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

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Phantoms vs. Povidence Bruins 2-28-09: Third Period

Wow, this ref is something with all these penalties one after the ther. As Matsumoto was exiting the box, the ref skated by him whie the Phantoms were on a rush, and his arm was up for another delayed penalty. This time it's the Baby Bs who are guity, so the Phantoms are on the PECOOOO POWER PLAY. Let's ee if we can retake the lead for the third time.

YES! LOL, exactly at the moment I typed the punctuation on the previous sentence, Matsumoto punctuated the PP with a puck in the net. Assists from Maroon and Kukkonen, and HAPPY NEW YEAR, the Phantoms are ahead again. 3-2, Good Guys, and the SOG are even at 24-24.

Now, a note to Our Heroes. Please commit everything short of mayhem to protect this lead. My blood pressure can't take all the back-and-forth. ;)

Wheeee... Aubin tried to wrap the puck around the boards from the back of our net, only to send it right to a Bruin in the corner. Fortunately, we had two guys on him immediately to get te puck back. The end result ws that Giroux went on the attack,a nd at some point during the breakout th Bs ran afoul of the ref yet again. Giroux was able to skte all the way around the net untouched because the ref's arm was up. Eventually, play ws stopped and we went on the PP.

With one second left in our PP, Kane goes off for roughing. Blah. So it's our turn to kill a penalty.

We have hardly seen anything resembling 5 on 5 hockey in this period. Just sayin'.

NICE glove save by Aubin. :) Gotta love when a neetminder snares the puck out of the air emphatically. I would, however, like to see us clear the puck. This line has been out for over a minute and they need a change. Good... Curry, Kukkonen, Kalinski, and Raduns go off. Matsumoto, Laliberte, Bartulis, and Syvret come on to replace them.

Now everyone is back on the ice, but we still need a clear. Kane, Nodl, Giroux, take the puck up ice -- even better than a cear. :() DeSantis fires from the faceoff circle, but it's into traffic as the Bs collapse around their net.

When the Bruins tri to take it back to our end, there's a mishap along the boards at our point. It seems lke one of the Bruins (#21) fell into the boards awkwardly -- I didn't quite see if he got hung up with the ref or linesman and lost his balance, or what happened. But he made a nasty thud sound when he hit ti e boards, and the trainer had to come out had help him re-orient.

SOG are 27-27... Oh, bah humbug, no they aren't. Freaking Providence fired one shot that found nothing but net, tying the game and giving the Bruins one more shot on goal than we have. 8:08 is gone in the period. 3-3.

Ratchuk and Kalinski double-team a Bruin at our blue line, and Kalinskin takes the puck away from him. On the ensuing rush, Kalinski not only crashes the net, but somehwo in the traffic he winds up running over the goalie as well. No penalty on the play, and nobody was hurt worse than being a bit shaken up. Fortunately.

Nice, matumoto -- he took th epuck away from a Bruin and sent it up to Laliberte at the Providence point. We came oh-so-close to ptting it in, as evidenced by the loud OHHHHH from the fans at that end of the ice. And loud is the only way to describe it, as we have over 10,000 fans in the house tonight. Nice. :)

Heh, when Ratchuk and a Bruin collided in the corner to Aubin's left, Ratchuk made certain that when he went down the Bruin also fell to the ice.

Ah, with 6:47 left in the period, the Phantoms are returning to the PECOOOOO Power Play. So let's see what we can do with this one. Kane, Nodl, Giroux, Syvret, and Kukkonen are the first group out. No dice. 3/4 of the way through the penalty, out come Curry, Ratchuk, Laliberte, Matsumoto, and Maroon. But now the darn Bruins are clearing the puck before we can get set up. So the PP ends and the score remains 3-3.

Ha, Clackson just flattened a guy who was going after the loose puck that he also had targeted.

3:31 left. SOG Phantoms 34, Bruins 30. Score 3-3. Even strength. Phantoms on the rush with Giroux/Kane/Nodl/Curry/Syvret. That'w an interesting tweak to the D... As is Bartulis/Kukkonen, the D pair that came out to replace them. Looks like for whatever reason, we're going with the more experienced D in the final minutes of the frame. Curry/Syret are out again with Matsumoto's lne. And again, Bartulis/Kukkonen with kalinski, raduns, and Giroux. (Ratchuk and DeSantis, the two rookie D, are the ones who haven't been out for several shifts.
Forward groupings looked a little jumbled, too, given that the previous threesome gave way to Matsumoto, Nodl, Kane. Now Maroon, Laliberte, Giroux, Syvret, Curry, and we are going into OT.

SOG at the end of the third period: Phantoms 36, Bruins 30. In 60 seconds, we will go to a 4 on 4 OT session.

First up in the OT: Giroux, Kane, Bartulis, Kukkonen. We had a couple hairy-looking moments in front of our net, but nothing came of it. Next up, Matsumoto, Laliberte, Syvret, Curry.

We really do appear to have shortened our bench to four D. Nodl, Giroux, Bartulis, and Kukkonen are the next foursome. I am not happy with the amount if time we are spending in our end. NOdl was replaced by Kalinski, but the other three remained the same. Now there's a scrap in the faceoff circle to Aubin's left, for a moment it looked like only alinski was getting sent off. The fans booed heartily, until a Bruin ws pried out of the crowd and steered into the visiting sin bin. So the penalties are ONE minute during OT, so we will have a minute of 3 on 3. Interesting. Giroux, Syvret, and Kukkonen are out for us. Smart move -- at least one offensive D-man and the guy who I'd say is our best forward right now.

Gaaah, Giroux got the shot on goal, but the darn rebound went behind the Phantom who was charging in to collect any loose pucks. Heck.

Now it's Matsumoto, Kalinski, Bartulis, and Curry (the D pairs got a tad tweaked when we had that penalty.)

Oh, COME ON, ref, it's a freaking CONTACT sport. Bartulis goes off for a minute with 1:21 left. Providence calls a timeout. OK, guys. Giroux, Kukkonen, Syvret and ha, we got the puck out of the zone. It didn't go too far over the blue line though, so we are back to defending. Nice play by Giroux to break up a chance. Bruins hit the post, thank goodness, and now our guy is back. Whew. My freaking nerves with this 4-on-3 stuff. With 11 seconds left, the Phantoms call timeout. SOG are Phantoms 39, Bruins 34. And that is how the OT ends. We now go to the only thing I dislike more than the freaking new Delay of Game rules... A shootout. I FREAKING LOATHE SHOOTOUTS. ARGH GRRRR AACK!

OK, now that I've gotten THAT out of my system... In the AHL the shootouts go five rounds, and after that it goes to sudden death rounds if need be.

Maroon goes first. No.
Bruins: yes.
Matsumoto goes: YES.
Bruins: no. 1-1
Giroux: no
Bruins: yes
Laliberte: YES 2-2
Bruins: no
Syvret: no
Bruins: no

So it's 2-2 at the en if the first five rounds.
Matsumoto: no
Bruins: no
Maroon: no
Bruins: no
Giroux: YES
Bruins: no

Phantoms win the shootout 3-2 and the game 4-3.

Phantoms vs. Providence Bruins 2-28-09: Second Period

I got a delayed start on blogging the second period, as I got hung up in a long concession line. (There is a sale on merchandise tonight, with 20-25% off most items, and lots of peope decided to take advantage of the savings.)

Anyway, I could hear that we got some power plays, and I could see the TV in the Fan Gear store, but the only thing we racked up so far has been shots on goal. At the time that we are sending a player to the sin bin, with 8:33 remaining in the second period, the Phantoms have 21 SOG compared to the Bruins' 19. However, we are now about to see Maroon sit for two minutes, so it's time for us to keep the Bad Guys away from our net.

We now have 37 seconds more of penalty to kill, and I'm very pleased so far. We haven't allowed even one shot on goal, and we have succeeded in clearing the puck repeatedly throughout this entire PK. It's been a textbook shorthanded situation so far.

Here goes Matsumoto and Laliberte with a SH 2 on 2. We didn't get a shot, but we did chew up a few more seconds. And there's Maroon, out of the box. We did it. Oh, and the moment we went on the attack, a Bruin tried to take the puck from Maroon and the ref called play dead. We are on another PP, moments after we returned to even strength. Syvret, Kukkonen, Nodl, Kane, and Giroux are out. Syvret seems to want to go for the top fo an umbrella formation, but Kukkonen keeps heading toward the point. This is interesting. Then Kukkonen eased his way to the top of the slot and fired on net. Too bad the rebound went to the opposite side from where our guy was standing at the crease's edge, lookng for a loose puck to ca in.

Next up: Curry, Ratchuk, Matsumoto, Laliberte, and Maroon. Maroon is crease-sitting. Curry and Ratchuk have no debate over whether to man the points or try the umbrella formation... They are at the points. Whoops... Curry pnched in to about the top of the faceoff circle, and the puck got behind him. This led to a SH breakout by the Bruins, but Aubin stopped the shot on goal. We did end up with a defensive-zone draw as a result.

Oddly enough, we were not credited with any shots during that PK. I am not entirely sure that's correct, to put it midly. I could have sworn we got one or two. But in any case, with 3:38 remaining in the period, the SOG are even at 21-21, the score is even at 2-2, and the teams are playng 5 on 5.

We had one interesting exchange where Maroon and a Bruin whose number I couldn't see got in one another's face, as the Bs were heading out of their end. The linesman intervened and play continued. However, again, in the final two minutes, we got a penalty. This time it was Matsumoto. So we will be shorthanded for the remainder of this period and into the next one. SOG are 22-22.

The period is over, and the SOG are now Bruins 24, Phantoms 22. The score remains 2-2. The Phantoms will have 43 seconds of PK time remaining at the start of the third period.

Phantoms vs. Providence Bruin s 2-28-09; First Period

Our scrtches are Klotz, Gratton, and Bellamy.

Ross is still called up, and Guenin was called up to join him today. Back with the Phantoms are Lasse Kukonen and Claude Giroux.
J-S Aubin gets the start tonight. Line combinations coul be interesting, as our starting lineup shows there's been some reordering of the forward groupings. Kalinski is centering Kane and Clackson. Syvret and DeSantis are the starting D.

Former Phantom Ned Lukacevic, who started the season on our team and was traded early on, is here with the P-Bruins.

Our second line is the usual Matsumoto/Laliberte/Maroon, with Bartulis and Kukkonen as the D pairl Ratchuk and Curry are the third D pair, with Nodl, GIroux, and ... Kane? That's interesting. He was with two different guys n the starting lineup.I guess we'll see who the regular winger is with Clackson/Kalinski later.

BTW, four seconds into the first shift, someone shoved at Clackson and there was a ten-skater conference over by the point in the Providence end. It never ceases to amaze me how cranky these teams are with one another, considering that we only see one another twice during the regular season. It's as if the ghost of the Flyers/Bruins rivalry lives on through the farm teams 30 years later.

SCORE! MAROOOOON with his 21st goal of the year, with assists from Laliberte and Matsumoto. NICE. 6:06 into the game, we take the lead. I like being ahead early.

But you know what I would have liked even better? STAYING ahead early. The dratted Bruins, and in particular the guy with the most interesting name in pro hockey, Wacey Rabbit, tied the game within two minutes. 1-1.

Oh, and Raduns is the winger who is with Clackson and Kalinski.

