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

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Phantoms vs. Albany River Rats, 1-31-09: Second Period

BEAU starts the second period off with a bang! :) A few minutes after Guenin came inches from assisting on a goal in his first game back, Beaulieu took a rebound and fired it past a prone Manzato to open the scoring. Assists went to Jared Ross and Boyd Kane. Then we nearly made it 2-0 on the following shift. It looks like we started this frame by coming out with guns blazing, and that's never a bad thing. Eeee, Munroe just had to make a diving poke check, but at that point a delayed penalty against us got called, and Sean Curry went to the box for hooking.

Nice pad save by Munroe. SOG prior to the penalty had been 14-14; now they're 17-14 in favor of Albany. Matsumoto charges up ice and, despite the two Abany D trying to cover him, attempts to take a SH shot on goal. As the River Rats start skating the puck back into our nd, Curry's penalty expires and we are back at even strength. Another bullet dodged. SOG remain 17-14.

Here comes another penalty kill with 4:52 left in the period. SOG are Albany 18, Phantoms 16, and Rob Bellamy was flagged for holding.

Guenin and Syvret are our D pair out with Ross and Kane. Next are Parent and Bartulis with Matsumoto and Laliberte. Interestingly, next is Ross and Raduns, Parent and Syvret. The penalty is now killed, and we only gave up one shot on goal. Nice work.

With 1:20 left in the period, we're going on the PP. At least the ref's being relatively even-handed with the calls so far. Ross Kane, Laliberte, DeSantis, and Syvret are out, and oooooo, one of Albany's defenders came THIS close to closing his hand on the puck just outside the crease. Thou Shalt Not do these things, and it seems he realized just in time and put his wrist over the loose disk. Everyone hacked at the puck for a few more seconds before the ref finally blew play dead.

The period is ended. The Phantoms will have 40 seconds of PP time remaining at the start of the third period. The SOG are Albany 19, Phantoms 17.

Phantoms vs. Albany River Rats, 1-31-09: First Period

The good news" Nate Guenin and Boyd Kane are back in the lineup. The not-so-hot news: Andreas Nodl is scratched. Klotz is also scratched, as well as Hersley. To make room in the lineup, Chris Zarb was reassigned to Mississippi earlier in the week. Ross has got an A on his jersey, as Kane has resumed wearing the C.

44 seconds into the contest, we start off with my unfavorite penalty, Delay of the Game. I never liked seeing our NHL team get saddled with a penalty when the puck was cleared over the glass, and I like it even less now that the rue has migrated down to the AHL level. (Unlike most rules, which get a test run at the AHL level first, then move up if they're deemed satisfactory.)

I expect to see our lines looking a bit more "normal" tonight, as opposed to what we've seen in the past few weeks with Kane out and Briere in. Matsumoto, Sirianni, and Maroon are out together. So were Ross, Kane, and Laliberte at the start of the game. Clackson, Bellamy, and Raduns appear to be a line, also.

I can see that we are gong to get another penalty, as the ref's arm is up. With 13"49 left in the period, Raduns goes for tripping. We have one shot on goal so far, compared to ALbany's 4 shots.

Matsumoto and Laliberte are the first PK pairn and Laliberte nearly got a breakaway for a SH scoring opportunity. Guenin and Syvret are the D. Unfortunately, a Rats defender stripped him of the puck at the Albany blue line. Next up, Ross and Kane, with Parent and Bartulis. After them, Matsumoto and Laliberte were out again.

At the end of the penalty, the SOG are Abany 8, Phantoms 2.

Ryan and Beaulieu are our fourth liners; this time, we have them out with Matsumoto. We have seven D dressed (Bartulis, Ratchuk, Guenin, DeSantis, Syvret, Curry, and Parent).

Parent and Albany's #36 level one another behind the Phantoms net. (He keeps facing the wrong way, so I can't see his name.)

Wow, we really have a houseful tonight. Most of the first level is occupied, and along the sides of the second level, most of the seats are full as well. Only on the ends are the sections sparsely occupied, but even then every section has at least some people in it. Nice.

A River Rat just stole the puck from one of our guys at the blue line, resulting on a clear shot on net. Munroe saw it all the way, however, and froze the puck, so no harm done. ('Cept maybe a certain forward buying his former college teammate a dinner. ;) )

We are now being outshot 11-3, or at least we were until Matsumoto got the puck in the slot. He fired on net, and while it didn't go in, it bumped our total up by one. Nowe we seem to be hemming the Rats into their own end, which is something we haven't done in this game until now. By the time the puck got frozen, we had improved our shot clock stats to 11-6, plus we drew a penalty on the deal. Oh, make that TWO penalties, as the River Rat got two for roughing and two for unsportsmanlike conduct. So we have four minutes to try and draw first blood before the period is out.

First PP unit: Ross, Kane, and Laliberte, with Syvret nd DeSantis. The Rats are doing a good job of holdng us off, but we are set up in their zone. We finally get a darn puck through traffic, but the goalie freezes it and we'e going to an offensive-zone faceoff. Matsumoto, Sirianni, and Maroon are out with Curry and Ratchuk now. A minute and a half into the four minute man advantage, we have only gotten one shot on goal. C'mon, guys, let's have at these Rats. Albany keeps finding ways to clear the darn puck on us. FINALLY, another puck on net, and another faceoff. And another cleared puck, dagnab it. One minute left in the man advantage, and the ref's arm is up in OUR zone. Looks like that's the end of our PP: DeSantis is making his way to the sin bin. So we will have 56 seconds of 4 on 4, followed by a PK.

Matsumoto, Raduns, Bartulis, and Parent are out. And we can't seem to get the heck out of our zone at 4 on 4, which doesn't bode especially well for when the Rats get their player back. Nowe we're on the PK, but Ross manages to get the puck and makes a nice air-dump of a clear. Laliberte an Raduns are the next PK pair. OH, we got our player back and followed it up with a GREAT scoring chance, but it stayed out of the net. Beans. We have 51 seconds remaining in the period now. Clackson, Matsumoto, and Bellamy are on the ice. Looks like the third and fourth line combinations are going to be a little bit on the fluid side tonight.

The period is over. The score remains 0-0, and the SOG are Phantoms 9, River Rats 11.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Phantoms vs. Lake Erie Monsters: Recap and Box Score

Here is the recap of the game from the Phantoms site. I loved seeing this team Dig Deep to come up with the W right at the end of the game. If anything (besides getting our top guys back from injury/callup) vaults us into a playoff spot, and keeps us going in the postseason, it will be the complete absence of quit in this team. This game is just more proof that there's no way to count us out until the game is truly over. GOOD. That's exactly how things SHOULD be. It's exactly how the rest of the top guys on our roster will have to play in order to make it to The Show, so it's good to see them on the right track now.

Here is the box score of the game from the AHL's site.

Next up: most of the team gets a week off. Danny Syvret and Jared Ross are headed to the AHL All-Star Classic. Syvret will play for Team Canada, and Ross will play for PlanetUSA.

Phantoms vs. Lake Erie Monsters 1-24-09: Third Period

Wow, a PECOOOO POWER PLAY in the third period! Finalmente! The Monsters had too many men on the ice. We have Laliberte, Ross, DeSantis, Syvret, and Nodl on the ice to start. Bacashihua came way out to stop a shot, but we couldn't quite strip the puck from him so it stayed out. The Monsters did manage to clear the puck, however. Matsumoto, Maroon, Sirianni, Ratchuk, and Curry were next. Ratchuk nearly duplicated his end-to-end goal rush from last year, holy cow :). The darn party-pooper Monsters didn't oblige by allowing a goal this time, however.

SCOOOORE with 9:30 left! This time, it was the Phantoms who were hemming the Monsters into their end, and we kept at it until it paid off! MAROOOON from Sirianni and Matsumoto (told you those two guys were going to put themselves on the box score!), and the score is 2-2! PLUS, we are outshooting Lake Erie 22-21 into the bargain, after trailing on the shot clock for the majority of the game.

LOL, I took a photo of Matsumoto rushing the puck, looked at it after I took it, and realized that he was being hooked from behind. Simultaneously with that realization, I saw the ref's arm go up. We have another PECOOOO POWER PLAY. Which, unfortunately we have yet to register a shot on goal during, though we have given up two SH shots incuding one breakaway. We still have 22 SOG, just as we did prior to the PP starting.

Meanwhile, we have had two goalmouth scrambles in front of Munroe, which a combination of his acrobatics and some pure good fortune kept the puck out of the net. The good fortune happened when the puck was loose in the crease, and the Monster who intended to bat it in missed it entirely as Munroe dove for it and fell slightly short. Hey, luck is never a bad thing.

SCOOOORE with 19 seconds left!!! OMG!!! Matsumoto is the hero, assisted by Sirianni and Curry! What did I tell you about Matsumoto and Sirianni tonight?

Aw for crying out FREAKING LOUD, wth 10.7 seconds left, we get a penalty to Raduns for Delay of Game. DRAT that dratted stupid rule! Phantoms call timeout. Lake Erie's net is empty. SOG are Phantoms 23, Monsters 32. On the ice are Ross, Syvret, Parent, Matsumoto. We hold on for those final few seconds, and eke out the win! WTG, Phantoms -- what a great way to head into the All-Star break!

Phantoms vs. Lake Erie Monsters 1-24-09: Second Period

Bellamy just took a nice shot on goal that caused Bacashihua to leave a huge rebound. If Raduns had been a few feet farther forward, he would have had an opportunity to try and one-time that rebound in. Just one of those "luck of the draw" things. Now it's a minute later, and Zarb, the newly christened forward, is on a rush with Ross and Maroon. He had a chance at a shot on goal, but it hgot hung up in the skates of a couple of Monsters players. Hey, give him an E for effort, as I'm not sure how often it is that he's the first guy arriving at the opposing net with the puck.

Watch it, Muny, the Monsters are starting to buzz in our end. We need to get a clear or a breakout soon... Aw, crud. Not soon enough. With 14:26, the Monsters tie the score at 1-1. Phooey. SOG are Phantoms 12, Monsters 15. It appears that Lake Erie called a timeout. It wasn't announced, but Lake Erie's timeout count on the board has been decremented to zero, and we did see the 30-second countdown clock right after the goal was scored.

With 13:39 remaining in the period, the Phantoms now have the opportunity to kill a penalty. Matsumoto is being charged with slashing. The fans beg to differ. ;)

Ross, Syvret, Laliberte, and Parent are out. Ross is now ruishing the puck up the ice, and whoooa, I think we just got away with a too many men situation. I saw five white jerseys plus the goalie, and we are killing a penalty. Lake Erie had the puck anyway, so maybe that's why we didn't get penalized. Either way, no harm done to either team.

At the end of the penalty, SOG are Phantoms 12, Monsters 17. So we were pretty effective at killing that infraction off.

