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

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Phantoms vs. Grand Rapids Griffins, 3-29-09

I missed some of the awards that were handed out pregame, but it was nice to have been with the rest of the PPPC board to present the Unsung Hero award to David Laliberte. :)

SCOOOOORE! Today, it's OUR turn to score on -our first shot of the game! e had just killed a penalty to Matsumoto when we got down to the Griffins' end to try; and get some offense of our own going. Syvret from Matsumoto and Maroon. SOG at the time of the goal were Phantoms 1, GR 4.

McGrath would have had a nice shot on goal against us, but as he was skating in, the puck rolled off his stick at the hash marks, and it ended up in his skates. Threat averted.

Grand Rapids has come out with a lot of jump this afternoon. They want to avenge last night's loss in a manor way, methinks. But the Phantoms came out with high energy, as well, so we are standing up to what they have been throwing at us. Nodl is called up to the Flyers. In his stead, Kempe is on the line with Szwez and Kalinski. Clackson and Raduns are on the fourth line, but I can't see who their other forward is. Ross/Kane/Sirianni and Matsumoto/Laliberte/Maroon are together, as usual.

Ross just placed his stick blade on the ice to block a GR slapshot attempt. The attacker's stick hit Ross's stick so hard, it went flying out of Ross's hands, but the slapshot was aborted in mid-slap.

Ah, now I can see that Beaulieu is with Clackson and Raduns. :)

Heck, we had a scramble in the GR goalmouth that had the fans behind the net screaming. Even the goal judge was fooled to the point where the red light went on. Unfortunately, nobody told the PUCK to cooperate and go in, so it remained outside the net and the score remains 1-0.

However, we have a PECOOOO POWER PLAY going, so let's see what we can do to increase that lead. So far we are 30 seconds into the man advantage, and we have three SOG. Aah, we took a screened shot and it hit the goalie, Howard, who never saw the puck and didn't react until it bounced off him.

However, we made up for it by scoring a goal on our NEXT shot. Sirianni, which apparently is Italian for "En Fuego", scores with assists from Kane and Ross. SOG Phantoms 10, Griffins 7.

And Curry goes to the sin bin seconds later. Nice clear by Laliberte. OHHH Matsumoto snares the puck just after a failed keep-in, and tries to get a breakaway just as we go back to even strength, but the puck rolled on him.

At the end of the first period, the score is Phantoms 2, Griffins 0.; SOG are Phantoms 10, Griffins 8. The Phantoms' most recent shot was our second goal, and the Griffins got one shot during their recent PP.
About three and a half minutes into the period, we go on a PECOOOO POWER PLAY. Ross, Kane, Sirianni, Kukkonen, and Syvret are out. Somehow the Griffins have ended up in our end while shorthanded, but their shot attempt never reached our net. The end result was that neither team registered a shot during our man advantage.
The ref is taking a lot of time to explain something, I know not what, to the Phantoms and Griffins on the ice, and then to one lone Griffin in the officials' crease. End result, a few minutes later, was a delay of game penalty on GR.

However, GR proceeded to set up in OUR end again, the same as during the last PP. Then we got a penalty of our own, and wound up at 4 on 4 with 1:18 left in the PP. Matsumoto and Laliberte had the fans screaming with the chances they were getting, one after another, but they were all near-misses. (and none registered as shots on goal.) Then we got a penalty and wound up at 4-on-3 for a while... until the Griffins got their guy back and we wound up with two-man disadvantage. We withstood that onslaught until Kane came out to make it a regular 5-on-4 PK. Just as we returned to even stength, Munroe made the save of the game so far. NICE stop, which got the "Unbelievable" song. :)

Looks like we did get a shot credited to us on that PP after all. Last night and today, it's taken a few moments longer than usual for some things to make an appearance on the scoreboard. I suspect that either the system is acting up, or someone who is less than familiar with the controls has been taking care of posting the data. With 9:18 left in the period, SOG are Phantoms 13, Griffins 15.

After a scrum in the GR crease, the Grifins got a guy sent off for roughing, so we get another attempt at the PECOOOO POWER PLAY. Matsumoto's line is out with Syvret and Kukkonen. aah nice chances, guys. But at the stoppage of play, we change forwards and Ross's line comes out, and GR gets a delay-of-game infraction. So we have a two-man advantage for over a minute.

Oh, WHAT is this ref calling? With 35 seconds left in the 5-on-3, it goes down to a 4-on-3 as Kane gets sent off. Interference, my foot. Sigh.

MATSYYYY scores when we are at 4-on-4! Apparently, "Matsumoto" is Japanese for "En Fuego". :) Assists to Syvret and Kukkonen.