Nice defensive move by Matsumoto: Aubin made a save that sent the puck a good 15 feet straight up. As it fell, Matsumoto made sure to punch it out of harm's way so it wouldn't bounce into the net or onto the stick of a waiting Bruin at the edge of the crease.

With 10:40 left, SOG are Bruins 9, Phantoms 5. We h ave taken two shots on goal, at most, since we sored. And that's only because I'm not sure if the goal was our third or fourth shot on goal. We need to get something going in Providence's end, same as last night.

Matsumoto lugs the puck up ice, but he's got both defenders to contend with. Now it's Giroux coming on the ice to replace him, with Maroon crashing the net. Nope, no dice, though we did at least get the puck on net. In fact, we have more first period shots now (7) than we did in the entire first frame last nigt (5, and we stil have eight minutes and change remaining in the frame.

SCOOOORE! Clackson was at the crease's edge, and I think he distracted everyone enough that they never picked up the trailer. Kalnski swooped in and buried the puck. Assist to Sean Curry. We have 7:20 remaining in the period. SOG Providence 10, Phantoms 8.

Blast. And about two and a half minutes later, we have a HUGE scrum in front of our net. Curry's stick broke, and no matter how many Phantoms tried to interpose themselves between the puck and the twine, we let one too many rebounds fall into the danger zone. A Bruin was there to fire it home and tie the score again at 2-2.

With less than two minutes left in the period, Raduns goes to the box. Our first PK unit was Kane, Kalinski, Bartulis, and Kukkonen. Now it's Nodl, Giroux, Syvret, and Bartuls. There goes the end of the period. SOG Phantoms 11, Bruins 15. The score is 2-2, and the Phantoms will have 16 seconds of PK left when the second period begins.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Phantoms vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2-27-09: Third Period

Three minutes into the period, Mannino has had a couple of pucks to stop, while Munroe has been ide. THIS is how we need to conduct business in this period. (Even better would be getting pucks on net that Mannino *doesn't* stop ;), but we have to get some freaking offense going. Period.)

Three minutes later, there has been a lot of action in the neutral zone, but nothing much else. This favors Bridgeport, obviously, as they only need to keep us away from their end in order to win. They don't necessarily have to press for more goals. I actually do hope they go into a defensive shell, because I think that even without Ross in the lineup, we have enough scoring on our roster to make a team regret trying the "prevent defense" tactic. SOG Sound Tigers 21, Phantoms 12 with 12:38 left.

MUNY with the point-bank save, as Smith one-times a puck at the crease's edge!

Oooops, LOL. For the first time ever, an in-game host accidentally picked a fan of the visiting team to play a contest. He won the "finish the song" game, and then followed up with "Let's go, Sound Tigers". Good thing it's a substitute host, as our normal guy is over at the Flyers game. (He's a Flyers STH.) I don't think the team would wnt to have to find a new host for our team this ate in the season. ;)

We hit ANOTHER flipping POST! Blast these freaking magnetized pucks! The score remains 3-1, Bad Guys. :headdesk: :headdesk: If the darn post shots had gone in, this game would be tied. Oh, well.

Here comes the "It's a Friday in Lent, so some of us can't participate" hot dog toss. Though really, I've seen these hot dogs... The question is, do they have enough meat in them to actualy qualify as something that should be avoided on a Lenten Friday? ;)

Aaah, Nodl would have had a great scoring chance if the darn puck hadn't rolled on him. Darn thing had a bit too much momentum on its way to his stick blade, and it hit the toe of the blade and kept going. He still managed to give us a boost, however, by BURYING a guy in the corner a little later on the same shift.

CRUD! Crud and double crud. We let someone get the puck RIGHT in front of Munroe. Nobody was anywhere the heck near the guy, and he deked and buried the puck in the net. To add insult to injury, someone in the scorer's booth had a brain cramp and sounded the goal horn, for a goal AGAINST. Geesh. First we get a "Let's Go, Sound Tigers" on the PA and now the darn goal horn celebrates the wrong team's goal. Um, HELLO? Freakin' Friday the 13th was two weeks ago, so we should be well out of Mishap Mode. AAAAnyway... 4-1, Sound Tigers.

Guenin blocked a shot. I knew I'd get to type that before the game was out. ;) Unfortunately, it's the last minute of play, so we haven't got a lot of time left to make up this deficit.There goes the final horn. Sound Tigers 28, Phantoms 16. Matt Clackson was the third star of the game.

Phantoms vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2-27-09: Second Period

The second period got off to an odd start. One of the Sound Tigers, who I believe wears #37, took a strange fall as his team crossed our blueline. I didn't see anything out of the ordinary, as it happened so fast, but it sounded odd when he landed. THAT made me take a closer look. Sure enough, he was having trouble getting up, and the ref blew the whistle. His trainer and a teammate helped him off the ice, favoring one leg.

Raduns, Bellamy, and Szwez (a partial line change, as Bellamy is on a different line) gave us our best chance so far, with five minutes gone in the period. Their shot on goal wound up in the slot, where only a diving play by the goalie kept it from gong in.

Two shifts later unfortunately, Bridgeport succeeded in burying another puck on us. 2-0 Bad Guys. SOG Sound Tigers 11, Phantoms 5.

We have been having a real challenge during this period sustaining any offense. We get a little something going in the Sound Tigers end, but we only have two shots to show for it in this frame. Bridgeport keeps on taking the puck and rushing it down to OUR end.

Maybe now we'll have a chance to get something started, as we are on the PP. YES! Laliberte scores from the left faceoff circle! Assists to Matsumoto and Curry, and the Phantoms are on the board! 2-1! SOG Sound Tigers 13, Phantoms 7.

Nuts... The dratted Sound Tigers get it back almost right away. 3-1. SOG Sound Tigers 15, Phantoms 7. We have got to find ways to keep them out of our zone -- we are spending too much time in front of Munroe, and nowehere near enough time in front of Mannino. Nice hit Kane... Speaking of being in front of Mannino, that's where we were when Kane buried a guy behind the Sound Tigers net.

FIGHT. Clackson vs. Rechlicz (sp). It was a LONG bout, whose momentum seemed to swing back and forth repeatedly (a few punches from one, a few from the other, repeat several times over). I'd score it a draw, as there was no clearcut edge to either player for any length of time, but I will note that Rechlicz got the takedown.

NOW we're doing some good stuff and getting in front of Mannino. Maroon's shot missed the net, unfortunately. Kalinski and someone are now having it out in the corner to Mannino's left. I can't see who the other guy is... Ah. Gleed. The flipping popcorn guy keeps walking between me an the action so it's hard to describe the proceedings. Hah... Looks like there were no penalties called on that shoving match. (THAT'S interesting... I'm used to refs who call infractions when guys gare at one another too much.) Fine by me if the officials Let Them Play; I wish it would happen a bit more often.

There has been a lot of back-and-forth in this period. I'm not overly happy when we start playing river hockey, because that's not a style of game that this team is built to thrive in. The other difference is, when the Sound Tigers get in front of Munroe, they have tended to get the puck on net. When we have been on the attack, we have ony gotten three shots in the whole period so far (we have six and a half inutes left in the frame). One of those went in, but STILL. Not good.

Here's an interesting call. Two guys, one from each team, were assessed two mintues for "delay of the game". Hmm. That's the first time I have ever seen coincidental minors for THAT. So we are at 4 on 4 for the time being. Our guy in the Sin Bin is Szwez.

To make a long story less long, the 4 on 4 ended without goals for either team. Now we have 3:35 left n the period. SOG Sound Tigers 19, Phantoms 8.

Nice save, Munroe, on a point blank attempt from the slot. Boy, it's like the ice is tilted the wrong way tonight, the way play keeps migrating to our zone. We have a mintue and a half left in the period, so I hope the coaches offer some feedback during the second intermission that will help us actually sustain some offensive pressure.

AAAH, we just clanged one off the dagnab pipe! Sheesh, we get the darn biscuit on net and the ang thing has a magnet in it.

Ah, now we're up to something. Szwez shoves Gleed to the ice (no call) and Gleed gets up and slashes him (also no call). We respond with two more fantastic shots on goal. Unfortunately, time is not our friend and the period ends while we are on the attack. SOG at the end of the frame: Sound Tigers 21, Phantoms 10. The score is 3-1, Bridgeport.

Phantoms vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2-27-09: First Period

Scratches: Klotz, Gratton, Ross
Starting Lineup: Munroe, Guenin, Syvret, Matsumoto, Laliberte, Maroon

Boy, we started the game on a hair-raising note. We got hung up in our own slot and the Tigers gort a couple of good opportunities before we finally cleared the darn puck. I'm surprised to see only one shoton goal credited to Bridgeport, as they had at least three slarming-lookng attempts before we got the puck out of harm's way.

Kalinski is centering a line with Nodl and Kane. Bartulis and DeSantis are our second D pair. Our third line is Radunsm Clackson, and Szwez. Curry nd Ratchuk are our last D pair. Ratchuk nearly got a clean SOG from the slot, but the puck looks like it might have rolled on him or something because the shot kind of drifted off to the left.

Bellamy, Sirianni, and Beaulieu are our fourth line.

Four minutes into the period, that one shot on goal by the Sound tTgers remains the only time that a puck was credited with reaching the net.

Paddock seems to be just rolling the lines in order early on.

NICE keep-in, Oskars! Ditto for a nice move by Curry to bat a puck away from our net, a shift later. I ike to see our D doing good things. Maybe having a dose of Kukkonen helped everyone turn it up a notch... if not from having the chance to play alongside someone with a lot of experience, then because of the knowledge that they will have to make the top six D or sit out. Oh, NICE hit by Beaulieu in the Bridgeport end. He buried someone down at the half-boards.

Crud. With 12:11 left and the SOG 1-1, Bridgeport scores on their second shot on goal. And of course I have a group of eight Sound Tigers fans behind me when it happens, arrrgh. But said group was kind of in the wrong row, so during the ensuing stoppage of play they shifted over to their actual group of seats. 1-0, Bridgeport.

Ah, a Flyers update. They're playing across the street right now, and we ony get updates when things are going well for the Orange and Black. Lupul scored to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead over Montreal.

The Phantoms get the first PP of the game, for the first time in a while. Matsumoto's line is out with Curry and Syvret. The SOG at the time of the infraction was 2-2. Maroon is stationed at the crease's edge, but his attempt to cash in a rebound didn't quite work.

Next up is Kalinski's line, with Ratchuk and DeSantis (four of our five skaters are rookies). After them, Matsumoto's line and Curry/Cyvret came back out. We're trying, but we aren't creating a lot of opportunites this time around. At the endof the PP, SOG were 3-3.

Matsumto and Maroon get a 2-on1. Matsumoto's shot goes of the glass. Drat. Next shift, Beaulieu and Sirianni get the two-on-1 and crash the net. But we didn't get the puck ON net. In fact, with under four minutes remaining in the period, the SOG are still 3-3, the same as they were when our PP ended. That's a good five minutes since anyone gave one of the goaltenders something to do.

Curry gets hold of the puck at the top of the slot, and his attempted shot on goal is causing a scramble down in front of the Sound Tigers crease. Fans down at that end of the ice gave a big AWWWW, so one fo the several attempts must have JUST missed its mark.

With 2:39 left in the period, SOG are 4-4 now. So there's been a wee bit of activity in the offense department. We also have a PK right now, with Clackson sitting. Matsumoto, Laliberte, Guenin, and Syvret are out for us. Halfway through the infraction, we successfully clear the puck and change lines: Raduns, Kane, Bartulis, and Curry. Next up, Nodl, Kalinski, Guenin, Syvret.