Matsumoto is in great form tonight -- it seems like every other time I see him, he's lugging the puck up the ice at full speed. Here's to seeing him get some Nice Results in the box score for his efforts.

Aha -- the Lake Erie timeout was just restored to the clock. I guess someone hit a button by mistake. This explains why the timeout was never announced -- it wasn't really a timeout. (Calling a timeout immediately after your own team calls a goal would be a bizarre bit of logic, at best.)

Arrrgh -- thanks to a couple of genius fans who were coming back from the concession stand and blocking people's line of sight, I couldn't see exactly what led up to the Monsters' goal with 7:57 left in the period. All I know is that play went pretty much straight in on our net, and the next thing I could see was our goal light going on. 2-1, Bad Guys.

On a lighter note, I just turned around to check who's in the press box and I do believe I see Garrett Klotz sitting there with other scratched guys. Haaa-le-freaking-LUJAH.

We are having issues getting the freaking puck out again. Bellamy tried and nearly succeeded, we collapsed in front of our goalmouth to keep the puck out of the net, and Bartulis freaking BURIED a guy in the corner. Finally, we got out and earned ourselves an offensive-zone draw. With 2:12 left in the period, it would behoove us to hurry and get the equalizer before the intermission.

I like Sirianni in this game. He keeps creating opportunities to either score a goal or earn an assist. If he keeps it up, I honestly think he wil get results.

OK, now it's crunch time -- just under a mnute remains in the period. Raduns, Matsumoto, Bellamy, Bartulis, and Curry are out. That's a slight tweak to the third line (Matsumoto swapped with Clackson). OMG, coach is onto something. We just got a trainload of opportunities from Matsumoto, Bellamy, Parent (who came on after the faceoff), Laliberte (ditto). GAAAH, so close to putting a goal in. But the clock was not our friend, and the period ended with the SOG Phantoms 17, Monsters 21, and the score Monsters 2, Phantoms 1.

Phantoms vs. Lake Erie Monsters 1-24-9: First Period

Scratches: Guenin, Klotz (no surprise there, after last night's game, poor guy), Kane, Hersley, Szwez.
Starters: Munroe, Syvret, Parent, Ross, Laliberte, Maroon

I was told prior to the game that Garrett Klotz is planning to attend tonight's game. You can bet I'll be looking in the press box to see if he's there. Heck, I'll just be happy to find out that he's out of the hospital, period and end of sentence. Anything beyond that, just barely 24 hours after a punch to the head caused him to go into convulsions on the ice, would be amazing.

I had a word with the people at the Information Desk last night, regarding an error in the "Games Left" countdown banners.They were showing one more game left than we actually have. They must have double-checked their math and realized their mistake, because tonight's game has the correct number on it. :)

WOW! 25 seconds into the game Laliberte scored on our first shot Assists to Ross and (I missed the secondary assist). I'll see if I can get the secondary assist from the box score later.

That was a great start to the game, obviously. Even better was that Munroe came up with some acrobatics to keep the puck out, wHhen Lake Erie had THEIR first scoring opportunity of the game.

I keep turning around to see which of our scratched players are in the press box. The only one I see in there so far is Boyd Kane.

Good grief, the names on Lake Erie's jerseys are in a stupendously hard-to-read font. I do, however, see Jesse Boulerice standing by the boards in front of us, at an angle that makes his name easy to pick out. Boulerice is another one of our alumni whom I like. But as I said about Marty Murray last night, Jesse's welcome to have a quiet game tonight. :)

That goal has been our only shot so far. With 13 minutes and change left, we have faced 4 shots and gotten one puck on net. Ha ha, just as I finished that sentence, we got a great scoring chance. Make that "two pucks on net".

Zarb is sitting with the forwards, even though he is normally a defenseman. I guess that tells us who is filling in for Klotz while he's injured.

Boy, Munroe has been extremely sharp in these first nine minutes. He's had to be. Lake Erie keeps coming up with point-blank shots. We4 are going to have to stop giving up opportunities like that as well as starting to create more chances of our own. Munroe has been solid, but the law of averages does not favor any team that gives its opponent one prime chance after another for an entire game.

Freakin' 25 from Lake Erie just deliberately broke Clackson's stick in two. No call -- he got away with one there. (Sorry, but my middle-aged eyes can't read the darn name on the jersey when he's on the opposite side of the ice.)

Zarb, Ryan, and Beaulieu are out -- I'm presuming that they're our fourth line tonght.

Holy cow... How long have we been playing without a break??? We have 6:33 left in the period, the game is still going, and it's only 7:21. This is without doubt the longest I have ever seen a pro hockey game move without a stoppage.

FINALLY, with 5:55 left, Munroe makes a superb stop to freeze the puck. I should hope that the officials are going to take advantage of the break to get a drink of water or something. *I'm* tired and I wasn't the one skating end to end for the past several minutes.

Raduns, Clackson, and Bellamy are our third line, as they were last night following Klotz's injury. Ratchuk and Curry are a D pair. So are Syvret/Parent and Bartulis/DeSantis.

Nodl makes a nice defensive play to take a rebound out of harm's way. He gets it to Clackson, who starts a rush, though he doesn't make it all the way into the Monsters' end.

We've done a good job of evening out the SOG. With 1:45 left, the Phantoms have 8 shots compared to the Monsters' 9. Good -- I'm tired of seeing us get massively outshot. Let's keep the shot totals this close, shall we? ;)

Say, unless I miss my guess, we haven't had any penalties called yet in this game. At the end of the first period, the SOG are Phantoms 9, Monsters 11. The score is Phantoms 1, Monsters 0.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Phantoms vs. Manchester Monarchs: Recap and Box Score

Here is the recap of the Phantoms game, from the Phantoms site.

Of particular note is this paragraph:
Update On Phantoms Left Wing Garrett Klotz: Klotz was taken to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital after suffering a facial laceration and a seizure in a first-period fight. Klotz was alert and responsive en route to the hospital, and was able to watch the rest of the game on television upon arrival. He is being kept overnight for observation and is expected to be released tomorrow after further testing.

It's an ENORMOUS relief to see that Garrett is doing all right, or at least as well as can be expected. This incident scared the living daylights out of an awful lot of people, both at the Spectrum and watching on live TV (not to mention the people who watched news feeds of the event once the information got reported elsewhere). I'm glad that everything turned out to be NOWHERE near as bad as it could have been.

I taped the game and watched it when I got home... at which point, I saw the same very upsetting footage that went out live on Comcast. My gosh... there really are no words, except to say that if you didn't see the Comcast telecast, but do find the TSN Sportscentre video clip online, I know why they say it was "edited for content". There were a couple of closeups from the game tape that are conspicuous by their absence in the TSN footage, and it's completely understandable why those camera angles were omitted. Believe me.

Anyway... here is the link to the box score from the AHL site.

Phantoms vs. Manchester Monarchs 1-23-09: Third Period

The Phantoms are getting a nice early PP in the third. Let's see if we can liven things up. :) Ross, Laliberte, Maroon, Syvret, and DeSantis are out. Laliberte took a nice shot, but unfortunately we couldn't quite get to the resulting rebound first. Next up: Matsumoto, Nodl, Sirianni, Ratchuk, Curry. Nope, no dice.

We are having a dilly of a time getting set up in front of the Monarchs net, but the good news is, we ARE repeatedly trying to set up down there. The more time we spend down there, the better. Of course, having said that, Manchester did rush the puck to our end and we're about to have a defensive-zone draw, but hey. It's been too long since we've made a habit of spending minutes at a time at the other end of the ice.

MUNROE with the great save! Nice to know that when he's been standing idle for a while, which admittedly has not been a problem our goalies have faced often in the past few weeks, he's just as sharp as when he's seeing multiple shots in succession. Good work!

They never did update the "Games Left" banners tonight -- they were about to right when Klotz got hurt, and they just seem to have stopped in their tracks. That's OK, as I mentioned to the info desk prior to tonight's game, the numbers need adjusting anyway. They were going to count down from 22 to 21... The oly problem is, this game is our 20th home game of the season, out of 40. What happened is that they forgot to make the adjustment and subtract a game when we had a game over at the Wachovia Center. So now the total is a game off. Not only that, but as our February 16 game has also been bounced over to the Center, they are going to have to compensate another time, and subtract one more game from the total once we have played the President's Day game.

Anyway, we have 20 home games left in the season after tonight's game is over, and 19 of those are scheduled to be played at the Spectrum. They will have to tweak the totals accordingly, hopefully by tomorrow night.

Once again, we have given up 40 shots. With 8:12 remaining in the period, the shot total stands at Phantoms 21, Monarchs 40. MAN ALIVE, we must have given up the most shots in the freakin' league by now. And OH, for goodness sakes, we just had a big shoving match behind the Phantoms' net following the 40th save, resulting in a Monarch sitting for two minutes and Ryan Parent sitting for FOUR. GRRRR... So we're on the PK. Clackson will sit for the extra minor. On, and lo and behold. The ref has decided to get more involved in this period, apparently. With 1:24 left in Parent's penalty, Curry (another defenseman) is going off for hooking. Great, now we are down to four D for the time being. Syvret and Bartulis are out with Ross for the two-man disasvantage. NICE clear!

And again, a clear. These guys have been out for a lonnnng shift, though, and there has not been time to change. Munroe makes a nice toe save, then freezes the puck the next time it comes his way. That leaves us with 7 minutes on Parent's extra minor and 43 seconds on Curry's penalty. New troops... Huh, only Raduns changed. And Clackson came out of the sin bin. Syvret and Bartulis are still out there. RADUNS, not only did he clear the puck but he started rushing it up the ice. That gave us tie to change Bartulis for DeSantis. Curry is back out, with Ross, Matsumoto, DeSantis, and Syvret (three D). Daggone, Syvret was out for that ENTIRE penalty kill and then some.

With 4:13 left, I saw the ref stop play and make a high-sticking sign, but nobody is headed to either sin bin yet. Instead, there's a TV timeout. I guess we'll find out soon enough whose penalty it is... Or maybe it's NOBody's. Maybe it was a "puck was played with a high stick", as I don't see anybody besides Parent in the box.

3:32 left in the period, and we ice the puck... SOG are Phantoms 21, Monarchs 43, and do I need to say that Manchester is trying to move heaven and earth to tie this game? Of course I don't. Matsumoto, Nodl, Sirianni, Syvret, and DeSantis are out. Nodl tried to block a shot, but it went just barely over him. Fortunately, Munroe saw it all the way and froze it. Ross, Raduns, Clackson, Curry, and parent are next up. We are still in our zone and getting the freakin' puck across our blue line seems to be a huge task right about now. Ross is now sent off for "delay of the game", boy do I loathe that freaking infraction. Nodl, Masumoto, Parent and Syvret are out to kill the penalty. Nodl makes a HUGE clear. I think he'd have cleared it clean to Lincoln Financial Field if there hadn't been boards at the other end of the ice. WHOA, Manchester's guy stationed at the post missed the net with his shot, fortunately. The Monarchs have pulld the goalie, but fortunately we outlasted the 6-on-4 disadvantage and Ross is back on the ice. NOW we keep clearing the puck, fortunately, earning loud cheers every time the puck starts heading in the general direction of Manchester's empty net.

