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

Monday, February 16, 2009

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.

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