The penalty is over, and SOG are Sound Tigers 7, Phantoms 4. There's less than one minute remaining in the period.

At the end of the period, SOG are Sound TIgers 8, Phantoms 4. Ths core is 1-0, Bridgeport.

Phantoms vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2-27-09: Pregame Comments

The good news: Josh Gratton and Jonathon Kalinski are healthy enough to resume playing, and both of them have been assigned to the Phantoms.

The bad news: Glen Metropolit and Ossi Vaananen, who were being waived for the purpose of being sent to the Phantoms, were claimed this morning by Montreal and Vancouver, respectively. So that's a pair of boosts to our roster that were cancelled out before they even happened. Phooey.

Jared Ross is called up to the Flyers, as Daniel Briere is not quite game-ready. (Either that, or our salary cap situation is not quite league-ready. Take your pick.) Lasse Kukkonen has also returned to the Flyers, as his original assignment to us was a 14-day conditioning stint. The Flyers might waive him again in order to assign him to the Phantoms for real, but that isn't going to happen until Timonen returns to the lineup; he's currently battling the flu.

So that's the state of our callups and send-downs as I know it. We need a scorecard to keep track of the scorecard, the way things have been going lately.

I can see that Munroe will be our starter, as he just led the team out of the tunnel for the pregame warmup. The team is wearing special Spectrum-themed third jerseys, which wil be auctioned off in April.

I didn't see Gratton warm up with the team before the game. Jonathon Kalinski, however, was on the ice during the warmup. So was Jason DeSantis, who's been the odd man out on the blueline during the games when Kukkonen was in our lineup.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Phantoms at Hershey Bears 2-21-09: Third Period and OT

During the second intermission, I am looking at the box score. It appears that the assists will be changed on Maroon's goal. The AHL's website indicates that Nodl and Ross are now credited with assists on the goal.

Matsumoto, Laliberte, Guenin,and Syvret start the frame for us. Here is a familiar phras, e: Guenin blocks a shot. :)

However, the pesky Bears do score on a knuckle-puck during the second half of Kane's double minor, so the score is now 4-3, Phantoms.

Hershey is really pressing now. They want that tying goal. We are going to have to get the heck out of our zone. SOG in the period have all gone to the Bears: 5-0.

Come on, guys, we really need to get out of our end for more than a few moments. Blah, we only got half a line change complete before getting called for icing, so we have got some really tired people out there for a defensive-zone draw. Between that and the INTERFERENCE call that Koharsky missed, the Bears score and tie the game. :swear: I can deal with the icing call, but the missed infraction when we have half-dead guys on the ice really burns my biscuits. 4-4.

As we get old waiting for a faceoff -- not sure if something is amiss or if this is a regular promo timeout -- there are about 11 minutes remaining in the third period and we are being outshot 11-1 in this period. Not what I want to hear. Let's go, Phantoms!

And we promptly shoot on goal. :)

CURSE WORDS. I hate the lack of video replay in the AHL. Ko-FREAKING-harski waved off a goal that appeared to have crossed the goal line. Tellingly, there was no video replay provided for the fans on this play... that makes me wonder if the replay would have shown that the ref messed up. We remain tied 4-4.

Now in the final five minutes or so of the period, it's the Phantoms who are pressing hard. But we have a slight break in the action as Munroe needs to have his mask fixed.

GUENIN blocks a shot at a really crucial time. However, the farging Delay of Game rule comes back to bite usm as Matsumoto's clearing pass goes over the glass. We will spend the rest regulation shorthanded, provided we kill the penalty and make it to OT.

With 30 seconds remaining, Munroe freezes the puck and we are able to changel ines. WHEW.

The third period is over, and we are going into OT. Egad, this game is hard on the blood pressure. Matsumoto's penalty expires at the end of regulation, so it won't bleed into the OT frame. We are at 4 on 4 for the extra frame. For his third-period heroics, especially inthat late PK, I think the team owes Munroe a dinner.

Mayotte makes a nice save on Raduns and freezes the puck, about halfway through the OT. However, these last couple of minutes of overtime are being spent in front of Munroe a bit too much for my liking. Ah,here we go, down to the other end and we have a flurry in front of Mayotte... unfortunately we don't cash it in. Eventually, we ice the puck with 4.7 seconds left in OT. We have already gone to shootout twice this season with Hershey, and it appears that we are close to doing so for a third time.

No dice. BLAST. WHile the bleeping stupid arenavision was showing a "Let's go Bears" graphic, the darn Bears score off a rebound from the faceoff. Farg. 5-4 Bears in OT with 1.1 seconds left. Rats, Nobody picked up Aucoin on the doorstep.

Our next games are at home on Friday and Saturday.

Phantoms at Hershey Bears 2-21-09: Second Period

As I sit here looking at tonight's box score, I realize that we have had Terry Koharski as the referee two nights in a row. Hmm...

Depending on how he does tonight, we can always offer him a seat in the Dunk Tank at tomorrow's Flyers Wives Carnival. :D

Darn it, The Wrong Giroux just tied the score 1-1.Actually, maybe he needn't be referred to by that name tonight, as the Phantoms' Giroux is up with the Flyers. But in any event, I really wish Washington would just call Giroux the heck up and KEEP him there. Pain in the tail Phantoms killer. ;)

WTG MATSUMOTO, he steals the puck and gets it to Laliberte to get the one-goal lead back! 2-1 Phantoms!

SZWEZ promptly scores less than 30 seconds later, and Hershey's coach is switching goalies. We are only 2:45 into a rather eventful period. This goal was unassisted. 3-1 Phantoms.

Matsumoto just did precisely what a forward is supposed to do when his defenseman breaks his stick: he gave Sean Curry his own twig. This could have made life rather interesting for Curry, as Matsumoto is a good six inches shorter than he is, plus one shoots left and the other hoots right. Also, per Brian Smith, Matsumoto has "the strangest tape job I've ever seen". LOL But Curry does manage to clear the puck without incident. :)

Speaking of Curry, it's now a few shifts later and he is about to go to the sin bin. Raduns manages to pilfer the puck from The Wrong Giroux and get a shorthanded scoring chance, but nothing comes of that. Besides some time chewed off the penalty kill, that is. Kane also managed to haul the puck up the ice shortly thereafter. Now we are back at even strength, so we dodged the PK bullet.

MUNROE -- terrific save! Gotta love him! :)

It's now the Bears' turn to kill a penalty. And it appears to be OUR turn to fend off a Bears rush. OK, guys, let's go down to the other end and bug Hershey's goalie for a while. BLAST. Freaking Bears. The moment we returned to even strength, Hershey scored on a double deflection. 3-2 Phantoms.

What? Hershey is getting ready to go to the penalty box again -- one of our guys got high-sticked right after the faceoff. Joudry has earned a double minor, so we have got to make good on this chance. Ross, Nodl, Kane, Curry, and Syvret are out. These guys stayed out long enough to be gassed by the end of the shift. Next up, Matsumoto, Maroon, Laliberte, Ratchuk, Kukkonen, SCOOOOORE! Maroon buries one stick side during the second half of the double minor! 4-2 Phantoms! Nodl must have just come back out, because he and Ratchuk got the assists. That was Maroon's 20th goal of the season. NICE!

Rats. Kane now goes off for four minutes, having high-sticked Osala. Ouch. We will be starting the third period on the PK. At the end of the second period, the score is 4-2 Phantoms. SOG: Phantoms 19, Bears 17.

Phantoms at Hershey Bears 2-21-09: First Period

The Phantoms have dressed the same roster tonight as they did last night. Our two scratches then were DeSantis and Klotz. The Bears have been bitten by the injury bug, so we really have to do everything possible to capitalize on that.

Clackson and Grant MacNeill have an early fight. Edge to Clackson, given the number of lefts he landed to MacNeill's head/face. Once the two of them settled down and started wrestling, Clackson eventually got the takedown.

As was the case last night, the first opportunity to kill a penalty will go to the Phantoms. Once we returned to even strength, Ross takes a fantastic SOG that finds the back of the net, just as he was falling to the ice. 1-0 Phantoms with 4:57 remaining in the period. Assist goes to Nodl.

There goes the horn to end the period. The Phantoms lead 1-0, and the SOG are Phantoms 11, Beard 9.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Phantoms vs. Portland Pirates 2-20-09: Third Period

Just before the third period started, they added an assist on the third Phantoms goal. It should now be Patrick Maroon from David Laliberte.

I wonder if one of Portland's goalies is sick? They swapped goaltenders again to start the third... AAAA, SCOOOORE. Boyd Kane puts one in on our first shot of the period. Assists from Nodl and Ross, 21 seconds into the period.

That's the third time we scored early in the period in this game. Portland is having an overall rough go of it tonight. We are doing the right thing by cashing in on that whenever possible, but I suspect the Pirates will not be the happiest team that ever got on a bus once it's time for them to head out of here. 6-0.

Aaah, phooey, there goes the shutout. 6-1, Phantoms with 16:37 left in the period. Would have been nice to see J-S keep that goose-egg on the board, as a show of how well he has played in his last couple of games. Still, as long as we keep our cool and play for the W, it will be good for the team with or without the shutout. We just have to do OUR job and not relax.

With 9:13 left in the period, the score remains 6-1. SOG are Phantoms 28, Pirates 21.

SCOOOORE, about a minute later -- Ross fires one on the netminder that actually does hit the goalie, but keeps going and bounces into the net. Assist goes to Nate Guenin. 7-1 Phantoms.

Nuts. 7-2, just as I was typing that in. OK, we can't go exchanging goals for the rest of the period. Let's make sure that we don't give up opportunities for the Pirates to get some life.

SOG are now Phantoms 29, Pirates 22. So as soon as I typed in the update at 9:13, both teams scores on their next shot on goal. Hmm.

Aw, for goodness sakes. With under 3 minutes left in the period, Clackson gets called for tripping. We have only had one PP in this game, if my memory serves, but so far we have been killing penalties nicely. I hate being shorthande this late in the game, although at least at this point we have a wide enough margin that it shouldn't make or break our chance at a win.

Such as, for example, right now when Portland just had a goal disallowed for hitting the puck in with a high stick. Interestingly, that was reason enough to move the faceoff all the way to the Pirates' end.

We are at even strength in the final minute of the game. Aaaaand there's the final horn. Phantoms win 7-2. SOG Phantoms 30, Pirates 27. Stars of the game were #3 Laliberte, #2 Kane, and obviously #1 Maroon.

Phantoms vs. Portland Pirates 2-20-09: Second Period

MAROOOOOOON scores, assisted by Laliberte and Kukkonen, 49 seconds into the frame! IT was a nice show of persistence on the Phantoms' part, as Maroon's shot was the third in succession. The goalie stopped the initial shot and the first rebound, but Maroon was right there at the top of the crease to fire in the second rebound.

AAH! MAROOOOON does it again, this time unassisted! THere he was to stuff in a puck at the left post. :) So we have taken four shots on goal in the period, and scored on the third and fourth attempt. 3-0 Phantoms, quite iterally in less time than it took for me to type it.

Ooooopsie... Raduns goes for tripping with 17:01 left in the period. Rossk Nodl, Guenin, and Syvret are out. (Speaking of whom, Ross has an A on his jersey and Guenin does not... These are auction jerseys and they were most likely assembed rior to any changes to the assistant captains that took place last week.)