Hee, I can see the stars written on the sheet that Shawny Hill is carrying. Methinks our netminder wil be getting a postgame interview, if all goes well. Manchester has called a timeout with 21.0 seconds remaining. The faceoff is in the Monarchs end, with Ross, Nodl, Laliberte, Syvret, and Parent on the ice. The Monarchs goalie is back in the net, but as his team rushes the puck up ice, he heads for the bench. AAAH we get it back and he goes charging toward his net again. But we miss the net with our shot. However, we do hold on to win the game.

Phantoms vs. Manchester Monarchs 1-23-09: Second Period

At the start of the second period, an assist was added to the second Phantoms goal. Rob Sirianni is now credited with the secondary assist.

The description that I got, from someone who was watchng the game on TV, is that Klotz was hit with 2 or 3 rights and dropped, and may also have hit his head on the boards as he fell. I just hope that the precautions they took getting him off the ice were more of the "better safe than sorry" variety. Don't these boys know that they're not allowed to alarm us ike that? :( I hope he's OK.

So far in this period, there's been a lot of back-and-forth, but not many SOG to show for it. Five minutes into the period, both teams only have garnered two shots apiece.

Laliberte just nailed Crosty with a nice hit in the corner, to the Manchester goalie's left. THAT got the crowd applauding. :)

Maroon's parked in the tunnel, taking his skate off for some work, with 13:48 left. There appears to be a TV timeout, so that buys our equipment guys time to work on whatever they need to do. Oh, and there goes Matsumoto UP the tunnel while adjusting some of HIS gear. Dang, what's the deal with everybody's darn gear acting up at once? AT least Matsuoto and Maroon are on the same line, so Paddock won't have to get too crazy mixing and matching forwards for the next few minutes. Less than a minute's worth of game time later, Matsumoto is back on the bench and Maroon is putting his skate back on so all is well.

Crikey, now it's ROSS going up the tunnel for gear-related reasons. My gosh. It's the Revolt of the Inanimate Objects. Fortunately, he didn't need long to fix or adjust whatever caused the problem.

With 9:11 left in the period, Clackson just had a brief fight with Boyle. Dagnab, how tall IS Boyle? Clackson gave up a noticeable amount of height and reach in this bout. Once again, the sparring took place right in front of the Monarchs bench, so I saw preciious little of it. But both guys headed to the sin bin and they look relatively intact. Good. I like a good rumble as much as the next fan, but I could live without ever seeing another ambulance in a Zamboni tunnel, ever, anywhere, anytime.

It's been a relatively low penalty count in this game, but Manchester just took one for interference.PECOOOO POWER PLAY time for the Phantoms. Ross, Maroon, Laliberte, DeSantis, and Syvret are on the ice. Ross is buzzing around the net with the puck. We seem to be stationing someone BEHIND the net now and then, whidh is a tactic I don't recall having seen before. AAA, and it nearly worked, as we have Laliberte parked in the slot for a PERFECT shot on goal, once our guy behind the net got the puck to him. But the goalie made the save, and a Monarchs Dman cleared the rebound. It was a nice sequence, though, and I can see it succeeding if we do it often enough.

Aw, bleep. There goes the PP. Nodl goes for elbowing with 21 seconds left in the man advantage, so we wil have a brief period fo 4 on 4 followed by a PK.

Ross, Sirianni, Raduns, and Syvret are on the ice (three forwards and one D). The next PK unit was the more traditional two forwards/two D: Matsumoto, Laliberte, Bartulis, Curry. We killed the penalty successfully.

I'm just realizing how little we have seen of Beaulieu in this game so far. The last I heard, he's not cleared to fight yet, but I"m wondering with the limited amount of ice time he's getting how healthy he is. I know that Paddock tends to roll three lines and use the fourth line sparingly, but one would think that if we've got a shortened roster, we'd see a little more of the fourth-liners to compensate.

Drat. With 3:06 left in the period, freaking Manchester scored. There goes the shutout. It's what happens when we get stuck in our end. However, we still have a one-goal lead. We will just have to get the heck OUT of our end and bust our tails to get that goal back. The fact that we are currently being outshot 25-15 tells the tale of which end we are spending more time in. We've had six SOG so far in the second period, compared to 14 for the Monarchs. Since we have not had a parade to the sin bin, much of that has come while the teams were at even strength.

I wish the Flyers had thought to sed Giroux down for the duration of the NHL All-Star Break. Not only would he be able to participate in the AHL All Star game, in which he was named to the starting lineup, but he would be helping the Phantoms tonight and tomorrow night into the bargain.

Failng that, I would love to see guys who were called up to the Flyers, then got injured (Gratton and Kalinski), recover and return to the Phantoms lineup. I think we would be spending less time in our own zone if we had those players back on our roster.

Anyway, at the end of the second period, the SOG totals are Phantoms 16, Monarchs 27. The score is 2-1, Phantoms.

Phantoms vs. Manchester Monarchs 1-23-09: First Period

After a slight delay getting to the game, when I realized I needed to pick up batteries for my camera, I'm here! I arrived just in time to hear the scratches: Zarb, Guenin, Kane, Hersley, and Szwez. Nate Raduns is back in the linep, yay!

Two seconds into the game, Klotz and Westgarth(?) got into a fight. When I could see them, Klotz was holding his own perfectly well. Then the fight migrated toward the benches, and I couldn't see over the people standing up anymore.

But what I did see was Westgarth and one of our guys start waving for the trainer, and the Zamboni doors open to admit the stretcher. I STILL can't see over the people standing up, but everyone from both teams who was on the ice is clustered around one area near the Manchester bench, so I am presuming that's where the first aid is beng administered. Poor Garrett. :( I hope he's OK.

They backed the ambulance as far into the Zamboni tunnel as they could safely get it, and took Klotz out on a stretcher. God knows what happened, but I'll be asking on the flyersphans board ASAP. I'm sure some people have the game on TV so they might have had a better vantage point.

Marty Murray, the captain of the Monarchs, was taken by the LA Kings from us on waivers a couple seasons ago. I'm still ticked at them for taking him -- I always liked him when he was here. He's one guy I wish well, though he's welcome to have a quiet night tonight. ;)

Bellamy came out to replace Klotz in the starting lineu, and play resumed. So far, we have faced five shots on goal, with 15:47 remaining in the period, but we have gotten no SOG of our own.

With 13:34 left in the period, Nodl drew the first penalt of the game (besides the coincidental majors to Klotz and Westgarth). Raduns, Ross, Syvret, and aren't are the first PK unit. Next up, Matsumoto, Laliberte, Curry, and Bartulis. SOG with 12:55 left in the frame are 7-0, Monarchs. God bless Munroe, he's been a rock for this team since he came back from the Flyers. Laliberte skated the puck far enougn out of the zone that he could dump it into the Monarchs' zone, and allow us to make another line change. We seem to be using the same eight guys as our PK units, at least so far, and it's interesting to see how short the shifts are that they're taking. With 14 seconds left on the PK, this is the fifth separate shift of PKers. Now Laliberte is rushing the puck up ice for all he's worth. He got an attempted shot on goal, but he also drew a penalty. We will now play at 4 on 4 for two seconds, followed by a Phantoms PP.

Matsumoto, Nodl, Sirianni, Ratchuk, and Curry are the first PP unit. Next PP unit, Ross, Maroon, Laliberte, DeSantis, and Syvret. Oh, and we have a shot on goal now. :) Both Syvret and DeSantis have attempted one-timers from the point. Though neither reached the net, it's something we need to see a bit more of. (Partcularly since we have gotten shut out in three games during the past couple of weeks.) Manchester did kill the penalty successfully, and we are at even strength again.

Oh, SWEET -- on our next rush, we fired in a rebound to open the scoring! SOG are 8-3 in favor of Manchester, but the score is 1-0, Phantoms, courtesy of Matt Clackson! Raduns and Bellamy assisted. NICE play!

With 6 minutes remaining in the period, we hae Parent headed to the sin bin. Matsumoto and Nodl are the first two PK forwards, with Syvret and Curry. After a false start on the faceoff, Nodl ws swapped for Raduns. Bwahaha, and two Monrchs just ran into one another. :) heh heh, that's one way to kill a penalty.

Nodl, Ross, DeSantis, and Bartulis just gave us a shorthanded scoring chance, but nothing came of t. That's what we could use, a nice SH goal. : Oh, but I'll take a nice clear, instead, like the one we just got. Boy, whoever swatted that could replace Pat Burrell in the Phillies batting order... I think it was Ross.

BTW, Mr. Ross is going to get his shot at the All-Star game this year, which he missed last year due to having his appendix removed. Several of the AHL All-Stars are going to miss this year's game due to injury or callup, and Ross was named to replace one of the guys who couldn't make it. Heck, I think it was an oversight that he wasn't chosen on his own merit n the first place, so I'm glad to see he is getting his shot after all.

Aaaand there goes Dravecky into the sin bin, giving the Phantoms a PP with 3:24 left in the period. Ross, Laliberte, and Maroon are out with DeSantis and Syvret. And we somehow have wound up battling for the puck in OUR end. Hmm... Let's try this again, shall we? Out we go, offsides we go, faceoff in the neutral zone. And Manchester cleared the puck again -- we are having a bear of a time getting into the Manchester end during this PP. A minute is gone in the man advantage and we haven't got anything to show for it yet. RATCHUK -- well, NOW we have something to show for our efforts! Matsumoto assisted on the goal 2-0, Good Guys, and there is now a minute remaining in the first period.

GO GO GO GO, aah there was a goalmouth scramble in front of Manchester's net but we didn't manage to bury the puck this time around. We did get a ten-skater glaring match, however.

SOG at the end of the first period: Phantoms 9, Manchester 13. But the important stat, the score, is Phantoms 2, Monarchs 0.

Phantoms at Binghamton Senators 1-21-09: Recap and Box Score; All-Star update

Here is the recap of the Phantoms/Senators game from the Phantoms website.

And here is the link to the box score from the AHL's site.

We received word that Claude Giroux would NOT be sent down to the Phantoms in order to allow him to participate in the AHL All-Star events. He had been slated to play on Team Canada. However, Jared Ross was named to PlanetUSA, to replace someone who'd been either injured or called up. It's good to see him get this opportunity, as he'd been named to the team LAST year but had to decline because of an appendectomy.

