys. :) The goal was unassisted.

With 6:47 remaining in the second period, the Phantoms lead on the shot clock, 18-16.

Someone just sprinted up the tunnel with an equipment guy following close on his heels. I didn't see what number was on his jersey, but as long as it was an equipment guy and not the trainer, I'm not worried.

The second period has ended with the Phantoms leading 4-2, and leading on the shot clock 22-19. For the first time in a couple of games, we spent the final minute of a period going into an intermission without having a penalty called on either team. So we'll start the third period at even strength.

Phantoms vs. Lowell Devils 12-19-08: First Period

Scratches: Duchesne, Aubin, DeSantis, Matsumoto (!!!), Beaulieu, Hersley

Start: Munroe, Bartulis, Jones, Ross, Giroux, Kane

What in heck -- I wonder why Matsumoto is scratched? Crud. I hope it's nothing major.

Munroe has been returned to the Phantoms, as has Andreas Nodl. Josh Gratton was recalled to the Flyers. Randy Jones is with us for his second of a maximum three rehab games. Chances are good that tomorrow night will be his third game, as the Phantoms are playing

Nodl's linemates are Maroon and Kalinski (three rookies. Ratchuk (another rookie) is out with Curry on the same shift. We have six D tonight, and it's Guenin/Syvret, Ratchuk/Curry, Bartulis/Jones.

Son of a gun. Exactly two minutes into the contest, the first shot by either team was flipped up in the air and arced over Munroe's shoulder. Phooey.1-0, Bad Guys. Moments later, the Devils' second shot was the result of a goalmouth scramble. Two Devils plus three Phantoms plus Munroe in the crease were duelling for the puck, but Munroe came up with the biscuit and stopped play.

Szwez and Frazer dropped the gloves with 16:31 left in the period. I thought for a moment that the fight would be over before it began, as Szwez lost his footing and went down. But he bounced right back up again before the linesmen could call a halt to the proceedings, and resumed fighting. There followed a pretty decent exchange of punches between players. The end result, however, was Szwez managing to wrestle Fraser down to the ice hard, then landing on top of him. This time there was no resumption of festivities, as the linesmen did move in to settle matters.

With about 14-and-a-half minutes left in the period, we are awaiting a delayed penalty call so we can head onto the PECOOOO POWER PLAY. Syvret and Jones took to the ice with Nodl, Ross, and Maroon. That's a *completely* redone PP grouping, except that Ross (forward) and Syvret (D) are on the first unit. Now with 1:25 left in the PP, Kane, Giroux, and Laliberte are out with Curry and Ratchuk. The dratted Devils keep managing to clear the puck -- that's twice on this shift that they've sent the puck down the length of the ice. One of those attemts actualy became a SOG that Munroe had to stop. Now, with the final half-minute of the PP, our first unit is back out. We've had three SOG so far with this man advantage, but created only one real threat, and that was early on in the PP.

OH! But SCOOOOOORE anyway! Ross passed the puck east-west over to someone parked at the bottom of the right faceoff circle -- Giroux -- just as Munroe was banging his stick on the ice to signal the end of the PP. Giroux fired it into the open net. The goal was not a PP goal, so their guy must have just gotten out of the sin bin when the puck entered the net. The score is now 1-1.

Moments later, Leblond and Klotz had an absolute freaking marathon bout. I mean *unbelievably* long. Klotz appears to have enough reach on Leblond that he was able to hold him at arm's length and prevent some of the punches from connecting. However, Leblond did land a few, includng one directly to Garrett's face that resulted in Klotz extending the stiff-armed grip on Leblond's jersey and shaking his head for a few moments. I honestly thought he got injured by that shot. However, Klotz regrouped and came back with some huge punches of his own, and he made sure they counted. I figured it would be done soon after that, but no -- the players both had a few solid sets of two-or-three punches apiece to exchange before the linesmen finally moved in. That drew boos from the rowd, as both players were actually still throwing when the zebras intervened.

Gah. Crapola. Maroon took an open-ice hit on the next shift, and came up lame He limped back to the bench, which is never what one wants to see. But he did limp back under his own power, and he didn't head up the tunnel, so maybe it's something he'll be able to skate off. I hope so.

Sure enough, it's a few minutes later and there Maroon is on the all-rookie line. Reminds me of those Coburn "But I came back" NHL commercials. :) On the next shift, I saw that Szwez was finished serving his five-minute major for fighting, because he's out there with Raduns and Laliberte.