Matsumoto and Laliberte go barreling up the ice for a SH 2 on 2, but one of the Pirates prevents Matsumoto's pass across to Laliberte. Rats. We tried.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we gave up three shots while we were killing thepenalty, but Aubin was upu to the challenge.

I can't help but notice that w3hen play is down at our end of the ice, the Pirates goalie is IN his net. Literally "in", as though he is impersonating a hermit crab. He's leaned forward in a crouch, watching play, but honest to gosh from his shoulders down he is behind the goal line. That's a stance I can't honestly say I've seen before.

With 12:25 left in the period, and the SOG Phantoms 16, Pirates 10, we have a player in the sin bin. Curry has gone off, so we are going on the PK yet again.

SCOOOORE, Kane fires on net shorthanded and it pings off the goalie's mitt and bounces in. Kukkonen assisted. The Pirates have changed goalies. There is 1:01 left in the PK. 4-0, Phantoms.

OMG, MAROOOON gets his third of the game! Lalberte and Guenin get the assists. THere was a scramble in front, and Maroon's shot deflected off something ast the goalie was trying to move post-to-post. I think it hit a defender's skate or stick, but in any case, it went five-hole on the netminder. 5-0, Phantoms.

Now the Phantoms are absolutely being as aggressive on the rush as they've been this season. They're charging into the Pirates' end like there's a winning Lotto ticket to be had for the next guy to score a goal. The Pirates, meanwhile, are understandably frustrated and it's boiling over right in front of Keith Jones's booth. Somehow, only Clackson gets a roughing minor, which is kind of ridiculous when you consider that all ten skaters were in a shoving match. Not to mention, once play resumed, a red-clad attacker knocked J-S Aubin flat right in the crease. No call. Mumble grumble mumble...

Portland swapped netminders again, btw -- their starting goaltender is back out. I woudn't say he's getting an awful lot of help, given the number of SH scoring opportunities that we've had in this game.

Wth 5:26 left, we're having a promo timeout. The teams are at even strength, SOG are Phantoms 21, Pirates 14, and the score remains 5-0 Phantoms.

Fight between Portland's #17 and a Phantom who I couldn't see at first. The Pirate hit one of our guys from behind, knocking him to the ice. The puck was nowhere near this, as far as I could tell. Next thing I knew, there was an orange-and-back-jerseyed combatant having at him. I would give the edge and the takedown to our guy... Who turned out to e David Laliberte. Serves #17 right for thinking he could take liberties (no pun intended) while our scoring line was on the ice. Laliberte gets five minutes for fighting. His wltz partner got two for interference and five for fighting. So with a bit less than two minutes remaining in the frame, we are going on the PP.

Ross got nailed by an attempted shot on goal as he stood at the crease's edge. He proceeded to head up the tunnel. He looked to be in some pain, but since I couldn't tell just where he was hurting, I hope it's something that will go away by the time the second intermission ends.

At the end of the second period, the Phantoms lead 5-0. SOG are Phantoms 22, Pirates 15. The Phantoms have 18 seconds of PP time remaining when the third period begins.

Phantoms vs. Portland Pirates 2-20-09: First Period

Scratches: DeSantis, Klotz
Starting Lineup: Aubin, Ratchuk, Curry, Matsumoto, Laliberte, Maroon

Ratchuk is the Birthday Boy today. He's 21. They get younger and younger in this league, I swear. My husband has a nutty theory that the players stay in the same age range and it's US getting older every year. But I don't feel a bit older, so that can't be right. Have you ever heard something so ludicrous? No, I insist that it's the players getting younber and soon we'll be4 fielding a team full of Mites on Ice. Yeah, that's the ticket. :D

Best sign of the night so far: "How many pucks would a Ratchuk chuck if a Ratchuk could chuck pucks? & Score?" Hee hee hee!

Frank Miceli's induction into the Phantoms Hall of Fame took place prior to the game, It was a really nice ceremony. The one downer was that, as Darth Luukko was included among the dignitaries from the organization, there was booing on the couple of occasions when his name came up. Fortunately, as other individuals' names were announced shortly thereafter, we could resume cheering in short order.

We only have two scratches tonight: DeSantis and Klotz. I'm presuming that means the team is largely healthy, which is a good thng.

SCOOOOORE! Sirianni scores 2:15 into the first period, with an assist from the Birthday Boy Ratchuk! :) Nice! SOG are Phantoms 5, Pirates 0.

A minute and change later, Guenin gets called for hookng, so we get to put our PKing on display. Raduns, Maroon, Bartulis, and Kukkonen are out. Next up, Nodl, Ross, Syvret, and Curry. Ross clears it all the way to the opposing net, just as we reach the one minute mark of the PK. Matsumoto, Laliberte, Bartulis, and Kukkonen take over. OH, lucky for us the Pirate who tried to cash in a rebound hit the side of the net. At the end of the PK, the SOG are Phantoms 5, Pirates 1.

Ratchuk absolutely buries a guy right by the Phantoms bench. Following that, Szwez lays out and blocks a sot, and his efforts send the puck out of our zone. Nice work, guys. Within a shift or two of this, it's our turn to go onto the PP. Two minutes later, the score remained 1-0, Good Guys, and the SOG were now 8-2 in favor of the Phantoms.

Boy, these auction sweaters have numers that are jolly hard to read at a distance, mosty because of the orage stripes that match the hue of the numbers on the back just a hair too well.

With 4:42 remaining in the period, the SOG are Phantoms 9, Pirates 3.

NICE move by Kane, lying on his side at the red line, to sweep his stick and direct the puck to an attacking Phantom before any Pirates could come and take it away.

At the end of the first period, the score is 1-0 Phantoms, and the SOG are 10-5, also in favor of the Phantoms.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Phantoms vs. Hamilton Bulldogs 2-16-09: Recap and Box Score

Here is the link to the recap on the Phantoms site.

Here is the link to the box score.

How frustrating it was to lose this game based on one darn shot at the start of the third period. But these things happen. The GOOD news is that we did get the goal back shortly afterward. If we can stay away from two-man disadvantages, which cost us game-winning goals on Friday and on Monday, we have otherwise been playing well enough to avoid digging ourselves into holes. That's a good sign, as we keep battling to get into that last playoff berth.

Our next game is on Friday, at home. Our REAL home: The Spectrum.

Go Phantoms!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Phantoms vs. Hamilton Bulldogs 2-16-09: Third Period

ARGH. Hamilton's first shot of the period, at 18 seconds, just barely squeaks past Munroe and in. 3-1, Bad Guys. Steve Gainey needs to be nicer to his former team than that! :sulk sulk sulk:

The Phantoms retaliate by scoring on OUR first shot if the period, however. :) Raduns does the honors, with an assist from Bartulis. 3-2, Bad Guys.

The Phantoms' PK soon afterward, when Clackson got sent off for elbowing, was truncated when Laliberte early got a shorthanded breakaway. Hamilton's defender got called for holding, resulting in some 4-on-4 play. We will have a 35-second PP in a few seconds.

Aaaaaaa, and Maroon's position at the crease nearly allowed him to tie the game. We got a nice little flurry going before Hamilton cleared it. Eventually, we wound up at even strength with SOG of Hamilton 24, Phantoms 20. Coach seems to be tweawith about eight and a half minutes left in the period. Coach looks like he's tweaking the lines a little bit here and there. Sirianni Bellamy and Raduns are out right now. They swap for Ross, Nodl, and Kane, and we end up with a lot of end-to-end movement on this shift. None of the action involves a puck reaching either net, however.

Crowd volume ramps up noticeably when Matsumoto goes charging up the middle, with Laliberte and Maroon in tow. Everyone knows that line is dangerous. :) They get us an offensive-zone faceoff.

SOG are 25-25. Come on, guys. We can tie this.

With 6:44 left, Hamilton called their timeout. We had another offensive zone draw. Meanwhile, someone in my row is a season-ticket-holder who was awarded a game-worn jersey. Hmm. Yoo-hoo, I've been a STH since the first year, just not with the same name from the beginning. I shared another person's multi-seat subscription for the first two years, then had my own subscription under my maiden name for a whie before marrying and using my current name from then on. But I digress. ;)

With 4:53, our alumnus Steve Gainey heads to the sin bin an we get the PECOOOOOO POWER PLAY. This time it's Syvret who keeps heading to the top of the umbrella. Kukkonen is out with him, as are Laliberte, Maroooooon :) and Matsumoto. Freaking Hamilton keeps finding ways to clear the puck. Kane, Ross, Nodl, Ratchuk, and Curry take over. Curry blasts one from the point into the goalie's bread basket. Faceoff time. Ross takes the point an Curry pinches waaay in. THis PP is making me nervous, as we keep having two guys behind the Hamilton goal line and no one at the crease. That's not a PP formation that we've had success with, let's just say that. PP over, 2:23 left, SOG Hamilton 28, Phantoms 27. And so much for even strength -- Kane just got called for slashing. Arrrrrrrgh, so we will end up killing a freaking penalty for nearly all the rest of regulation time. Farg. OK, guys, shorty time. Matsumoto and Laliberte get it down to the Bulldogs' end. Looks like Hamilton is getting called for icing. The forwards are replaced with Ross and Raduns, and the D Syvret and Guenin remain out.

22.4 seconds left. PK over. Phantoms call timeout. We have a faceoff in our end, so Munroe remains in goal. Matsumoto, Laliberte, Kane, Kukkonen, and Syvret are out. As we break out, Munroe gets halfway to the bench before having to stop. Finally he gets off, Ross comes on, and OH we come sooooo close to burying one before the freaking horn sounds. Final score, Hamilton 3, Phantoms 2. SOG 29-29. Stars: 3 Raduns, #2 Denis (Hamilton), #1 Gainey (Hamilton).

Phantoms vs. Hamilton Bulldogs 2-16-09: Second Period

Our PP unit is Kane, Nodl, Ross, Syvret, and Kukkonen. We're cycling, but the one direction we need to get the puck is on net, and that hasn't happened yet. Rats. PP over and the SOG are still 6-5, in favor of Hamiton. Gaaah, now the bulldog comes out of the sin bin and Munroe has to be quick to keep the puck out.

The faceoff is in our zone, and suddenly Hamilton is playing with a LOT of jump in their step. They get several consecutive scoring chances, the last of which lands in our net. Beans. They only got credit for one SOG in that sequence, but the end result is Hamilton 1, Phantoms 0. Darn that we didn't do more to get the puck on Denis when we were on the PP.

BTW... Neither Hersley nor Ryan are listed on our roster. When I have a chance, I wil have to see if there is a transaction listed online for Ryan, as I don't see anything in the Phantoms Game Night program. Hersley is with ECHL REading.

PP: and SCOOOORE just as I was typing the letters "PP", LMHO! Syvret blasts a BOMB from the point that appeared to get nothin' but net. Assists to Nodl and Kane. 1-1 and the crowd suddenly has gotten nice and loud, just the way we like it. :D SOG are 9-9.

We wasted no time cashing in on the PP, which was triggered during a flurry of shots on Hamilton's net. Four of their five skaters had planted themselves between the Phantoms and Denis, but we got the puck on net anyway, and drew that penalty into the bargain.