Go Jared!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Phantoms at Binghamton Senators 1-21-09: Third Period

With 11:41 left in the third period, there hasn't been a whole lot to report. Gerber has been murder, particularly in a sequence where Matsumoto and Maroon combined for three consecutive shots on goal. Gerber is down from the Ottawa Senators on a conditioning assignment. I wonder if we can convince the Ottawa Sens that Gerber is fit enough to be called up right now, as in "before this period is over"? ;)

Our announcer just told a story about former Flyer Denis Hamel's one-timers. When Bingo was practicing in Philly, he shot a puck right through the end glass during the morning skate... his shot went above the net and not only hit the glass, but penetrated the glass and went about ten feet back into the seats. To quote Brian Smith, "If that had happened during a game, it would have killed the goal judge." Good grief! If I ever get a seat behind Hamel's opponent's net, remind me to wear a goalie mask to the game.

We have just given up our 38th shot on goal. Prior to Sunday's game, we had eleven consecutive games where we gave up at least 38 shots. We had a welcome break from that trend on Sunday, but unfortunately, we appear to have gone right back into letting our goaltender see truckloads of rubber per game.

Munroe has gone to the bench, and Bellamy is the 6th skater. We have 1:44 left to play, and I'm thinking of a prior road game this very season when we managed to put in two very-late goals with our netminder pulled. Paddock has called timeout with a faceoff in the Binghamton zone. Whatever we did that night, let's do it again, shall we? Nodl, Maroon, Matsumoto, Ross, Laliberte, and Syvret are our skaters. (Only one defenseman is in that group.) Unfortunately, when play resumes, the Senators managed to get hold of the puck and put in an empty-net goal despite Syvret's attempts to fill in as a goaltender. The score is now 3-0, Senators.

And there goes the final horn. Martin Gerber has earned a 32-save shutout, and the Phantoms were outshot 41-32.

Our next two games are at home on Friday and Saturday, vs. the Manchester Monarchs and Lake Erie Monsters, respectively. From there, we will go into the All-Star Break.

Phantoms at Binghamton Senators 1-21-09: Second Period

We will begin the second period at 4-on-4, with coincidental roughing minors having been handed out.

Nothing of much note took place during that sequence, but seconds after the penalties expired, the Phantoms got their first PP of the night. Our PP is currently 6th best in the league -- let's see how we do. (Oh this announcer -- he keeps calling our player "MatsuMAto".... argh.) AAAAH -- POSTAGE, as Ross clangs one off the iron. Ah, so close.

Within a minute of the Sens' penalty ending, they were awarded the opportunity to kill another penalty. And early on in that PK, the Senators took a high-stcking infraction that will leave them with a two-man deficit. OK, Phantoms, let's do this -- we really do need to get some good stuff going here.

We're going with the four-forward PP unit for the first shift of this two-man advantage. Ross is playing the left point. Now its Syvret's turn to ring one off the post. Have these darn pucks got a magnet in 'em tonight?

Fata is fighting with Maroon -- I am having a rough time with this image that keeps freezing up on me, but I did manage to see the replay of the bout. Fata stunned Maroon at one point early in the fight, and Maroon was operating at a disadvantage from that poitn forward. Both guys will sit for five minutes.

Yikes -- we spent a lot of time in front of Martin Gerber, but once the Sens managed a breakout, Scott Munroe had to make some circus saves to keep our deficit at only one goal.

Unfortunately, minutes later, a shot that former Phantom Marc Cavosie took deflected off a stick and found its way in. With under 5 minutes remaining in the second period, the Phantoms now trail 2-0.

That's what we need to do -- start deflecting pucks off anything and everything. Maybe if we pretend we're playing pinball for a while, we'll find a way to pull even. I'm pleased that we have managed to hem the Senators into their own zone at various points during this period, as that aspect of our game has been conspicuous by its absence in some recent games. However, if the goalie can see the puck all the way, he's going to stop the shot the vast majority of the time.

Ryan Parent is getting sent to the penalty box with 5.9 seconds remaining in the period. The Phantoms will have 1:55 of penalty time remaining to kill at the start of the third period. The score at the end of the second period os Senators 2, Phantoms 0.

Phantoms at Binghamton Senators 1-21-09: First Period

One benefit of having problems with the Phantoms' streaming audio is that I got to hear, from the Binghamton announcer, what's wrong with some of our players. Kane, Guenin, and Hersley all have shoulder injuries. Raduns has a concussion, and Szwez is out with what's listed as a "lower body injury". I'm so glad that we have to rely on the opponent's media people to tell us what injuries our own guys have. Sigh.

Anyway, it appears that Giroux has been recalled to the Flyers. Chris Zarb is in our lineup tonight (which is good news, as he was practicing witih the injured Phantoms a few days ago). Giroux's absence has cleared the way for Billy Ryan to return to the lineup.

It appears that the Phantoms will be the first team to kill a penalty, with Maroon going to the box 14 minutes and change into the first period. Our 4th-best PK is about to lock horns with the league's best PP. And we will have to give this particular round to the Senators, as they did put in a PP goal with a few seconds remaining on the man advantage. Beans. They had their guy planted at our post, waiting for a loose puck or a rebound to come his way, and he cashed in the opportunity that came to him. Oh, well, it's only one goal.

At the end of the first period, the Senators are outshooting the Phantoms 13-11, which at least is a much smaller margin than we've faced in recent games. The Phantoms trail 1-0 on the scoreboard. There were a few guys yapping at one another at the final horn, so we'll see at the start of the second period if any penalties are announced.

Phantoms vs. Albany River Rats 1-18-09: Recap and Box Score

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

And here is the link to the box score.

Don't look now, but the Phantoms have quietly embarked on a four-game win streak. We're looking to extend that to five games in Binghamton tonight. Let's go, Phantoms!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Phantoms vs. Albany River Rats 1-18-09: Third Period

Nodl got the period off to an interesting start, with a breakaway, but the THUD of a puck hitting goalie pads signalled that we have yet to score during this contest. Nice try, though. Feel free to do it again. :)

FINALLY!!! SCORE!!! Nodl took a hit in the slot (I have the pic of him on his back), but he made the play that tied the score! Asssts to Briere and Ross. Welcome to a Brand New Game! NOW the Phantom are playing with a lot of spring in their step, and the crowd is buzzing.

YES!!! Keep this Giroux/Matsumoto/Laliberte set together! Matsumoto just scored, assisted by Giroux ad Syvret! Boy, Matsumoto is en fuego lately! Keep up the great work!

On the next shift, Parent goes for hooking, however, leaving us with our PK to defend the lead. Ross, Briere, Syvret, and Curry are first up. Briere got a brekaway, but couldn't get a goal, dang it. Saaaay... It crosses my mind that we have not had a PP since the first period. On the other hand, the ref has been equally lenient on both sides, since there hasn't been a parade to the sin bin tonight, so I won't get too cranky about the calls just yet.

The penalty is over, we have 4:45 left in the period, and the SOG are Albany 29, Phantoms 15. Briere is leading another rush, and he has THREE guys draped on him. This is the kind of thing that I think helped us blow out the Sharks on Wednesday: extra coverage on Briere means other Phantoms are wide open.

Yikes -- Bartulis slams hard into the boards after a River rat commits a hookng infraction. Oskars is back on the bench (with his helmet off) getting his senses back together, and we are on a PP for the first time in a while. (There goes another thing that was rectified soon after I wrote a comment about it. Should have muttered to myself about the lack of a PP sooner, too I guess. ;)

The penalty has expired, and Albany has called timeout. With a minute and a half remaining, they are going to pull their goalie and go with the extra skater. We have Briere, Ross Giroux, Syvret, and Parent on the ice. ROSS makes them pay, with 38.8 seconds remaining, with an empty net goal! 3-1, good guys! Hs 19th goal of the year, with Syvret assisting.

Phantoms win 3-1 I'm headed down o watch the jersey auction now.

Phantoms vs. Albany River Rats 1-18-09: Second Period

The Phantoms have 19 seconds remaining on the PK to start the second period. Briere, Ross, Parent, and Syvret are out. When Sirianni exited the sin bin, he wen
t to the bench and was replaced by Giroux. That line proceeded to create a scoring threat, even though they weren't credited with a shot on goal. (I'm not sure how that is, since it was by our efforts that the puck wound up frozen under the goaltender, but I'll keep my peace.)
Our next shift saw us right back in front of the Albany net, though, so whatever Paddock said to the troops between periods, they appear to have taken to heart. Next shift: Klotz vs. Blanchard. Short, active fight with more punching than jersey-hauling. I'd give Klotz the takedown and the edge where the punches were concerned. (Particularly so since it was a punch by Klotz that made the difference i n sending Blanchard to the ice.)

With 14:57 left in the period, the SOG are Albany 15, Phantoms 2. We have not gotten ANY pucks on net, and the Rats have gotten a grand total of one, since the start of the period. Ah, that should count as a shot for us. FINALLY. 37 seconds after I said something, we get a puck on goal. 'Bout time -- maybe I should have griped sooner. ;)

Other than that, however, we hafe seen a lot of end-to-end skating and passing, but nether team has made a lot of noise yet.

Matsumoto's line came the closest so far to getting us a goal. Matsumoto's shot and the subsequent rebound were enough to bring the crowd to ts feet, but unfortunately the puck remained on the wrong side of the goal line.

It's interesting -- we seem to have reverted back to the Briere/Ross/Nodl line we were using last night Let's see if that brings us onto the scoreboard. Of course, it's not going to bring us anythng unt we get back to the Albany end, instead of havng Rats cycling the puck in front of Munroe like they are right now. Giroux, meanwhile, has been moved onto a line with Matsumoto/Laliberte (who just gave us a nice rush and a shot on goal. Giroux took the ensuing faceoff in the Albany end.

Whoops -- Ratchuk gets two for tripping, so now we get to put our PKing skills on display again. This invoved Ross and Briere heading up the ice for a SH break, but unfortunately, no goal resulted.

We are back at even strength, and spending more time than I would like to see in our own end of the ice. With 3:30 left, the SOG are ALbany 21, Phantoms 7. We aren't going to tie the score while we're parked in front of Munroe.

We did generate some valid scoring opportunities in the waning minutes of the period. However, at the end of the second period, the score remained Albany 1, Phantoms 0. The shots on goal are River Rats 23, Phantoms 8.

Phantoms vs. Albany River Rats 1-18-09: First Period

Scratches: Zarb, Guenin, Raduns, Ryan, Kane, Hersley, Szwez
Starting Lineup: Munroe, Syvret, Parent, Briere, Ross, Giroux

Conspicuous by his absence in the scratches: Aubin. Actually, ditto for Teslak. Giroux has returned to our ineup, which is great for us. That's even more true thanks to the injury to Szwez (thanks to the Bears' Quentin freakin' Laing last night).