Rheaume got his elbows high on Szwez in front of the Phantoms bench, which takes some freaking doing because Jeff is a tall guy. He glared at the Devil, but determined that this wasn't the time or place to retaliate. Heck, we have some of the first period and all of the final two frames left to go -- this is when a player's best option is to take the name and number and get back to the opposing guy later.

Between the absence of Matsumoto and Gratton, and the presence of Nodl and Klotz, the only line that appears to remain unchanged is Ross/Kane/Giroux. Even then, the three of them are split between two PP units tonight instead of all being on the first unit. Every other forward line has at least one new face on it.

Nice backchecking by Szwez there -- he took the puck away from a Lowell player before the Devil could take a shot on goal or his red-clad mates could get set up in our end. Play proceeded back the other way, but now there's a game of keep-away going on in the Lowell zone. The Devils are trying to get the puck out of our reach so they can break out.

The Devils actually did get a rush going, but it was to no avail. We got the puck back, headed down to the Lowell end, and took a point-blank shot that clanged loudly off the post. However, it may have deflected off the goalie... I didn't see how it got into the net, but suddenly the Phantoms were celebrating and the red light was signaling SCOOOORE. In it went, and the Phantoms are the proud owners of a 2-1 lead, late in the first period. Andreas Nodl did the honors of burying the puck in the net, picking right back up where he left off prior to being called up. :)

With 18.8 seconds remaining in the first period, the Phantoms are being awarded another PP. Kalinski, Maroon, and Nodl are out to start the PP. Jones and Syvret are the D.

The period ended without much more ado. The Phantoms will have 1:42 of PP time remaining when the second period begins. The score is 2-1, Good Guys, and the SOG are Phantoms 13, Devils 9.

Ups and Downs -- the Flyers make some roster moves

We've had a few adjustments to the Phantoms roster today.

Scott Munroe and Andreas Nodl were returned to the Phantoms. Josh Gratton was called up.

The Phantoms play tonight at home; the Phantoms and Flyers BOTH play at home on Saturday. Fortunately, however, the games are at different times. The Flyers game is in the afternoon, and the Phantoms game is in the evening. But the long and short of it is that we'll be able to see all three of these players in action tonight and/or tomorrow.

Randy Jones remains on a rehab stint with the Phantoms. He is eligible to play up to two more games with us before returning to the Flyers. Again, tonight and tomorrow are likely to comprise those two games.

We'll be hosting the Lowell Devils tonight. Norfolk, including former Flyer/Phantom Steve Downie, will be here tomorrow night. Mark your calendars if you're interested in seeing a few fisticuffs, as it's highly likely that Clackson and Downie will go. They fought multiple times during training camp, and they were on the same TEAM then. Now that they're one another's opponents in earnest, I won't be the least bit surprised to see a couple pairs of gloves hit the ice on Saturday night.

But first things first. Our task today is to demolish the Devils. We can think more about tomorrow after tonight's game is finished. Go Phantoms!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Phantoms vs. Binghamton Senators 12-17-08: Recap and Box Score

Here's the link to the Phantoms site's game recap. Last night was the first time in a while that I attended a game where the Phantoms didn't score a powerplay goal. Darn the Sens, they really had our number when they were shorthanded last night (to the point when they even put in a SH goal on us). Well, on to Friday and Saturday (Lowell and Norfolk), where I hope our PP goes back to its normal level of effectiveness.

Here's the box score, courtesy of the AHL site. Karlsson took *7* shots on us last night? Yikes. Hey, Ottawa, call him up! Preferably right before our next game against Bingo. ;)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Phantoms vs. Binghamton Senators 12-17-08: Third Period

In the first minute of the third period, we had one Senator (44) get nailed by a shot on goal. The puck went waaaay up in the air, and the Bingo player was flat on the ice. Fortunately, the trainer was able to get him back on his feet and he didn't appear to be too much the worse for wear, after a bit of recovery time.

However, on the same stoppage of play, it was announced that the Senators had drawn a penalty for high-sticking. That's the good news. The gad news is that with fifteen seconds remaining in the man advantage, we have yet to get a puck on net. We did manage to get a couple of shots on goal once the penalty was over, however... And for whatever reason, when a Senator defender in the crease cross-checked one of our guys practically in the face, Bingo did not end up right back on the PK. Well, whatever -- as long as the ref is equally lenient to both teams, then I'd just as soon let the players control the flow of the game and not the officials.