Bartulis slams Stewart into the boards, and throws him to the ice into the bargain. Stewart takes exception and goes after him, earning the Bettman 17 (2 for instigation and a ten-minute misconduct on top of the 5 for fighting). Bartulis gets 5 minutes for fighting, so we're back on the PECOOOO POWER PLAY.

Ross, Nodl, Kane, Syvret, and Kukkonen are out. Ross wins the faceoff. Kukkonen is at the top of the umbrella and blasts one on goal from the top of the slot. Denis makes the save, which loudly makes contact with his equipment. IT's interesting, when we face off, we have our two D covering the point, but then we shift into the umbrella formation. Kane gets a rebound, but Dens stops it as well as the original shot. It's Kane who is stationed at the crease this time around. Boy, those guys had a long shift: 1:15. Next up: Matsumoto, Maroon, Laliberte, Curry, and Ratchuk.

Wth ten minutes remaining in the second period, the score is 1-1 and the SOG are 12-12. We are exactly halfway through regulation time.

Our As for this game are Guenin and Syvret. To my surprise, I don't see an A on Ross's jersey today.

Boooo, we get two quick penalties to Laliberte and Kukkonen, resulting in a 5-on-3 PK. Guenin blocks a shot. However, just as we get our first guy back, freaking Hamilton scores. At least it was right AFTER the first penalty ended, so we can go back to even strength. SOG: Hamilton 16, Phantoms 12. Took 'em a few moments to realize that they had to clear Kukkonen's infraction off the board, though, so we were treated to the odd sight of a penalty timer winding down while the teams skated at 5 on 5. Ah, there we go, someone realized what was wrong and fixed the clock. 2-1, Bad Guys.

On consecutive shifts, Ross and Maroon had point-blank opportunities to cash in rebounds, but Denis was up to the challenge. We need to keep it up, though, beause if he keeps giving up rebounds, we're going to eventually put one in if we keep getting to the puck first.With two minutes left in the period, the SOG are 16-16. Oh, now it was Szwez's turn, in the final minute, to nearly deflect one in. He was standing right at the crease's edge, and unfortunately the deflection went a bit wide.

At the end of the second period, the score is 2-1, Hamilton, and the SOG totals are Hamilton 17, Phantoms 16.

Phantoms vs. Hamilton Bulldogs: First Period

Our only scratches today are Jason DeSantis and Josh Beaulieu.

Our starters are Scott Munroe (back from a stint as the Flyers' backup over the weekend); Nate Guenin, Danny Syvret; Jonathan Matsumoto, Patrick Maroon, David Laliberte.

Steve Gainey, a former Phantom, is in the starting lineup for Hamilton.

Sorry about the absence of a post about Saturday's Phantoms road game. That discrepancy will be corrected after I get home from this game. Real Life *massively* got in the way of doing anything online over the weekend. Some of it was good (visit from a good friend from California), some of it not so good (trying to help another friend get back her van, with handicapped tags, which had been towed).

In any event, this game was bounced over to the Wachovia Center due to the fact that Monster Jam added an extra days' worth of appearances to their schedule. I'm not sure what Monster Jam entails, but I hope it doesn't result in having the first several rows' worth of seats covered in dust and sand when it departs the Spectrum. (We had that problem with a Moto-X event a few years back... It left the place a right mess, and there was not enough time for the building crew to convert the arena back to an ice rink AND clean off all the seats in time for the next Phantoms home game. What an adventre THAT was.

Kukkonen is paired with Bartulis, which is most likely why Jason DeSantis is sitting. This is Lasse Kukkonen's first home game in a Phantoms jersey. He is with the Phantoms for a two-week conditioning stint, and he played in the Phantoms' two road games on Friday and Saturday. Presumably, Ratchuk/Curry are our third D pair. (LOL, and as I type it, that is who comes over the boards.)

Kane, Clackson, and Raduns are on a line together. Klotz, Sirianni, and Bellamy are out together, as well. MUNROE makes a great stop! At which point we get a penalty for hooking. Syvret goes.

Our first PK unit includes Laliberte, Matsumoto, Kukkonen, and Guenin. We have no shots on goal so far, and Hamilton has three. Ah, check that, Matsumoto just ot a puck on net shorthanded. Next up, Ross, Nodl, Kukkonen, Guenin. Kane, Raduns, Curry, Bartulis, and nice save, Scotty. :) We are about 3/4 of the way through the penalty kll, and I like how we are clearing the puck before the Bulldogs get the opportunity to set up and get anything going. LOL, Guenin not only checks an attacker into the boards, but he punches him in the head for good measure. Can you say "got away with one there?" ;) Kukkonen, not to be outdone, checks another Bulldog into the boards directly behind the net, and leaves him flat on the ice into the bargain.

That penalty is ended, but I see our darn sin bin door opening once again. This time, Szwez will sit. SOG are Hamilton 4, Phantoms 1, and the infraction is hooking.

Syvret, Guenin, Raduns, and Kane are up. Guenin clears the puck all the way to the far boards. Shortly thereafter, we get 1:16 of 4 on 4, as the Bulldogs earn THEIR first penalty of the game. Bartulis, Kukkonen, Laliberte, Matsumoto are out for the faceoff. The Bulldogs get the puck and break out, but they go offside.

More nice work by Munroe, on whom I hope the flu-ridden Fyers did not breathe during the weekend. We don't need the two locker rooms to keep cross-pollinating each other with their strains of flu. Kukkonen gave Scotty a pat on the head for his efforts. :)

We managed to get a couple shots during our abbreviated (14-second) PP, but all too soon, it was over. I liked how we looked during the man advantage, though, so I hope we get an opportunity at a full two-minute one soon.

Instead, Clackson and Stewart are exchanging grouchiness. The only penalty, however, went to Clackson for cross-checking. Guenin dumps Hamilton's #18 behind our net. (Can't see his name.) Whooooah, that was dangerous. The puck came off the back boards and Munroe had to clap his glove onto it, as it strayed into the crease behind him after the ricochet. Had he not kept track of it, there was a risk of seeing it pinball off him and into the net. OK, Clackson's back, so that crisis was averted. SOG are Hamilton 6, Phantoms 3. (Which seems to me to be the same tally that we had going INTO the penalty kill.)

Kane's line is doing a nice job of pinning the Bulldogs into their end. Now it's Ross's line (Ross Szwez, Nodl) trying to create some offense. With 48.9 seconds left in the period, the Bulldogs get a bench minor for having too many men on the ice. We try the umbrella formation, only to see the darn 'Dogs clear it out by way of the boards. Somehow we manage to ice it and get a faceoff in our end... And Kukkonen blocks two consecutive shot attempts, one with his side, and one with his shoulder. When the period ends, the game remains scoreless, and the SOG are Hamilton 6, Phantoms 5. The Bulldogs have gone shotless for a pretty long stretch... I think they haven't put a puck on our net since before Clackson went to the box. Meanwhile, the Phantoms will have 1:12 of PP time remaining when the second period begins.

Phantoms at Binghamton Senators 2-14-09: Recap and Box Score

The Phantoms won in Binghamton,4-1, on Saturday night. Here is the link to the recap on the Phantoms site.

Here is the link to the box score.

I didn't get home and log on until the game was partway over. The score was tied at 1-1 when I started watching the cybercast. But I certainly saw enough to be extremely pleased at the game J-S Aubin had. He definitely deserved that first star, and I couldn't be happier for the turnaround he made from his start in the previous week. He must have worked his tail off making sure that the problems that cropped up during the Hershey game wouldn't resurface, because by gosh those issues were nowhere to be seen on Saturday night. Good on him! :)

Keep up the great work, J-S -- nothing makes this avowed Goalie Junkie happier than seeing my team's goaltenders earning stars of the game during their appearances. :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Phantoms at Bridgeport Sound Tigers: 2-13-09: Recap and Box Score

I wasn't at home to watch the game online, but after checking the Phantoms score online I see that we lost in Bridgeport on Friday, 4-1.

Here is the link to the game recap on the Phantoms site.

And here is the link to the AHL box score.

Without even having seen the game, I can tell from the box score when the contest turned in the Sound Tigers' favor. It was after this extended penalty kill, which would have included a full two-minute two-man disadvantage for the Phantoms if Bridgeport hadn't scored:

2 - PHI Clackson, 2:23 - Unsportsmanlike conduct , 2 min (PP)
2 - PHI Clackson, 2:23 - Tripping , 2 min (PP)
2 - PHI Kane, 2:23 - Unsportsmanlike conduct , 2 min (PP)

I took one look at that and thought, "WHAT is the matter with this referee? *TWO* simultaneous unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties? What the heck official in his right mind calls this combination of penalties?" I can only imagine the ways I'd have ranted from one end of the Internet to the other if I'd been watching the cybercast when this went on. And that goes double for the fact that we did, in fact, give up two PP goals during that time frame. Those goals were what made the difference, as they turned a 1-0 Bridgeport lead into a 3-0 lead. Without those two goals, we'd have been down 1-0 in the third, our one third-period goal would have tied the score, and we'd never have given up that empty-net tally near the end of the game.

All we can do is rebound from this, learn to talk under our breath when the referee makes brutal calls instead of chewing his ear off, and go kick some Senator butt in Binghamton on Saturday night.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Phantoms at Lowell Devils 02-11-09

I tried to watch the game online wirelessly, while on my way home on the AC Expressway, but the wireless connection was inconsistent and my cell phone battery eventually went kaput. However, I did manage to get home in time to see the last part of the third period, plus the OT and shootout.(Have I ranted recently that I LOATHE SHOOTOUTS?)

At least *this* shootout turned out with a happy ending, for the Phantoms, even if it DID take nine rounds' worth of shooters to determine a winner. But the end result was a Phantoms 2-1 victory.

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

And here is the link to the box score.

Next up: the Phantoms play on the road on Friday (Bridgeport) and Saturday( Binghamton), and at home (inasmuch as the Wachovia Center is "home") on Monday (vs. Hamilton).

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Phantoms vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2-8-09: Third Period

Morency and Curry are released from the sin bin, and on the very next shift, Morency resumed making a nuisance of himself. He managed to side along and take the feet out from under a Phantom. No call. Later, however, karma got him as he took another slide next to his own net and swept away another Sound Tiger. Maroon, committed to moving forward and faced with the prospect of falling over the pair of them, did a high jump and cleared them both. Nice move! :)

NATE GUENIN, boy did he block a shot! Munroe had made the save, but the rebound went out to the opposite faceoff circle from where Munroe was covering. Guenin went siding for all he was worth, and deflected the oncoming puck away from the net.

HA, finally, a PP. Mitch Fritz, the 6'8" behemoth, goes for holding. Matsumoto, Laliberte, Maroon, Syvret, and DeSantis are out. Unfortunately, we chewed up a little bit of time retrieving the puck from our own end, but now we're on our way down to pay a call on Lawson. Raduns, SIrianni, and Kane are the forwards this time. Sirianni spent some time crashing the net, then it was Kanes turn. No dice, as the Sound Tigers cleared the puck. TIme for a line change -- we're back to the original three forwards, but we have finally swapped out the D for fresh legs: Bartulis and Guenin are out.

There goes the end of the penalty. We didn't get a lot done that time around. But MATSUMOTO on a breakaway... Gah, Lawson makes the stop. And I think it's a different Lawson than the one that was in Hershey, having taken a moment to check the roster sheet.