Aubin wll back up Munroe tonight. The players have just come out from the tunnel.

Early on, we had one scary moment where an Albany shot hit ur post and trickled across the crease. We were fortunate enough to get the disk out of harm's way before it coud be deflected by accident or design across the goal line.

Our first PP of the game followed a few minutes after this episode. We have a four-forward unit of Syvret, Ross, Briere, Giroux, and Briere on the ice. We didn't cash in the PP opportunity.

With 10:31 remaining in the period, Albany finally broke their extremely long shutout streak vs. Munroe. I'm sure the Phantoms' site will offer the final stats, when all is said and done. The Phantoms trail 1-0. We also trail on the shot clock 8-1. Well, we knew the streak couldn't last forever. Nice work, Muny, in keeping it going for multiple games, going back to the longest game in AHL playoff history last spring.

We just had another hairy moment in our end, where there was a goalmouth scramble to Munroe's right. To the left, standing by a wide-open net, was an unattended River Rat. The puck came out of the scramble and headed in the general direction of said Rat, but we lucked out and it was not within reach of his stick. Had he been able to reach the biscuit, he would have had the entre net to shoot at from the angle where he was.

We have another PP now, so let's see if we can make more effective work of this opportunity than we did of the previous one. Matsumoto, Laliberte, Nodl, Ratchuk, and Curry are out to start. We are trailing on the shot clock 11-2 as the PP begins. Now our second unt is out, and it's the same four-forward grouping we tried earlier. Albany clears the puck. Munroe sets it up for a defender to retrieve. Nope, no dce, we got no SOG during this PP either. But the ref's arm is up, so I suspect we are about to see what our PK units look like for the night.

Yep, Clackson goes for cross-cheking. Ur first PP unit is Matsumoto, Nodl, Syvret, and Parent. Matsumoto blocked a shot with his stick -- it broke his stick, but it took the vast majority of the momentum off the puck, leaving it sitting in the slot to be retrieved. He was about to go on a line change anyway, so he made sure the stick blade detached the rest of the way before leaving the ice. Next out, Nodl/Giroux with Syvret and Parent. Parent made a nice clearing attempt that did everything BUT cross the line (argh). But the penalty is over, and we're still standing, so all is well.

Clackson, Sirianni, Maroon, Curry, and Ratchuk are our guys on the ice following the PK. I found out earlier today that Dirianni was named to the ECHL's ALl-Star roster, but if he remains with us, he will miss the game. Personally, I really like Sirianni and I hope we keep him here even after our banged-up forwards are healthy again.

Speaking of him, there he goes to the sin bin. Briere, Ross, Parent, and Syvret are out to kill the penalty. We have less time remaining in the period than there is time on the penalty, so we stand a chance of starting the second period shorthanded. Next up: Giroux. Matsumoto, Bartulis, Curry. One minute left in the period.

The period is over. The score is Abany 1, Phantoms 0, and the River Rats lead on the shot clock, 14-2. Needless to say, we will have to get more pucks than THAT on net if we plan to score any goals.

Phantoms at Hershey Bears 1-17-09: Recap and Box Score

Here is the recap of the game from the Phantoms website.

And here is the box score from the AHL site.

The Phantoms will play at home vs. the Albany River Rats tonight. We will have special jerseys on which will be auctioned off for charity after the game. That auction stands to get a HUGE boost, because there'll be a Briere game-worn jersey among the offerings.

Yes, Daniel Briere will take part in the third of a possible three AHL rehab games tonight. So, stop on down if you want to see Mr. Briere for the cost of an AFFORDABLE hockey ticket. Be there or be square!

Go Phantoms!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Phantoms at Hershey Bears 1-17-09: Third Period, OT, shootout.

I see Laing back on the ice for the Bears. I have not seen nor heard Szwez's name since Laing hit him in the first period. Great, that's all we need: another possible injury. Our freaking press box isn't crowded enough already with guys in various stages of injury-recovery. :headdesk: I hope it's nothing major.

In the first six or so minutes of the period, both teams have had a couple of Keystone-Kops moments, but neither team has created much in the way of scoring opportunities. Now there's a protracted string of shots on the Phantoms net, but Munroe is equal to the task.

That seemed to wake up both teams, though. There is a lot of end-to-end movement going on, but the teams appear more organized and determined than they did earlier in the period.

We are being outshot in this period 13-2. Once again, the Phantoms have given up more than 40 SOG. Ratchuk blocked a stuff attempt at the post, but the rebound went out into the slot, where a Bear put it in. There was, however, a fallen Bear landing on Munroe at the time the puck went in. And the entire sequence could have been avoided if, as our announcer pointed out, our D's clearing attempt had not hit the referee's skates and stayed in. (That's the second time in this game that Fraser's feet kept the puck in the Phantoms zone, but who's counting?) There are no video replays to support or disprove the Phantoms' objections to goalie interference, however, so the goal will stand 3-2 Bad Guys.

The Phantoms have gone on a PP, as Clackson's preferred waltz partner Amadio has been sent to the box to feel shame. We're getting some chances, but so far, no dice. Nope -- no PP goal for us, at least not this time. The score remains 3-2.

MATSUMOTO -- he got stoned earlier in the game, but he wouldn't be denied this time! He made a nice highlight-reel maneuver at the post to tie the game. 3-3! :) Assists to Laliberte and Maroon.

After a long Nasty Session between the teams with 3:30 remaining, the sole penalty that was assesses was a ten-minute misconduct to Clackson. That's rather mystifying to those of us who can't hear what was going on, but at least we're not going shorthanded this late in the game. And speaking of late penalties, we're getting coincidental minors to Ross and a Bear whose name I missed.

Nodl and Sirianni are our first 4-on-4 forward pair. Matsumoto/Laliberte are next. Nodl/Maroon was yet another combination that we saw during the 4-on-4. But we didn't see a lot else of note, and now the penalties are over.

The Phantoms have called a timeout, prior to a defensive-zone draw. We have given up 48 shots on goal so far, and our season high of shots given up is 49. The game's not over yet, so we could be on the verge of setting a new mark there.

Looks like the Bears are getting back at us for all the times when our clock at the Spectrum has wigged out on them: a little while ago, they took two seconds off the clock. This time, they are adding 2.5 seconds, giving us 9.7 seconds remaining.

There goes the horn to end the third period. We've garnered at least one point from this game. Hershey still has 48 shots on goal as we take the minute-long break before the overtime.

Our first four players: Ross, Nodl, Syvret, Parent. Matsumoto/Laliberte got sprung on a long pass by Parent, but no luck. And there's Hershey's 49th shot. And their 50th and 51st, to boot. Scott Munroe needs a star of the game, have I mentioned that recently?

OMG times ten, Laliberte was robbed, absolutely freaking ROBBED. Machesney stopped two shots, plus a defenseman piled in to help prevent another puck from reaching the net. Oh, brother, we came this-close to a GWG on that play.

Here we go -- the game ended at 3-3, so we are going for the bonus point from the skills competition. Or, in other words, there will be a shootout. Munroe finished the game with 49 saves.

Hershey: no, 0-0
Phantoms, Maroon: no, 0-0
Hershey: no, 0-0
Phantoms, Matsumoto: YES, 1-0
Hershey: no, 1-0
Phantoms, Ross: YES, 2-0
Hershey: yes, 2-1
Phantoms, Nodl: no, 2-1
Hershey: yes, 2-2
Phantoms, Ratchuk: no, 2-2

We are tied after five rounds, so now we go to sudden death.

Hershey: no, 2-2
Phantoms, Laliberte: no, 2-2
Hershey: no, 2-2
Phantoms, Matsumoto: YES!!! 3-2! Phantoms win in the seventh round of the shootout, hallelujah! And I'm laughing -- the Phantoms' announcer's voice isn't quite as hoarse as mine, but it's close. LMHO, poor guy has laryngitis and he gets to call, not just a game, but an OT and a shootout into the bargain. (Not to mention that this is a three-game-in-three-night weekend, so he got to do play-by-play last night as well, and he's likely to be at it again tomorrow at the Spectrum.)

Well, the Good Guys pulled out a 4-3 victory, coming back from behind twice. THIS is more like it! Now if we could just figure out how to allow fewer SOG per game...! But I'd rather lead on the scoreboard than the shot clock, so I'll take it.

Phantoms at Hershey Bears 1-17-09: Second Period

Clackson had an early wrestling match with huge Bear whose name I don't recall having seen before: Wellar. They went off for fighting. I believe Clackson already led the league in fights; if so, having two bouts in one game won't do anything to diminish his supremacy.

The period has gone relatively evenly so far. The most notable event has been that Arsene hit Bellamy and stunned him. As this took place behind the play, I'm a little surprised that no penalty was called.

We didn't have to wait long to have a powerplay, however, as Bourque obliged by slashing Ryan. Our first PP unit is Maroon, Matsumoto, and Laliberte with Syvret and Desantis. SCOOOORE -- Laliberte buried the rebound of the rebound of the rebound. Nice work, guys! It helped that Syvret, one of our D, came in and got involved with the goalmouth scramble. That, per our announcer, disorganized the Bears' PK enough that we were able to keep hacking at the puck until we got it in.

OMG, ROSS!!! As I was typing the previous paragraph, he got a breakaway end-to-en rush, and scored to tie the game! NICE, Rossco! Assist from his buddy Scott Munroe. :) 2-2, and welcome to a new game!

On the following shift, we incurred a penalty to Beaulieu, so we are shorthanded. Nodl proceeds to carry the puck up ice and be a nuisance to the Bears. No major SH chance came of it, but we did shave a few seconds off the PK. Munroe gave us all we needed to withstand the rest of that penalty kill, and the teams are back at full strength.

Machesney (Bears goalie) had to come way out to play a puck. Ross tried to tip it away from him. Sloan of the Bears slashed Ross in retaliation, Ross went after him, and the end result is a ten-player shoving match in the corner. It appears that Ross gets slashing, Sloan gets cross-checking, and Arsene gets roughing, so the Phantoms are on the PP. I'm not convinced that a replay would show that those players broke those specific rules (other than Arsene/roughing), but the upshot is the naughty players were correctly identified and they're in the sin bin. Dang -- Machesney stoned Matsumoto on our best chance of the PP.

Soon after the return to even strength, Curry gets set off for boarding. Really, the players who turn to face the boards upon seeing that they are about to be hit should get sent to the freakin' box for unsportsmanlike conduct. If they can give "unsportsmanlike conduct, diving" penalties, they should give penalties to the people who turn a legal hit into a hit from behind when it's too late for the check-thrower to redirect his trajectory.

Two Bears collide, but one of them, Bourque, trips Matsumoto to prevent a breakaway, so he's in the sin bin and we will be at 4 on 4 for a while. Syvret came inches from scoring for the Phantoms -- the dratted puck rolled slowly through the crease. Too bad nothing was in its path to deflect it in, but oh well. SO close!

