Click the banner below to see "The Final Countdown" video by Europe

Click the banner below to see "The Final Countdown" video by Europe
The final pro hockey game at the Spectrum has been played.

Friday, December 19, 2008

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.

No comments:

CLICK HERE to watch "The Final Countdown" video by Europe