Ugh, Bellamy got slammed hard into the glass behind the Bridgeport net, and he was down for the count. He did, however, batle back to his feet and he has the trainer checking him out on the bench now.

Curry was back on what quickly turned into a 2 on 1 when a second Sound Tiger charaged forward to join the play. He didn't quite prevent the pass across, but Munroe kept track of the puck all the way and made the save.

With 9:44 left in the period, the score remains 1-1 and the SOG are Phantoms 27, Sound Tigers 31. Hersley appears to be operating the bench door in this period -- I am trying to recall if we saw him on the ice at all in this game. I sincerely don't remember seeing him take a shift. I'm suspecting he's not quite ready for prime time, but with callups and injuries galore we had to dress him to make the league minimum. (I strongly suspect that Nodl, even though he did return to the game on Friday night and he practiced yesterday, is a little bit the worse for wear or else he wouldn't be in the press box right now.)

Raduns and Kane on a 2 on 2.. We didn't get it on net, though, and now here come the darn Sound Tigers.

LALIBERTE!!! Buries a shot on a beautiful play! Matsumoto and Guenin get the assists. Outstanding!

Bridgeport has pyulled the goalie. There is a stick lying on the ie in our end and I can't tell whose it is. All our guys appear to be bearing sticks, so that's what's important.

GEEEEESH, a huge scrum at our right post took forever to draw a whistle as the puck remained loose at the feet of eleven skaters. Finally, with 2.4 seconds left, the puck was frozen (or else the ref lost sight of it) and play was stopped. .

Phantoms vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2-8-09: Second Period

Hee hee hee... Clackson has ways of getting under the opponents' skin even when he's not fightng. For example, he just jammed on the brakes and sprayed a bunch of snow all over the Sound Tigers goalie. Wise-aleck kid. :)

SCOOOORE: Syvret blasts one in from the top of the slot! Maroon and Matsumoto assisted. NICE shot! IT's 3"42 into the period, and the shot clock reads Phantoms 17, Sound Tigers 9.

Ah, boooo, the first penalty of the game is called, and it's on Laliberte for cross-checking. Phantoms Phans beg to differ. ;) Raduns, Kane, Guenin, nd Syvret are our first P grouping. GREAT SAVE MUNY with a Sound Tiger standing right in front of his face. Matsumoto and Beaulieu are out with Curry and Bartulis. On the next shift, Kane went DIVING to get to a puck that was headed for the Bridgeport zone, taking out the nearest Sound Tiger into the bargain.

After the teams returned to even strength, it looked for a moment like Clackson and Morency were going to go, but then Clackson rejoned the play. Curry, however, took the opportunity to nail Morency with a check when the puck heded his way. Methinks Morency is makng a pest of himself if he's got TWO of our guys gunning for im. Hwever, I can see where with ony a one-goal lead, we would want to take his name and number and get back to him later.

We haven't goten much on goal since we scored... The SOG are now Phantoms 18 Sound Tigers 15, with 9:03 left in the period. Curry nearly made me eat my words with a wraparound attempt -- we did get a shot on goal, but Lawson read the play and hugged the post. The offensive flurry got interrupted when Laliberte's stick broke. DRAT with breaking sticks, that's the second time tonight that someone's stick went kaput at a critical time.

Lawson left a big rebound twice, and twice Matsumoto was right there to try and take advantage of it, but Sound Tigers defenders were also right there to prevent him from getting much on the shot. WHOA now Bellamy, Raduns, and Kane are getting attempts on goal... We only got credited for one shot in that flurry but I assure you that at least two of those attempts reached Lawson. But with the crowd in front of the net, it must have been hard to see that from wherever the official sits.

Yep, Morency is making a nuisance of himself. Curry just dropped the gloves and challenged him, and they had at it. I would give Morency the win on that one.

Phooey. Guenin goes to the sin bin for slashing, AND we have Maroon limping in the tunnel trying to walk off whatever it was that stings him. He and the trainer went up the tunnel... Wth less than three minutes remaining in the period, it's not worth rushing him back onto the ice.

Meanwhile back on the PK, Nate Raduns broke his FREAKING stick and is stuck out there because the second period is when the players have to skate a mile and a half to get to the freaking bench. Finally, Munroe froze the puck and we could get a line change. Oh, what IS it with these STICKS in the past two games?! My NERVES.

BLAST it. We had returned to even strength, but finally the consequences of being stuck in our end for minutes on end caught up to us. Bridgeport scored with 59.5 seconds remaining in the period. Crud. 1-1. SOG are even at 23-23.

And with the period over, the score and SOG remain even at 1-1, 23-23.

Phantoms vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2-8-09: First Period

Our scratches are Nodl and Szwez (who said yesterday he might be back as soon as Wednesday). Therefore, Klotz is in today's lineup. I'm glad to hear it. Hersley is also in the lineup.

Our starters are Matsumoto, Laliberte, Maroon, Bartulis and DeSantis.

Klotz lined up Wotton for a big check on his first shift on the ice. :) He's baaack.

Five minutes into the game, with very few stoppages of play so far, the SOG are Sound Tigers 2 Phantoms 0. Not bad, given that we spent a lot of time in our end during those first five minutes.

Kane, Bellamy, and Raduns are our second line. Clackson, Sirianni, and Ryan are the third line, and Klotz, Beaulieu, and Hersley are the fourth line.

Our D pairs are Guenin/Syvret, Bartulis/DeSantis, and Curry/Ratchuk

A somewhat-too-vigorous attempt to crash the Phantoms net resulted in Scott Munroe being bowled over backward; this resulted in a ten-skater shoving match at our crease, but no penalties resulted.

Ratchuk fed Sirianni wth a nice pass, resulting in al three of our forwards crashing the net, but no goal resulted. If we keep that up, though, we will be in good shape.

Kane is out with Bealieu and Klotz, and they did a nice job of crashing the net -- and literally crashing a Sound Tiger defender. No penalty resuted from that, either.

I see Mitch Fritz, who looks about 9 feet tall compared to the linesman he's talking to, is on the ice. Our top ine is out, though, so I'm not exoecting to see a fight just now.I do see Maroon makng an attempt to both hit Fritz and prevent him from reaching a loose puck first.

Brdgeport came charging into our end whie we were on a line change. They were carrying the puck up the far boards, but Ratchuk managed to get all the way across and disrupt an attempt to shoot on our goal. Nice hustle, Mike.

We have done a great job of creating offensive opportunities for ourselves so far. With 7:08 left in the period, the SOG are Phantoms 8, Bridgeport 7. Laliberte and Maroon just did a great job of stripping a Sound Tiger of the puck and going in on an odd man rush. Lawason kept the puck out, but still, I like seeing our guys beng alert enough to take advantage of the opponent's mental lapses. (Note to self: take a look and see if this is the same Lawson that used to play for Hershey.)

Syvret's stick broke, and Beaulieu gave his to the defender. Meanwhile, Nate Guenin blocked a shot. :) Did I mention how nce it is to type that phrase in again?

GREAT job by Munroe, sweeping aside the breakaway s hot by Bentivoglio! Sybret was hounding Bentioglio from behind but not so blatantly that it would cost us a penalty or a penalty s hot.

Speaking of which, it's the last minute of the first period and we hae not seen an infraction called yet against either team. Jeff Smth is letting the teams play.

At the first intermission, the SOG are Phantoms 10, Sound Tigers 8.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Phantoms vs. Hershey Bears 2-6-09: Third Period

Hooray, Nodl is on the bench to start the third perod. Not that we need to lose any guys, but we certainly don't need to lose a top line forward in a game wbere we are desperate for offense.

Hersley is stting next to the D again, but next to him are Bellamy and Ryan, whom I believe are the fourth ine tonight. So maybe he is either filling in on forward, or is going to fill in as needed either at forward or D.

The Bears fan next to me said that Machesne, the Hershey goalie, is recently back from a lengthy absence due to an injury. So at least we are on even ground with the "goalie was out for weeks" situation. Who told these guys they're allowed to get hurt anyway? I keep saying that's forbidden, but these teams don't seem to listen. ;)

We are ten seconds away from kiling a tripping penalty to Boyd Kane, and am glad to say we have not let up a shot while shorthanded this time around. It's good to see our PK get it done lke that. Just after we got Kane back, bellamy stripped a Bear of the puck in our end and off he went... Unfortunately, they turned us back at the neutral zone and too it back in front of Aubin This line has been out a long time, and they need a change.

Matsumoto's line is up next, and they are headed over to pay Machesney a visit. Amadio and one other Bear are DRAPED on Maroon, but he gets it down to the net anyway. Not that we got credited with a SOG. Nor did we get credited with one over the next few minutes, regardless of what the opportunities appeared to be from this end of the ice.

With 8:34 remaining and the SOG Phantoms 13, Bears 30, Machesney is taking advantage of a stopage in play to do stretches. He looks like he's doing a pregame stretching routine, so maybe we HAVEN'T sent a puck his way in a while.

We are bearing down now, no pun intended, and it shows. We are spending more time at least getting set up in front of Machesney, even if we aren't cyclng t he puck for any great length of time. THERE. Our fourteenth shot on goal. At last. Right before play ended up with two or three players, including Aubin, in our net. Fortunately, the puck was about the ony thng on the ice left OUTSIDE the net when all was said and done.

This ended up with a fight between Beaulieu and Beagle. I guess Beau is cleared to fight, lol, or if not he's disregarding the advice and having at Beagle anyway.

Arsene gets two for unsportsmanline, Beagle gets five for fighting. Beaulieu gets roughing, fighting and a ten minute misconduct (WTH?) So there's no PP and Beaulieu is done for the night, as there isn't enough time left in the game for him to resume playing after serving the minutes.

Machesney just STONED freakin' Syvret. Dang. Ryan got the original shot, and the rebound went to Syvret, who let loose with a bomb from the point. Drat, I really did think we were on the verge of tying the game.

NICE keep-in Matsumoto. He took one for the team to preent the puck from exiting at the point.

These Bears do a lot of stick-checking. They have smacked a lot of sticks off our blades in this game. They just did it again to Maroon/Laliberte before they could get out of our zone. However, once we did get down to Hershey's end, the Bers iced it with 3:16 left. SOG Phantoms 17, Bears 34.

Guenin blasts one from the top of the slot into traffic, but it gets deflected into the faceoff circle well before it gets anywhere near the net. Machesney nearly bobbled Laliberte's shot, but he managed to corral it just well enough to set it down outside his crease.

The more's the pity that the near-miss didn't go in, because with 1:27 left, the Bears increased their lead to 5-3. We never pulled the goaltender -- there was no real need to, down by two goals with a minute and change remaining.

Nodl is the third star of the game, but the first two stars are, not surprisingly, from Hershey. Next game is on Sunday, vs. Bridgeport, and it's Photo Night.

Phantoms vs. Hershey Bears 2-6-09: Second Period

Nodl proceeds to bury our first shot of the period, assisted by Maroon, who was the last guy from the first shift left on the ice. His battling for Matsumoto's dump-in led directly to the pass to Nodl in the slot. Nice work!

Bartulis went off shortly afterward for cross-checking, so we get to kill another penalty. On the one hand, this ref is not calling every little miniscule thing, but on the other... Do we get a PP at some point, too? Oh well. In any event, I am getting a tad nervous that two of our PKers are behind the net, and all of them are right on top of the goalie. Hershey guys are all bunched in too, but they have someone way out and wide open.