Sirianni just got two nice attempts. His first shot was blocked, but he got the puck back and took another one that Machesney had to be quick to deflect.

Speaking of goalies that need to be quick, The Wrong Giroux (Alexandre) deflected a teammate's shot on goal, and Munroe had to be sharp to track the puck and freeze it. Giroux tied a league record earlier in the game by scoring in 14th consecutive game. He leads the league in scoring -- no surprise, given stats like the above! I guess he's not just a Phantoms-killer, then. Looks like he's just an everyone-he-plays-against killer.(Dear Caps: call this guy the heck back up and KEEP him up this time, wouldja? KTHXBAI.)

The second period is over. The Phantoms staged a nice comeback, and the score remains tied at 2-2. Shots on goal: Phantoms 21, Bears 29.

Win the third period, guys!

Phantoms at Hershey Bears 1-17-09: First Period

I wasn't able to catch this game from the very beginning. However, Clackson has had the obligatory bout with Amadio. I swear those two have scrapped in almost every Phantoms/Bears contest we've had so far this season. The Phantoms wound up on a PP from that event, as Amadio picked up an extra minor.

At the time of the end of the PP, the Phantoms were outshooting the Bears 5-1. Thats the good news. The bad news is that we are nearly at the END of the first period and we have not had a shot on goal since. Not at even strength, not on another PP, not while shorthanded. Nada.

The Bears, meanwhile, have been offering us approximately a shot per minute from that point forward. The final horn just sounded, and we were outshot 16-0 during that time period. We are currently being outshot 17-5 as we go into the first intermission.

If that were the only place where we were trailing, it wouldn't be quite so tough. However, we have also given up two goals to Alexandre Giroux, the darn Phantoms-killer that Washington shouldn't have sent back down. One of those goals was at even strength, and the other was on a late Bears PP. So the Phantoms trail 2-0.

We do not have Briere in our lineup. However, it was announced earlier today that Briere will, in fact, partake in a third rehab contest with the Phantoms, in our home game on Sunday night. That serves multiple purposes. First of all, it lets Briere rehab another game before returning to the Flyers. It gives our GM time to straighten out the Flyers' salary cap situation in advance of Briere's return to the Flyers lineup. And as the Phantoms are going to have a jersey auction on Sunday night, it will be a huge boost to the fundraising effort to be able to auction off a Briere jersey along with those of the rest of the team.

One more note before I close out this post... we incurred one of those penalties that no coach will gripe about, nor will any player complain about having to kill off. Laing of the Bears laid out Szwez with a hit, shaking him up badly enough that he headed up the tunnel with our trainer. Moments later, Oskars Bartulis flattened Laing and left HIM in a heap on the ice. Laing wound up communing with the Bears trainer, and Bartulis got two minutes for charging. But when players are sticking up for one another, no coach or teammate will raise an objection to being shorthanded.

Here's hoping that neither player is dented too seriously. I'll be on the lookout for both of them in the second period.

Phantoms vs. Lowell Devils 1-16-09: Recap and Box Score

Here is the official site recap for Friday's Phantoms/Devils match.

And here's the box score. This game was quite the nail-biter.

Tonight, the Phantoms play the second of a three games/three nights weekend. We're currenty in the first period of a contest in Hershey, so I'll be working on that game's blog when I finish with this post.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Phantoms vs. Lowell Devils 1-16-09: Third Period

You know, as well as our PP has done in the past two games, that's how deficient our PK has been tonight. We gave up the tying goal while Lowell was on a PP, and since then the teams have been trying to kill each other in the effort to get the go-ahead goal. The score is 4-4 with 10:24 left in the period, and the SOG are Phantoms 16, Devils 36. We are poised to give up at least 38 shots for something like the tenth game in a row, which has got to be some kind of team record. It's not a record I'm particularly happy about, either. We need, and I do mean NEED, to stop being the team who's been hemmed into our end of the ice.

We need to stay out of the box, but even better, I would like to see us DRAW a penalty by putting Lowell on the defensive and forcing them to break up a scoring chance of ours.

SZWEZ!!!! So far, he is sthe hero of the night, as he has put us ahead with a goal! Assist by Clackson. Now GO PHANTOMS! hold this lead!

Here we go -- final minute of the game and the Devils have pulled the goalie. Clackson, Szwez, Sirianni, Bartulis, and Curry are on the ice.

Yiiiii, someone just fired the puck at about a zillion miles per hour down to the other end, but it missed the net. Hence, icing. The Phantoms have called timeout with 21.5 seconds left.

Hooray, we gutted that one out! Phantoms 5, Devils 4!

Phantoms vs. Lowell Devils 1-16-09: Second Period

The good news is, Maroon did come out of the tunnel at the start of the second period. The bad news is, in the first two minutes of the period, Ratchuk was interfered with, got slammed hard into the boards, and required the trainer's assistance. The ensuing man advantage led to our third PP goal of the night, with a goal from Syvret from the point Assists to Briere and DeSantis.

Ratchuk is still in the game, however. More power to him.

We killed off a holding penalty to Maroon; that's the good news. The not-so-good news is that we get to do it again, this time for Bartulis and holding-the-stick. Briere and Ross are out with Parent and Syvret. Ross hounded a Devil all the way back into Lowell's end, then punctuated it with a thump to the guy before play headed back to our end.

The Devils did manage to bring their deficit within two goals, late in the period. However, I think we can get that goal back if we appy ourselves, particuarly if we happen to get another man advantage. Our PP has been en fuego in these past two games. I hope we can keep up the PP scoring when Briere returns to the Flyers.

WE just had a big scrum over in the corner to Scott Munroe's right, of which I could see none. However, when the dust cleared, we had Clackson and Maroon in the sin bin for roughing, along with one Devil (Fraser). So we are killing a penalty during the final three minutes of the second period. Ross and Briere are out with Parent and Syvret. Unfortunately, our inability to clear the puck cost us, and the Pantoms lead is now whittled down to one goal. 4-3, Good Guys, and we ha better start inflicting some damage on the Devils side of the ice. We have only gotten two shots on goal so far in this period, and we only have 2:08 left until the intermission.

Blah. Too many men on the ice -- that's all we need, to go shorthanded with 1:28 left in the freaking period. OK, Phantoms, play like you mean it, because we only have Briere in the lineup until the end of this game. We can't depend on having him to mesmerize opponents every time he sets foot on the ice.

Matsumoto and Nodl came out on a shorthanded break. Matsumoto's shot missed the net, but at least we spent time in the Lowell end. I'll take anything that chews up PK time without doing us harm.

There goes the end of the period. SOG are Phantoms 11 (a grand total of TWO shots in the second period), Devils 28. Color me Not Happy about the amount of time we didn't spend on the attack during this period. Yes, one of our shots went in. Still, it's not good that our opponent's goalie only stopped ONE puck in the entire 20-minute frame.

However, we do lead where it counts, on the scoreboard, 4-3. In order to remain in the lead for the rest of the game, we wil have to offer more of a challenge to Lowell than we did in the past period.

We have 32 seconds of penalty time left to serve at the start of the third period.

Phantoms vs. Lowell Devils 1-16-09: First Period

Here's our second game with Briere in the lineup. In the timespan between the pregame warmup and the opening faceoff, it looks to be a good crowd tonight, despite the facts that the wind chill gives us a temperature of 0 degrees F, and the Sixers have a home game at the Center tonight. (Normally, inclement weather or another event running concurrently at the Sports Complex have a negative impact on walk-up attendance.)

Start: Munroe, Syvret, Parent, Briere, Nodl, Ross

Boy, do I ever have laryngitis. I'll have to resort to "Doing the Wheeler" in the event of having reason to celebrate for the Phantoms tonight, as my voice is seriously out of commission.

I missed some of the scratches, due to some conversation regarding some neighboring fans and where their seats are located. However, Teslak is still our backup and Aubin remains scratched. I still have no idea just how he injured himself back in November, but boy it must have been a doozy, poor guy. It's a good seven weeks since then, and he has played a grand total of one period. I do wish the AHL would require teams to at least give us an idea of the ETA of injured players' return to the lineup.

Here comes Briere through the tunnel, once again high-fiving every little kid's hand that's extended in his direction. :)

Hee, the ceremonial first puck was dropped by "Andy Reid" and "David Akers" -- or at least, two people with the same names as those Eagles-connected individuals. :D Speaking of Da Iggles, Sunday's game has been rescheduled for 7 PM, to allow people time to watch the Eagles game and still come to the Phantoms game if they so choose.

With 15:25 remaining in the first period, the Lowell Devils seem to be slightly less hypnotized by the presence of Briere in the ineup. We are being outshot 4-2, rather than seeing him get double-teamed and having open ice created for our other players.

Blast it, and now the Devils have scored 24 seconds later. We had a scramble in our end (with a different line than Briere's on the ice), and one too many times, the Devils got the puck first. So we trail 1-0, and now the shot clock reads Phantoms 3, Devils 9.

But now our top line is making some waves in the Lowell end, which I like the look of. BINGO, there goes NODL with a goal! We just did precisely the same thing to Lowell that they did to us a minute and a half ago: just kept tryying to get the puck on net until finally Nodl fired it into the net from the slot. Assists to Ross and Bartulis. 1-1.

We are still creating chances in the Devils end, even though we haven't gotten a shot since we scored. Any time spent on the attack can be transated into a goal, if all goes well, though, so I don't mind.

Crud, this can't be good. Maroon just went face first into the boards, went down, and didn't move. The Devils' captain got two minutes for boarding. Finally, our trainer got Maroon backfrom la-la land, and they went to the bench. I don't know why they didn't go drectly up the tunnel, as Maroon looks like he's not entirely coherent yet I hope he's not as out-on-his-feet as he appears to be from this angle. :(

Nodl nearly had a PP goal, what a shot! But he is now stationed in the slot for another try. Nope, no dice, Devs clear.

Parent is now gong into the sin bin for interference. Ross and Briere are the first PK forward pairing out, and they are joined by Syvret and Curry. Eeeeek, we just had a moment where Munroe and Curry both were sitting inside the net after a mad scramble. However, the puck remained out.

Nodl and Matsumoto are our second PK pair, with Bartulis and DeSantis, and they cleared the puck. Nice. That gives us the opportunity to bring out the first K unit again, for the final half-minute of the kill. Briere proceeded to break up the ice just as the penalty expired, causing a Devils defender to hook him down. Not only did said Devil get two for hooking, but another Devil got two for unsportsmanlike onduct. The Phantoms are about to go on a two-man adantage for two minutes.