Ha, Raduns returned the favor in front of our net, applying a two-hander just below a Senator's nameplate and sending him sprawling. Again, no call.

However, when the Phantoms broke out of our zone, Yablonski of Bingo got called for hooking, so evidently the ref is not going to just let everything go. With 14 minutes left and the Phantoms on the PP, the SOG are Phantoms 14, Senators 23.

Drat it all -- Again. the Senators got out of their zone shorthanded. Ratchuk showed a nice burst of speed catching up to the Senator. When all was said and done, with ten seconds left in the Senators' penalty, they took another one for slashing. So we will have ten seconds of a two-man advantage before resuming 5-on-4 play.

I can see that the two-man advantage will come to nothing, as the Sens cleared the puck the length of the ice. However, we're back on the offense again with a minute remaining in the current PP. We are having a few defensive miscues here and there, permitting the darned Senators to get out of their zone, but luckily we have been able to prevent additional damage being done while Bingo is shorthanded.

With 31 seconds left in our PP, Binghamton got called for tripping. The Phantoms called a 30-second timeout -- a good idea, given how ineffective-looking our PPs have been for most of this game. For a team that's normally got a lethal PP, I expect us to garner more opportunities than we've been doing in this game. Ah, now that's more like it. Syvret blasted one from the top of the slot, and Ross and Kane were by the net looking to swat at rebounds. A goalmouth scramble ensued. We won the faceoff that came out of the goalie freezing the puck, and Syvret and Jones were instrumental in making sure the puck remained in the zone. Unfortunately, all we have to show for all that time on the man advantage so far is five shots on goal, plus we allowed two pucks to reach Teslak in the interim.

Teslak just made a nice stop on a shot that came his way after a LONG gap between Binghamton SOG. Due to the string of Binghamton penalties, we have spent most of this period at the other end of the ice.

Tonight, we have seven D, which has been the norm rather than the exception during the past few weeks. Bartulis, Ratchuk, Jones, Guenin, DeSantis, Syvret, and Curry are our D.

With 3:12 left, I can see Shawn Hill in the tunnel with the list of Stars of the Game. I have a feeling that with the game still undecided, there are a few conditional choices on there (like "GWG scorer", for example). I remember a game a few seasons ago which wound up going into OT. The Emcees usually try to hold the list so that no one can read them in advance of the announcement of the stars, but that night, the list said "#1 winning goal scorer, #2 winning goalie, #3 losing goalie". Can you tell that contest was a goalie duel? :)

THIS game has had its share of heroics between the pipes, as well, particularly from Teslak who has stopped 30 of 32 with 1:46 left to play. I'm very pleased to see him playing like this, especially since he has hardly seen any ice time since his arrival to back up Munroe. I think the only game he got into was that Hershey blowout a few weeks ago, and even then he didn't start the game -- he came in in relief. In my mind, I see Teslak as belonging among the stars of this game if all goes well.

I'm also pleased with Jones's first game back after having hip surgery in the fall. I'm glad they decided to let him do a rehab stint down here, so he can get his game legs back and make sure his conditioning is up to par.

We are about to go into OT -- the SOG at the end if the third period are Phantoms 22, Senators 32.

Our first OT grouping is Ross, Giroux, Syvret, and Guenin. And Teslak made a NICE NICE NICE glove save on a bomb from the blue line. Oh, yeah, that's what I like to see. :)

Faceoff -- and it's Matsumoto and Kalinski with Bartulis and Jones. It looks a little unusual to see Jones with a shield on now, as I'm used to seeing him on the Flyers without one. Of course, if I had my way, all players would wear eye protection.

MATSUMOTO GETS A BREAKAWAY -- dang, has he ever got wheels. :) Unfortunately, Elliott has an answer for the puck sent his way, and the game remains tied.

Kalinski remains out, but Raduns replaces Matsumoto on the next shift. We won the faceoff and SCOOOOOORE -- Raduns tips it in! NICE!

Stars of the game:

#3: Bois (Binghamton)
#2: Giroux
#1 Raduns (GWG scorer -- see what I mean? :) )

Phantoms vs. Binghamton Senators 12-17-08; Second Period

We have some changes in scoring: the secondary assist is now credited to Ross. The second goal is now credited to Josh Gratton.