We killed the penalty, which is good. We then gave up a huge rebound moments after returning to even strength, and a Bear cashed it in. Sloan... His second goal of the year. Oh, boy. We are just continuously landing behind the 8 ball tonight. SOG are Bears 16, Phantoms 4.

We are living in front of Aubin right now -- we haven't been in the offensive zone since we scored the goal. There is a ten-player scrum right at the red ine in front of the sin bins, so we at least get a draw in the center ice dot. That gets us halfway to where we want to be, right? Well, no, as we wound up right back in our own end seconds later. A brief breakout didn't really amount to much, as we had no stayng power once we got to Hershey's end. Aubin left a giant rebound that flew to the top of the slot almost to the blue line. We took that and attempted to create offense, but as the shot clock suggests, nothing came of it.

The Bears, however, iced the puck, earning us a faceoff in their end. Maybe NOW we canget something going. Raduns, Nodl, and Kane are out. There was a scramble at the edge of the crease, but we couldn't cash in the one shot we got. And, of course, we wind up back in our end.

Aubin is making me nervous... A Bears attempt wound up with him on his stomach, head toward the net and feet toward the point. I hate to feel like I am ripping a player, since as anyone who reads this blog can attest, I don't make a habit of being critical of individuals. I usually use a player's name when something goes well, and stay non-specific (ie. "we turn the puck over") when we make an error. But this game... Well, let's just say that I do understand that Aubin has a lot of rust to work off, but the form he's showing is not what I expect to see. Nor is it the form he had on the nights when he played well for us earlier in the season. They'll need to show him some videos of those good games, so he can get reminded of what things gave him the most success.

With 9:45 left in the second period, the SOG are Phantoms 5, Bears 18. We haven't given up a whole ton of shots, but we only have garnered two of our own, which isn't what one would ike to see at this point in the night. I know that we are missing Ross, but we really need to get it together. We do have some guys back, like Kane and Guenin, who were out of the lineup a long time. I woud hope that getting a couple key guys back would help us make up for the loss of Ross to a callup.

Maroon just had the makings of a nice rush, as he flew up the wing wth the puck. But a diving Bears defender swept the puck right off his stick, and that was the end of that. NOW we might be getting a PP, as the ref is signalling slashing and the Bears box door has been opened. Yep, Sloan is going off. Let's see how we manage with the man advantage. Eight minutes remain in the period, and the SOG are 19-5 in favor of the Bears. OH we came close right off the bat, with DeSantis pinching in next to the net. Syvret is our other Dman, and Matsumoto, Laliberte, and Maroon are the forwards. Great, we have a defensive zone draw with half the penalty gone. Ratchuk rushes the puck up ice, though, and we try to get set up. Matsumoto, Maroon, Kane, Curry, and Ratchuk are the guys. There is a :Bears defender wthout a stick, but that doesn't seem to help matters any as they clear the puck right before the penaty expires.

Nodl just went up the tunnel, accompanied by the trainer, but he was walkng under his own steam so I hope it's nothing major.

Ya know... We must have broken a freaking mirror before going out on the ice tonight. The FOURTH broken stick of the night was lying on the ice in the Bears end, and it deflected one of our shots well out of harm's way. PHOOEY.

Clackson just went at it with someone down in that one corner I can't see (the visiting bench end of the ice, in the corner to the goaltender's right). We will find out soon enough who is the other guy. It was Arsene, who got two for roughing/five for fighting. Clackson gets a double minor for high-sticking and five for fighting. The etra two minutes will be served by Rob Bellamy. There's 4:27 left in the period, so we CAN KILL THE PENALTIES (that is an order, not a suggestion, lol) and still be at even strength by the time the period is over.

We have a brass band in the second level over the Zamboni tunnel. LOL. Sweet, just like SlapShot. All we need is to have a bench clearing brawl, win a tropy, and have the best-looking player on the ice give a, errrr, memorable dance routine. ;) That would be fitting after this week of playing "Who own de team" with the media.

I just saw the ref signal crosscheck, but I am still waiting to see who is getting sent off. Nobody seems to know. It's a Bear but so far we have retrieved a guy from the bench, who was not the culprit, then eventually Sloan was fingered as the guilty party. FINALLY. PECOOOO POWER PLAY, here we go. Let's get a PECOOOO POWER PLAY Shot on Goal. YES -- Laliberte cased in a rebound (possibly blocked by someone other than the goalie, as they only credited us with one shot) and we are within one goal again. 4-3 Bears. Maroon and DeSantis assisted.

Nodl never came back from the dressing room, although the trainer did. That's never a good sign.

But at the end of the perod, the score is Bears 4, Phantoms 3, and the SOG are Phantoms 9, Bears 25.

Phantoms vs. Hershey Bears 2-6-09: First Period

The good news: Patrik Hersley is in the lineup for the first time since October. The other news: J-S Aubin is in the lineup for the first time since December/the second time since getting injured on Black Friday, and gave up a goal on Hershey's third shot of the game. The Phantoms trail 1-0.

Scratched players: Klotz and Szwez are in the press box, along with a third guy whose face I can't see well enough to ID. We do have seven D in the lineup, though: Hersley, Syvret, DeSantis, Guenin, Ratchuk, and Curry. (Parent is up with the Flyers, as is Ross.) Beaulieu and Ryan appear to be our fourth-line forward pair tonight.

Hersley has just gone off for slashing, so we are on our first PK of the night. Matsumoto, Laliberte, Guenin, and Syvret are out. In the absence of Ross, Guenin has our second A. Next up, Kane/Nodl and Bartulis/Guenin. After that, Raduns/Kane and Curry/Bartulis. With half the penalty gone, we have gien up seven SOG and taken one.

Aaaand with 12:14 left in the period, a Bear fires a shot from the right post and makes the score 2-0. I would have thought that maybe a road game would have been an easier situation to start a guy who hasn't seen game time in over a month, as the home crowd is Not Pleased. On the other hand, maybe Munroe needs a break as the flu has been running rampant on both the Phantoms and the Flyers.

Two minutes/one SOG later, the score is 3-0 Bears. There's a "We want Muny" chant going on. I feel terrible for Aubin. This season must be flat-out murder on him. Between having some troublesome outings while healthy, and then being sidelined for pushing two months after an injury, this season so far is probably going to be chalked up by him as a half-season span he'd like to erase from his memory. Or maybe as an AFGO: "Another F[rea]king Growth Opportunity".

Ah, there goes OUR first goal. Matsumoto, assisted by Nodl, brings down the rain of teddy bears from the crowd. It was our second shot on goal of the game.
Matsumoto, Laliberte and Maroon are back out on the ice, as there was a break in play while the bears were collected.

Now the Bears goalie is skating to the bench, so I can see we are about to kill Penalty Number Two on the night. Sirianni is heading to the box for high-sticking. Raduns and Kane are with Syvret and Guenin. Guenin just got away with one, shoving Oslala (why isn't he with the Capitals?) in front of our net. Nate has a broken stick, though, so he's getting a tad creative.

We did manage to kill that penalty without incident, so yay on us. We did, however, nearly give up another goa which appeared to hit the crossbar and landin the crease. I seriously thought the thing was in from this angle, but the ref was doing the washout signal the entire time so I guess not. Good.

WE just clanged one off the post. Beans. Would have been nice to close the gap a tad more.

Aubin is right back to the form that he had when he was fighting the puck earlier in the season, which is worrisome. By that I mean he is dropping into a butterfly when the puck heads anywhere near the net. He is not a tall man, and he would be better off challenging shooters and makign himself BIG in goal.

In the final minute of play, Laliberte Sirianni, and Maroon are buzzing in the Hershey end. We aren't getting the puck ON net, though, as we have had three shots on goal for a while. Whoops, make it four...? No, I suppose not. How did that puck not go on net. GRRR...

Anyway, at the end of the period, the score is Bears 3, Phantoms 1. The SOG are Hershey 12, Phantoms 3.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Phantoms franchise has been sold

Here is the announcement on the Flyers homepage:

Phantoms Sold

Comcast-Spectacor Sells Philadelphia Phantoms
Team to relocate with closing of Spectrum; final game on April 10

Philadelphia Flyers
Feb 4, 2009, 5:36 PM EST

(Philadelphia, PA) - Comcast-Spectacor, the Philadelphia-based sports and entertainment firm, announced today it has reached an agreement to sell the Philadelphia Phantoms hockey team, the Flyers top American Hockey League affiliate, to the Brooks Group, of Pittsburgh, PA, owners and investors of other minor league hockey and baseball teams. In keeping with company policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Comcast-Spectacor will continue to operate the Phantoms until the conclusion of the 2008-09 hockey season.

“This was a very difficult decision for us to make,” said Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko. “When we decided to close the Spectrum we explored many alternatives for relocating the Phantoms and this really became the best scenario.

“We want to thank the thousands of fans who supported the Phantoms over the past 13 seasons,” added Luukko. “We had two Calder Cup Championship Teams and many wonderful memories.”

With this being the final season of the Wachovia Spectrum, the Phantoms will play the final regular season hockey game ever in the Spectrum on Friday, April 10 against the Hershey Bears (a new date from the previously scheduled game on Sunday, April 12).

“The Phantoms far exceeded all of our expectations,” said Luukko. “The Phantoms were and will continue to be a tremendous asset to helping us develop future Philadelphia Flyers. We will miss having them share the same sports complex and the same training facility which was an incredible advantage to us."

All individual adult tickets for remaining Phantoms games are now $10 and kids tickets are only $5. Tickets can be purchased exclusively through ComcastTIX at,, 1-800-298-4200 or in person at the Wachovia Complex box office.

In addition to owning the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL, the Brooks Group have ownership interests in the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and three minor league baseball teams: the Altoona Curve (Class AA for the Pirates), the State College Spikes (Class A for the Pirates), and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Class A for the Atlanta Braves).

“We have been involved in professional sports for many years, and this particular opportunity is very exciting to us,” Rob Brooks said. “We plan on announcing the long term plans for the Phantoms in the next few weeks and look forward to continuing the team's great tradition of excitement, winning, and providing great family entertainment.”

Comcast-Spectacor announced that the Wachovia Spectrum, where the Phantoms have played since their inaugural season in 1996-97, will close and be razed in the fall of 2009. Demolition of the Spectrum will make way for Philly Live, a spectacular new retail, restaurant, and entertainment district. Cordish Company, of Baltimore, MD, a world-renowned developer of similar projects throughout North America, is partnering with Comcast-Spectacor in Philly Live.

The American Hockey League granted the Flyers an AHL franchise on December 18, 1995. The Phantoms made their home ice debut at the Spectrum hosting the defending Calder Cup champion Rochester Americans on October 6, 1996. The Phantoms prevailed 3-1 with Shawn McCosh recording the Phantoms first-ever home ice goal at 5:58 of the first period.

The Phantoms captured the Calder Cup twice – June 10, 1998 in front of 17,380 fans at the Spectrum, the largest crowd ever to see a Calder Cup playoff game in AHL history, and again on June 10, 2005.

That's it, then. The Cash Cow's death warrant has been signed, and the death sentence will be executed upon the start of the Phantoms' offseason.

Now they will continue to claim to celebrate the life of the Cash Cow and pretend to honor the Spectrum. But all they're really doing is trying to salvage some income that they can throw into the Money Pit that I sincerely believe Philly Live! will become.

Here's to the REAL people who deserve celebrating: the people who actually make the Phantoms' team function on and off the ice, and the fans who love the team. All of us will be screwed over when the season is complete.