Or not -- as ROSS scored early on, assisted by Syvret and Briere. We still have 1:46 of 5-on-4 PP remaining, as well. :)

AGAIN!!! We score with 53 seconds remaining on the PP. THis was Laliberte from Matsumoto and Rachuk! 3-1 Good Guys. :) they're changing goalies now, from Frazee to Caruso. But really, I don't blame the goalie. Maybe the coach is trying to wake his team up.

LOL, Ross, Briere, and the Devils' Gionta are on the ice together. Three of the most vertically-challenged guys in the league, I'd wager. :D

At the end of the period, the SOG are Phantoms , Devils, 14. But the score is 3-1, Phantoms, so I don't mind our being outshot.

Phantoms vs. Worcester Sharks 1-14-09: Recap and Box Score

Pardon the slightly-belated nature of this particular post... I've been fighting the annual battle with whatever upper-respiratory bug is going around this winter and the less I sleep, the more challenging it is to bear in mind when I have a post left to make.

In any event, click here to see the thoroughly enjoyable official game recap from the Phantoms/Sharks tilt. And if you liked that, then you'll like this box score, as well.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Phantoms vs. Worcester Sharks 1-14-09: Third Period

It's been a relatively quiet period so far. Along with his first assist and goal as a Phantoms, Briere can now add his first penalty. We killed off our shorthanded situations with no difficulty so far, and we now have 8:25 remaining in the third period. The SOG are Phantoms 22, Sharks 35, but for once our being outshot is not an ominous sign. CLOD, oops CLAUDE Lemieux has been getting heckled, but given the edge he has played with for all these years, he should be well used to that. ;)

In the "Great things come in small packages" department, I have reason to believe, after observation tonight, that Jared Ross is ever so slightly taller than Danny Briere. :) I can't help but smile to think that the top guys on both the Flyers and Phantoms are some of the most vertically-challenged indiiduals in the organization. We can add Matsumoto to that list, too, though he's not quite so compact-in-frame as the above-mentioned pair. (Hey, I'm vertically-challenged myself, so I take an extra interest in these details.)

Well, there goes ONE power play that we won't score on. We took a penalty soon afterward, and we are now at 4 on 4. Other than this, I have to double-check the box score to be certain, ut I think we scored on every previous PP that we were awarded. If we hadn't had a perfect record on our PPs tonight, we were DARN close to it.

We have one minute remaining in the game, and we are at full strength again. And the Phantoms have won the first LOPSIDED decision we have had in a while. It feels good, for sure! :)

The stars of the game were:
#3: Danny Briere
#2: Scott Munroe
#1: Jared Ross

It's nice to see three Phantoms stars of the game... it's been a while since we have snared all three of those honors.

Great job, Phantoms! Let's see more of it on Friday! :)

Phantoms vs. Worcester Sharks 1-14-09: Second Period

CLOD Lemieux... Oops, Claude Lemieux took a penalty early n the second period. The Phantoms proceeded to respond on this PP as we did on the previous three: with a goal. This time, Matsumoto did the honors, digging at a loose puck in the crease until it squeaked in at the post. I am extremely impressed at how the Phantoms are getting results tonight. It's not only Briere, though obviously, his presence is a big help. When he is on the ice, if he draws double coverage, then one of our other guys is left open. If he doesn't, then he has the speed and skill to do real damage. So far, given that his only point was a PP assist, but he was on the ice for three of our goals, he has been creating room for our other guys.

All right, make that FOUR of our goals. He just stole the puck about halfway through a Phantoms penalty kill, flew up the ice, and with one Dman back, fired the puck straight into the net. Freakin' beautiful play! :) It's kind of nice to think that even when we are shorthanded, the Sharks might have to pay more attenton to keeping him OFF the the scoreboard than on their regular PP system.

Clackson just got into a fight with McEwen that was a LONG tilt, and I mean LONG. It was a lot of wrestling, but Clackson got in a few nice lefts here and there, particularly toward the end. Instantly after the ensuing faceoff, Klotz and McLaren also went, and this time it was a relatively lengthy bout, though ot quite so protraced as its predecessor, that was highly active; there were some heavy-duty fisticuffs being thrown on both sides. Klotz looked a little bloodied on his way up the tunnel, but I couldn't tell where the damage actually was so I'm hopping it's no worse than minor dents and dings. I can't really give a win in either bout, but I tip my cap to all four gladiators for having a lot of staying power.

Ah, shazbot, there goes the shutout. With 6:29 remaining, the score is now 6-1, Good Guys. I noticed that the next line that came onto the ice, following the goal-against, was the Briere line. I'd say we should go for getting that goal back, but that would almost be bad sportsmanship, given the lopsided score. (On the other hand, if we see things like Ross bring down a rain of headgear, I won't object a bit. :D

Whoa, Rob Bellamy just got SERIOUSLY blatantly hauled down during an attack. Patrick Traverse, the ex-Bear, gets to go to box and feel shame. Szwez, Beaulieu, Sirianni, Ratchuk, and Curry are on the PP... That's a combo we don't normally see as a PP unit. Looks like Paddock is giving some special-teams time to players who are less likely to see ice time with the man advantage.

Beans, Szwez just went up the tunnel with the trainer in tow. Freakin' heck, I hope it's not too bad. Speaking of guys who've undergone in-game repair work, Klotz is back on the bench.

HERE COME THE HATS, Rossco just put in the third one! Assists to DeSantis and Nodl. :)

And just think -- we still have a little of this period and the entire third period, left to go. The Sharks need to stay out of the box... I don't think that Worcester has kiled a penalty yet.

Then again, now we are killing a penalty of our own. Maroon has gone to the sin bin, and we will have 1:24 more PK time remaining at the start of the third period.

At the end of the second period, the Phantoms lead 7-1, and the SOG tally is Phantoms 19, Sharks 27.

Phantoms vs. Worcester Sharks: First Period

Daniel Briere is playing his first rehab game with the Phantoms, and he is in the starting line. Jared Ross, normally a center, has been moved to wing for the occasion. Ross still wears the C, due to Boyd Kane's injury.

Our injured guys include Nate Raduns, who got hurt over the weekend.

Claude Lemieux is wearing number 32 for Worcester. Here's hoping that if he makes his usual pest of himself, that we give back as good as we get (without being called for retaliation infractions.)

The Phantoms were being outshot 5-2 when we opened the scoring, early in the first period. Sean Curry did the honors.

Scott Munroe is in goal for the Phantoms, with Michael Teslak as backup. I don't know how this bodes for the return of Niittymaki to the Flyers lineup. I do know that Aubin is still not healthy. Frankly, that makes me a tad nervous, as he was backing up Teslak for the whole road trip (minus one period). If he's still hurt, IMO Aubin should not be backing up; he should be in the press box. Otherwise, in case of injury to our starter, we'll be replacing one dented goalie with another, and that's not a solution any sane team would employ.

Clackson and Moore just got in the World's Shortest Fight, none of which could I see over the people standing up. But neither guy looked particularly the worse for wear so I will presume, unless a Youtube clip proves otherwise, that someone lost an edge and went down early on.

In the time since scoring our goal, we have continued to be outshot. The current tally of shots, as we go on our first PP of the night, is Sharks 11, Phantoms 4, with the third of those being our goal.

Briere came out with our second PP unt, along with Maroon and Nodl. They promptly increased our goal total to 2, as Maroon scored with assists from Nodl and Briere. There was a huge cheer for Briere's name, as there was when he was announced as a starter. Briere is about as down-to-earth of a guy as I've seen in here, btw... He came up the tunnel high-fiving every fan's hand that was extended in his direction (most of which belonged to kids). :) Some sports stars might have forgotten where they "came from", so to speak, but Briere Gets It.

SCOOOORE, and once again it was a tally from the line centered by Briere. :) Ths time it was Ross, assisted by Syvret and Nodl. 3-0 GOOD GUYS, and it's so darn nice to be able to write about a multi-goal lead at last!

Now we're back on the Pecooooo Power Play and SCOOOORE -- Ross again! :) Assists this time were from Maroon and Syvret.

Wow, wow, wow, what a period we just had! The SOG are Phantoms 9, Sharks 14... But no fewer than FOUR of our shots found the net. The score at the first intermission is Phantoms 4, Sharks 0.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Phantoms at Lake Erie 1-11-09: Recap and Box Score; Briere will Rehab with Phantoms

Here is the link to the game recap from Sunday's game.

And here is the link to the box score.

Now, for the surprise of the day. According to the Flyers' website, Daniel Briere will spend two games rehabbing with the Phantoms. We've never been tasked with augmenting the recovery of the Flyers' best player before, so that's a nice thing. Besides -- not only will it give Briere some extra time to see if he's completely game-ready, it also buys our GM some time to make additional moves to clear salary cap space.

So here's to seeing these next couple of Phantoms games be mutually beneficial to both Briere and the Phantoms. Goodness knows we could use all the offense we can get, if his health's up to providing it. And if all goes well, then heck, Flyers, go crazy -- leave him with us for all THREE games he's eligible to play. :) We won't mind. Honest.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Phantoms at Lake Erie 1-11-09: Third Period

We've resumed play in the third period. Not a lot of note happened for the first few minutes, besides the call of a high-sticking infraction to Jonathan Matsumoto just now. Our first PK pair iS Ross/Szwez. Parent and Syvret are the D.

We successfully killed the penalty, and with 13:45 remaining, we got or second PP of the game. WHAT are these pinheads running the arenavision doing? We're taking a shot on goal and the view switches to a tiny kid eating a huge apple in the crowd? WTH? :banghead:

Unfortunately, we took a penalty of our own that erased the rest of our man advantage. Sirianni will sit, we'll play 4-on-4, and at the end of the Monsters' penalty, we will have a 40-second shorthanded stint. I like the chances that we're generating with the extra room on the ice during the 4-on-4. But Weiman, Lake Erie's goaltender, was equal to all challenges until the Monsters got their man back. Now we're killing the last 40 seconds of the tripping call. The Monsters are cycling, but so far have only gotten one shot on net with the man advantage. Now we're at even strength, but Lake Erie got a few more attempts on our net before we managed to break out of our zone.

Just as we reached the other end, Lake Erie helped us a bit more by taking an interference penalty. we gave up a shorthanded shot on goal, now we seem to be having some issues getting ourselves down to Lake Erie's end and getting set up. we have Ryan, Maroon, (couldn't see the third forward), Ratchuk, and Curry. OH, so close, we deflected a shot on goal but it went just high. Rats. The penalty is over, we are at even strength, and there is 7:38 left in the third period. Both teams are now 0-for-4 on PP opportunities tonight.

The Phantoms are really pressing to get that goose egg off the board. Unfortunately, they managed to break out when Smith got behind our D with the puck. He padded the Monsters' lead with another goal. It's now 3-0, Bad Guys. We have 5 minutes and change remaining in the period.