The Phantoms started the second period with 1:10 remaining in their penalty kill. Ross and Giroux came out with Guenin and Syvret. Their replacements were Curry and Jones (LOL, if you're an Alias Smith and Jones fan, having those names in the same sentence will be a source of amusement), and Raduns and Kalinski. Gratton came out as our third forward once Bartulis was sprung from the sin bin.

Once we returned to even strength, we started having a lot of end-to-end play. So far, four minutes into the period, each team has shot on goal once, so there hasn't been a lot of actual offense generated, but boy are these guys giving their legs and the ice a workout. Ratchuk's shot on goal came from the top of the slot, and was a blast through a lot of traffic; Elliott had to make a nice stop to keep it out.

Now Kid Curry -- oops, that's the Alias Smith and Jones character, I mean SEAN Curry ;) is in the box for the Phantoms. Ross, Giroux, Guenin, and Syvret are out for the first PK minute, as usual. There was a huge goalmouth scramble that was worth a good three Sens SOG, but Teslak was sharp and the puck stayed out.

With ten minutes remaining in the period, the SOG are Phantoms 8, Senators 14. The score remains 2-0, Phantoms. There's a scrum going on in the corner to Teslak's right. When the dust cleared, the Phantoms found themselves on the PECOOOOOO POWER PLAY. Matsumoto, Maroon, Laliberte, DeSantis, and Syvret took to the ice for the man advantage; however, eight seconds into the PP, the freaking Senators put in a SH goal. [Insert unprintable vocabulary here.] I can't help but notice that former Phantom Marc Cavosie got the secondary assist on Binghamton's goal.

Well, we certainly have lots of PP time to get that goal back, so let's do it. The same five guys who started out on the PP remained on the ice for approximately the first half of the advantage. Then Giroux, Ross, and Kane came out, along with Ratchuk and Curry. Ratchuk took another blast from the top of the slot, but this time there seemed to be a bit less traffic in front of Elliott, and he saw it all the way. We did, however, get an offensive zone draw as a result, as he had to freeze the puck.AT the end of the PP, Gratton, Kalinski, and Clackson came out. Jones was out with Bartulis as well. I'm glad there was experience combined with youth on that shift, as we got hemmed into our zone for a bit longer than I would have liked to see. But there was no harm done. There was not a lot else done, other than skating the length of the ice repeatedly for the next few minutes.

We managed to survive a LONG delayed penalty sequence before the whistle finally blew. With 1:33, Syvret went to the box, and the SOG were Phantoms 12, Senators 21. And I have discovered that there's only one thing more annoying than taking a late period penalty and having to start the next period shorthanded. That would be taking a late penalty and giving up a late PP goal. [Presume that more unprintabilites have been uttered.] The score is now 2-2 at the end of the second period, and the SOG are Phantoms 12, Senators 23.

Phantoms vs. Binghamton Senators 12-17-08: First Period

Teslak is in goal, as Scott Munroe has accompanied the Flyers on their trip to Montreal. Jeremy Duchesne has been called up to back him up. Randy Jones is with the Phantoms, wearing his Flyers number 6.

Matt Clackson fought with Carkner two seconds into the game, literally. Carkner got the upper hand and won by a pretty generous margin, but props to Clackson for going. I've noticed that Clackson can find a willing partner in just about every game in which he drops the gloves. I think it's because even though he's a rookie, he plays the right way and doesn't act like a dumbhead on the ice. So he gets a level of respect from more established tough guys that other rookies might not be granted this early in their careers.

Jones assisted on the Phantoms' first goal, which was from Claude Giroux. We were getting outshot by a margin of 4-1 at the time that we scored it. Our second goal also came from a rookie --Jonathan Kalinski That was our 4th shot of the game.

Jeff Szwez got into a fight with Fata -- I couldn't see over some fans for the early part of the bout, but toward the end it appeared to me that Szwez had avenged Clackson's loss nicely.:)

BWAHA. Poor Jeremy Duchesne. It's clear that they didn't have a jersey ready for him in advance... He's standing in the tunnel with a misspelled name across his shoulders. Ladies and Gentlemen, say hello to Mr "Duchense". ;) I presume that they will have that nameplate replaced or repaired before his next outing in a Phantoms uniform.

Oh, how I hate PKs at the end of a period. Bartulis has been dispatched to the sin bin. Our first PK pairing of Ross and Giroux held the fort for the final 50 seconds of the period. At the end of the first period, the Phantoms led the Senators 2-0, and the SOG are Phantoms 4, Senators 5.
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