And so will the Flyers, when push comes to shove, because the Flyers have been quite adamant all along that they WANT their farm team nearby and the WANT them practicing in the Skate Zone along with the parent club. If being one of the crown jewels of the ¢om¢a$t-$p€¢ta¢or empire isn't enough to get your wishes considered, the peons known as the fan base have ZERO chance of qualifying as even an afterthought.

Let's enjoy the season we have left. If we're lucky, next season the farm team will crop up somewhere in this time zone, so we can at least watch the games online at a reasonable hour.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Phantoms vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 2-3-09: Third Period

Raduns is in the box, about four minutes into the period. Ross still managed to charge up the ice, carrying the puck, and crash the net. Literally. I'm going to presume that the ref decided a enguin steered him into the goaltender, because he collided with Curry-the-goalie and there was no penalty assessed for goalie interference.

Back in our zone, NICE clear by Kane. He went diving to the ice, but instead of sliding along on his belly, he swept his stick in a giant arc and sent the puck bouncing out of the zone, right past the Penguins defender who was trying to keep it in.

Now we're in the Pens' end, and I see the referee's arm. The sin that is sending a Penguin into the sin bin was not visible to me from where I sit, as it happened in the one corner I don't have a clear view of. However, I know it's an impending PP for us because the fans at that end are applauding.

And sure enough, here we go on the PECOOOOO POWER PLAY. Matsumoto Nodl, Maroon, DeSantis, and Syvret are out. They're being replaced by Ross, Kane, Laliberte, Syvret, and Curry-the-Dman. Laiberte fires a bomb from the half-boards, but Curry-the-goalie fends it off and a Pens defender whacks the rebound out of reach of the Good Guys. Just as the W-B penaty ends, we have found ourselves in OUR zone. That's not something I ike to see, since it means Munroe can't take the time to warn our guys that the Penguin is about to return to the ice. Fortunately, the return to even stength passes without incident. Meanwhile, with ten and a half minutes left in the period, the SOG are even at 22-22. This game has been as even of a contest as I've seen in a while. Neither team has camped out infinitely in the other team's end for eons on end. In one respet, that's a good thing, as we've been the victim of that problem rather too often in recent weeks. On the other hand, I sure would like to see us give Curry-the-Goalie a prolonged stretch or three of high activity.

Unfortunately, the first bout of activity that just registered on the scoreboard involved the Pens' next two shots on goal, the second of which went into our net. Blah. We have 8:49 left in the period. TIme to fire up the afterburners. BTW, considering what slop the roads are around here, Im'm pretty impressed to hear some Pens fans in the crowd. They live at a higher elevation so they tend to get even more of the nasty stuff than we do, so they're gong to go through at least a couple hours' worth of some charming (NOT!) weather on their drive home. Win or lose, I hope they get home OK.

Syvret blasts from the left point with three minutes and change remaining. Kane in the crease tries his darnedest to bat the puck in, but no dice. This time.

BLAST. Another scrum in front of our net finishes with aggravation. I thought that the Pen at the right post was the one that deflected it in, but he's not the one getting credit for the goal. Too many people and legs were in close to our crease.

With 1:33 left, and the Phantoms trailing 3-1, Munroe hads to the bench as we get a faqceoff in the Penguins end. Ross, Kane, Matsumoto, Laliberte, Syvret, and Curry-the-Dman are out. If we can get create a forest of legs in front of Curry-the-Goalie, we can pull the same stunt on the Pens that they just pulled on us a moment ago.

Nope, no dice. Mormina of the Pens blasts the puck the lenfth of the ice and into our empty net. Munroe returns to the net, as it's now a 4-1 game.

There goes the final horn. The score is Penguins 4, Phantoms 1, and the SG at the end of the game are Phantoms 22, Penguins 27. (Hey, giving up fewer than 30 shots in a game has not been our trend of late, so at least I see improvement on THAT stat, even in a loss.)

We'll be back here vs. Hershey on Friday.

Phantoms vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 2-3-09: Second Period

The Phantoms opened the period with the game's second penalty, but we killed it successfullly. A few minutes later, the Penguins got to kill THEIR first penalty of the game. SOG at the time of the PECOOOO POWER PLAY are even at 11-11. ON the play leading up to the whistle, it was interesting to see Ratchuk, a defenseman, rush the puck all the way to the net, and Clackson, a forward, cover the point on his behalf. Even our rookies know how to be defensively responsible and when to jump into the play.

We didn't score with that man advantage, but not for lack of attempts or opportunities. I'd keep my eye on the Matsumoto/Nodl/Maroon PP grouping. They looked pretty darn interesting out there in the waning moments of the PP, and for a few moments was convinced that they were going to put us ahead.

Matsumoto just took a nice screened shot, with Sirianni Right There to snare any possible rebound, but the Pens' Curry-the-goalie (as opposed to our Curry-the-defenseman) managed to deflect the puck safely away from our guy parked in the crease.

Matsumoto just got sent to the penalty box, however, so we are now killing our third shorthanded situation of the game. Laliberte managed to get a shorthanded scorng chance, but the Pens hauled it back down in front of Munroe. Nodl tried to take tue puck up ice with Raduns, but a Penguin stripped the puck off his stick in the neutral zone and broght it back in. Even so we did clear it out long enough to change our PK unit. Ah, there we are. We're at even strength at 5:32, with the SOG even at 16-16 and the score even at 1-1. Now let's win this defensive-zone faceoff. Nice, Matsumoto. :)
He, Sirianni, and Bellamy are out and are doing their level best to put the puck in. The Pens kept the puck from reaching the net, but even so, that ine did a ot of the proverbial Right Things. Heck, last time I noticed Matsumoto/Sirianni was Friday, and they teamed up for a goal. Let's hope they go on a nice hot streak. :)

With 3:15 remaining in the period, the shots on goal still remain 16-16, which is a testament to both teams' defensive efforts as I was quite surprised to look up and see those numbers. I was sure that at least one puck had reached the net in the past couple of minutes.

Boy, this game is FLYING along. T's onlly 8:19 PM and we are nearly done the second period. That's what happens when there are almost no penalties called. I'm pleased that this referee is letting the teams play. Nothing makes me crazier than seeing the play stoped every ten seconds for another penalty. I guess with the roads being sloppy and with the snow sated to continue overnight (as far as 'm aware), the ref has decided to let the teams control the outcome of the game and not stop play every other minute.

Having said that, LOL, the Phantoms are about to go on the PP with 48.2 seconds left in the period. I actually saw the ref's arm go up AS I was typing the previous paragraph. But hey, we'll take a PECOOOO POWER PLAY here and there. First up, Matsumoto, Sirianni, and Maroon, with Syvret and DeSantis. DeSantis managed to pinch in to the slot but just as he got the puck, a Penguin or two tried to strip it from him; however, the horn sounded to end the period and the point became moot.

At the end of the period, the score is even at 1-1, the SOG are even at 17-17, and the Phantoms will have 1:12 of PP time remaining when the third period begins.

Phantoms vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 2-3-09: First Period

Our only scratches tonight are Garrett Klotz, Patrik Hersley, and Jeff Szwez.

I saw someone copy and paste the content of an article relating that the Phantoms could be sold by the end of the week. However, they did not provide a link to the article at the time I saw it. I've requested the link from them. In the meantime, keep your eyes and ears open for announcements regarding the team's future, as information could be forthcoming relatively soon.

I'll need a little bit of time to digest the thought that the franchise could be sold and no longer be the Flyers' affiliate, which is a distinct possibility. Since my goal is to keep this a family-friendly blog, with content that can be freely shared in polite company, I will simply say at this time that I *vigorously* disagree with any such idea and that anyone in The Organ-eye-zation who has proposed or taken steps to bring that idea to fruition is on my Excrement Roster.

In other news, I can see that someone took my advice and recounted, again, the number of games remaining at the Spectrum. They were too high before, and I mentoned something, so they slightly tweaked the total in time for the following game. However, I didn't think they had subtracted quite enough from the erroneous total. They appear to have the numbers straight now, however, and not including tonght's game, we now have 16 games left of affordable hockey remaining in Philadelphia.

OK, now for the important thing of the night: THE GAME.

Andreas Nodl is back in the lineup, whch I am pleased to see. I'm not sure why he missed Saturday's game, but the more we see of him, the better.

The weather is sloppy and snowy, and that, combined with the fact that weeknight games are rarely a good draw, has had a negative impact on our attendance, to put it mildly. Actually, our walkup sales have suffered a TRIPLE whammy: the weather is bad, it's a weeknight, and there is another event gong on simultaneously with this one at the Center. Any one of those things will give people second thoughts about buying tix at the door. All three... Well, we won't have to worry about murderously long lines at the concession tonight.

We will, however, have to worry about overcoming a 1-0 deficit. DRAT. We had a goalmouth scramble and once the puck hit Munroe, it bounced up and over him into the net.

HA! Nevermind. As I was typing in the previous paragraph, the Phantoms tied the score. :), Hey, everybody, come on down, you're missing a great game! Rob Sirianni did the honors, with assists from Syvret and Maroon. 1-1, and the shot clock reads Phantoms, 2, Penguins, 1.

How nice it is to be able to type, "Nate Guenin blocked a shot" again. I've missed doing that, and judging from the obscene number of shots we gave up while Guenin was out with an injury, so have the Phantoms. P.S. Did I mention that Nate Guenin blocked a shot? :)

There haven't actually been a lot of SOG so far. With 11:05 left in the period, the Phantoms have 3 shots compared to the Pens' two. Bellamy just made a nice defensive play to prevent a third shot from reaching the net, scooping up the puck in the crease and getting it out of harm's way. Beaulieu helped move the puck away from the slot before any Pens could corral it.

We have seven D dressed tonight: Bartulis, Ratchuk, Guenin, DeSantis, Syvret, Curry, and Parent. So far tonight, our line combos are Ross/Kane/Laliberte; Matsumoto/Maroon/Sirianni; Raduns/Clackson/Nodl. Our fourth line wil be Bellamy, Beaulieu, and and a forward from one of the other lines.

Aaaah GO GO GO, one of the Pens D broke his stick! We make a rush to the other end while the Pens have the stick-free defender, but in the meantime the Pen in question either got a sub from the bench or got a new stick. Beans. It was a nice try.

OMG. Boy did we just dodge a bullet. More like a small H bomb. Guenin was about to be called for interference, meaning that when our defender touched the puck and accidentally kind of scored into our own net, the whistle had already blown so the possible own-goal did not count. So we're killing the first penalty of the game, but I'd rather see that than see us put ourselves behind on the scoreboard.

WHOA for Raduns and his DIVING attempt to prevent a shost from being fired. He slid from the boards to the top of the slot, causing the Pens point guy to keep backing up, backing, up, and backing up to try and find a shooting lane. Whatever he did, it sure worked, as we managed to kill off the final moments of the penalty and get our guy back. We only gave up two SOG during that shorthanded situation, both of which were registered before Nate Raduns did a slide that'd make any baseball player proud.

In the final two minutes of the period, Ross uses his speed to get past all but the final Pens defender, then dishes to Kane who's wide open at the left faceoff circle for a clear shot on goal. Nice play.

At the end of the relatively-even-in-all-aspects first period, the score remains tied at 1-1. The SOG are Phantoms, 7; Penguins, 9.
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