When some lady makes a big sign for the Lake Erie goalie, with "I LOVE TYLER WEINMAN" in huge letters, is it wrong to giggle upon realizing that she has spelled his name wrong (it should be Weiman)? If so, oops. Sorry. Didn't mean it. Couldn't help it.

What's the problem with this video all of a sudden? It's freezing up like last Friday's stream. At least I can hear the audio, if all I'm seeing is a slide show. Thank goodness it's a stoppage in play. I don't need to see fans dancing to "Cotton-Eyed Joe".

Play has resumed, and so has the video stream, thank goodness. Unfortunately, with one minute remaining in the game, we have given up 38 SOG for the ninth game in a row. It's awfully hard to win games when our opponent is getting that many opportunities on our net.

There goes the final horn. The Phantoms have been shut out for the second consecutive game.

We went 1-4 on this extended road trip. At the halfway point of the season, we have a record of 20-18-1-1.

I'll be back with the recap and box score when they're finalized and available online.

Phantoms at Lake Erie 1-11-09: Second Period

The game has resumed, the penalty has expired, the score remains 0-0, the little kid who's being shown in closeup on the arenavision is cute and looking at the huge slice of pizza she's eating is making me hungry.

Oh, and the Phantoms are about to get their first PP of the game. Ross, Sirianni, Szwez, Curry, and Syvret are our first PP unit. We are creating chances, which I like to see, but dang it, we did eventually got a pass intercepted. Teslak made a nice stop on a shorthanded chance, then handed off the puck to our D so we wouldn't have to get a faceoff in our zone. Matsumoto, Laliberte, Maroon, DeSantis, and (I can't see our other defenseman) are our second PP unit.

The Monsters did kill their penalty, but they also iced the puck, meaning that we were able to change lines but they had to keep their guys on the ice.

Szwez just got freaking STONED by the Monsters' goalie Weiman. Doggone, what a save. Ross's rebound went right to Szwez, and he took two SOG, on which he was downright robbed. Oh, look at who's on the Monsters -- our former Phantom Jesse Boulerice. Cool.

The people in charge of the Lake Erie arenavision have GOT to stop putting noise meters and fans on the screen WHILE PLAY IS IN PROGRESS. It's stupendously aggravating to have non-play-related images on the screen for 5-10 seconds after the play-by-play has resumed.

I'm actually surprised that the Lake Erie player didn't get called for delay of game here, as he skated STRAIGHT into his net during a multiple-shot-on-goal sequence for the Phantoms. It didn't really appear that he made any attempt to avoid hitting the net and knocking it way off its moorings.

Well, anyway, nothing was called, and we're approximately halfway through the period. The score remains 0-0 and if I heard right, the shots are even at 22 apiece.

Blah. The freaking Monsters did manage to score on the shift following that announcement. Rats. I was trying to figure out why the Lake Erie Monsters, whose jersey shows a sea monster (or lake monster, really), have a mascot working the crowd that's a... bald eagle? While the freaking arenavision was focusing on said mascot, play resumed and the Monsters scored. 1-0, Monsters.

Here goes another penalty against the Phantoms -- holding the stick against Matsumoto. Lake Erie's PP has not been particularly effective this year -- 12%, according to our announcer. (I spent the first intermission battling to get the Philly audio instead of the Lake Erie audio, and eventually succeeded.) Unfortunately, Lake Erie started getting multiple chances in quick succession, and it cost us. I'm still trying to determine if the goal went in during the PP or immediately after the penalty expired. Either way, the score is now 2-0 Monsters.

I just checked the box score during a break in play -- the second Monsters goal came one second after the penalty expired. The eagle mascot is tobogganing down the arena stairs, and the faceoff is in progress (but we still haven't cut over to the action on the ice).

LOL. They're showing the arena keyboard player with a caption, "He's what Willis was talking about". Bwahaha! Now if they could just get the darn cameras cut over to the play once the teams line up for the faceoff, instead of dawdling, I could get to like these arenavision operators.

The second period is now over. The Monsters lead 2-0, and the SOG are Lake Erie 25, Phantoms 24.

Phantoms at Lake Erie 1-11-09: First Period

I have been having a ton of issues trying to get the Phantoms audio on this gamecast instead of the Lake Erie (Cleveland) audio. I have finally given up on it and am watching the game with the home team's announcer instead of our own. It's infuriating that the ability to get the road team's audio with the cybercast appears to be malfunctioning this weekend.

Anyway... it's extremely late in the first period, and the score is currently 0-0. It has not been a penalty-fest, as it took until a few minutes ago before the first penalties were called, and even then it was coincidental minors.

Now, however, with less than 2 minutes remaining in the first period, the Lake Erie Monsters will be granted the first PP of the game. Mike Ratchuk will go. LMHO, the Lake Erie screen just showed a little blurb of information about Ratchuk: according to them, he has a pet mouse which he brings on roadtrips. :) Cute!

The first period has ended witih a 0-0 score. There will be a small amount of PK time remaining for the Phantoms at the start of the second period.

Phantoms at Grand Rapids 1-10-09: Griffins Take the Rematch

I completely missed Saturday's rematch in Grand Rapids due to not being at home. However, speaking from the standpoint of content on the Phantoms' side of the box score, I fear I didn't miss a whole lot. The Griffins shut out the Phantoms, 4-0, putting an end to our win streak after one game.

Here is the link to the game recap, and here is a link to the box score.

I can't offer a lot of opinions about a game I was unable to watch, except to say that once again, our goaltender was bombarded with shots. Teslak stopped 44 out of 48. We have got to figure out what is wrong, that we have had a long number of games in a row where we have given up excessively high numbers of shots on goal. And then we have to remedy that. We can't live in our end of the ice and expect to win games... we have got to start being the team doing the bombarding of the opposing netminder.

Anyway, on to posting about today's game, which I will attempt to do live (even though I can't seem to get the Philadelphia audio on the freaking gamecast again -- freaking AHL Live has Gremlins again). Go Phantoms!

Phantoms at Grand Rapids 1-9-09: FINALLY a win! Recap and Box Score

Due to not being available to post last night, I got a bit behind in posting. However, the good news is that the Phantoms won Friday night's game in 4-3 OT, so the Evil Losing Streak is officially over.

The online video streaming problems were either never repaired, or repaired after I gave up on them, so I couldn't live-blog Friday's game.

However, here is the link to the game recap on the Phantoms site, and here is the link to the box score.

It's unfortunate that Teslak wasn't honored as one of the three stars, as from what I can gather, he made a couple of ten-bell saves without which we'd never have reached OT in the first place. So kudos to him.

I'll create a separate post about Saturday's game, which I missed entirely, before moving on to posting about the game today (Sunday).

Friday, January 9, 2009

Phantoms at Grand Rapids 1-9-09: Connectivity problems

Boy, what a FRIGHTFUL connection we have tonight. I have missed most of the broadcast so far, on hold with the AHL Live Chat tech support.

The only thing I can discern, between the bits and drabs of video that are coming up, is that Szwez/Downey fought in the first few seconds of the game, and that there was another fight a few minutes ago.

I can't seem to access the Phantoms audio no matter what I do, and the video is more like a slide show than video.

AHL Live tech support said that there are some streaming issues at the arena, that the road team audio is available by radio, and that there are problems with the video. Um... yeah, I can confirm that diagnosis.

I hope they get the Gremlins out of the connection. As the game stands now, this is literally unwatchable.

To wit, the frozen-video stream jumped back into action just in time to show us the Griffins get a goal. The Grand Rapids announcer -- did I mention that the Philly audio is not available in combination with the video tonight? -- said that the Griffins have "tied the game at 1-1". Um, 1-1? I didn't even know the Phantoms had scored. The screen was frozen for that part of the game, I guess.

Well, I hope the Phantoms score more goals, whether I can see them or not. But I sure would rather see them.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Phantoms @ Hamilton Bulldogs 1-6-09: Recap and Box Score; AHL All-Star Selections

Here is the link to the recap of the game from the Phantoms site.

And here is the link to the box score.

On a more upbeat note, congratulations to Claude Giroux and Danny Syvret of the Phantoms, who were named to the AHL's Team Canada All-Star team on Tuesday. This follows on the heels of Giroux's being named the AHL Rookie of the Month for December.

Giroux is currently on callup to the Flyers, so he'll only be able to participate in the All-Star events if they send him back down. I hope they do that for him, even if it means calling him right back up the moment the game is over. I think it'd be a great experience for him to be there.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Phantoms @ Hamilton Bulldogs 1-6-09: Third Period

There has been a ton of back-and-forth during this period. That tends to make me nervous, because historically neither the Phantoms nor the Flyers have been teams prone to playing that sort of river hockey. There have been a lot of examples of this kind of play in recent Phantoms games; however, none of said games have resulted in wins. So I would just as soon see us find some ways to control the pace of the game enough to prevent these end-to-end-to-end sequences from happening.

Case in point: after a great chance by Maroon, the Bulldogs brought it back and Kemp, on a shot that may have been deflected, increased Hamilton's lead to 4-1. They did give Kemp credt for the goal, so apparently the powers-that-be have decided that the shot was not deflected. Either way, the hole that the Phantoms need to climb out of has just gotten a bit deeper.

We're currently shorthanded, with Bartulis in the box. I'm pleased to see us clearing the puck with authority, repeatedly. Boy, do I welcome the return of THAT aspect of our game.

TESLAK -- what a great couple of blocks he made at the very end of that PK! Good job!

Meanwhile, on my TV screen, the Flyers are going into a shootout vs. the Capitals. Have I mentioned recently that I BLEEPING LOATHE SHOOTOUTS? I see no logic to ending a team game with a one-on-one skills competition. So as far as I'm concerned, the Flyers/Caps game ended in a tie, and they are competing for a bonus point in a skills competition.

OK, then, back to the Phantoms game. There's a surprisingly long pause on the ice while Jeff Szwez gets sent off for slashing. I don't know if it was a TV timeout or what it was, but that stoppage in play took a lot longer than I'd expected.

Teslak just made another pair of great saves, both on Lehoux. Who, speaking of Lehoux, just got sent off for slashing. We'll be playing at 4 on 4 for a little while, with 4:17 left in the third period. After that, we'll have a 1:15 PP of our own.

Maroon to Clackson, whose shot gets stopped, but MAROOOOON gets the rebound and buries one with 44.8 seconds remaining! The score is now 4-2. Maroon gets the goal, assisted by Clackson and Ratchuk.

With six seconds remaining, we get coincidental minors to Maroon and Beauregard.

Unfortunately, we could draw no closer to tying the game than that. We go down 4-2 to the Hamilton Bulldogs. The Flyers lost also, 2-1 in a shootout. So this wasn't an ideal night for Philly hockey fans, for sure.

We have a few more contests left in this road trip, where I hope we will work out the bugs in our game and break this seven-game winless streak.
CLICK HERE to watch "The Final Countdown" video by Europe