With 32 seconds remaining in the penalty to Kane, GR gets a penalty, so we will go back to 4 on 4 briefly. There were a few moments of concern when the puck got cleared into our bench, but then Matsumto popped up like a purple-clad Jack-in-the-box. Crazy kid! :)

KALINSKIIII with the gorgeous wraparound! He jammed the puck in at the post hard enough to have put the disk through a cinderblock wall. Howard tried to get his skate over to block it, but he was just a moment too late. Assists from Szwez and Raduns. 4-0 Phantoms and it's the last minute of play in the second period.

At the end of the period, the SOG are Phantoms 20, Griffins 17.
Nice save by Munroe, including a little Patty Roy flourish, two minutes into the period. By that time, GR had evened the shots at 20 apiece.

NUTS. Munroe went to make a pad save a minute later, but lost the shutout when it hit his leg pad and kept going in. 4-1 Phantoms.

With 14:28 left in the period, GR is getting a penalty. SOG are Phantons 20, Griffns 25.

Aaah, Ross had a scoring chance in the slot, but Howard tracked him all the way and made the stop. And WHAT is the deal with us windnig up in OUR doggoned end while WE are on the PP?

Actually, we are now just over halfway into the period (9:42 left) and I'm not pleased with the amount of time we have spent in front of Scott Munroe. It's not going to help matters that Szwez just went to the sin bin. SOG are Phantoms 23, Griffins 27. GR has had about a shot per minute since the third frame began.

OK, we killed the penalty safely, and just got the announcement that the Flyers lead the Bruins 1-0 on a goal by Claude Giroux. :) So that was a good few minutes, all told. :)

Curry/Bartulis seems to be a new D pair for the time being. Ratchuk and Kukkonen are both on the bench, though, so it isn't due to an injury. We seem to have gone to two D pairs.

With 46 seconds left, Matsumoto gets a penalty and GR calls a timeout.

Ross, Kane, Syvret, and Guennin are out and the GR net is empty. We come close to scoring on a lonnnnnng clearing attempt, but the disk just misses the net.

And we win! The final score is Phantoms 4, Grand Rapids 1. We just picked up two points on the Senators. Great job!

Next up, we have a home game on Wednesday night. Go Phantoms!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Phantoms vs. Grand Rapids Griffins, 3-28-09

Aubin led the team out of the tunnel for the pregame skate. We are wearing the Spectrum jerseys.

Now I KNOW we need to make it to the playoffs, because if we do, Keith Jones will be able to return to announcing. So come on, Phantoms! Go on a tear and beat the daylights out of everyone and everything that stands between us and the postseason :)

Lou Nolan is announcing tonight's game. There will be a pregame awards ceremony tomorrow, which is a couple weeks earlier than we normally do it. However, given that there is likely to be a lot of ceremony attached to the final home game this season, it's understandable that they have moved the awards ceremony to a different night.

I love the way this device's battery measures its time left. As it recalculates the amount of time remaining, sometimes the estimate of time left goes UP instead of down. :) If the guess-timate I am getting is correct, I won't have to change the battery during tonight's game. That will suit me just fine. We'll see.

Scratches: Duchesne, Lehtivuori, Sloane, DeSantis, Klotz, Gratton, Beaulieu, Bellamy

Starting Lineup: Aubin, Bartulis, Kukkonen, Kane, Sirianni, Ross. So Sirianni has been moved back onto the line with Kane and Ross.

We have the same ref tonight as we did last night (Ghislain Hebert). We had decent flow to last night's game, so if he calls tonight's contest the way he did last night, then it will be the players who decide the outcome of the game. That's all I want. (Besides the players to decide that the Phantoms win, of course. :D That goes without saying.)

Neil Little was on our bench for the pregame warmup. The Grand Rapids goalie tonight is wearing #31, as Neil did during his season there. (Which was ten years ago. Good GRIEF. Where did the time go?) I saw the Griffins #31 sweater on the visiting starting goalie (Larsson) and thought of Neil. I wonder what Neil was thinking of when he saw it?

Kukkonen has a face guard on his chin...! I don't remember seeing him take an injury last night that would warrant that. Eek. At least he's well enough to play.

Guenin takes down GR's #19, half a minute into the game, and we go on the PK. Ross, Kane, Kukkonen, and Syvret are out to kill the penalty.

Nice defensive stickwork by Syvret to keep a shot from comng in on goal. Next line: Kalinski, Nodl, Curry, Bartulis. Kalinski and Nodl break out on a 2 on 1, but our shot does not reach the net. I thnk. Then again, NO shots on goal have appeared on the shot clock as yet, but I would swear Aubin has stopped at least two pucks. Maybe they're having some shot clock Gremlins and the stats will be making an appearance shortly.

Next up Matsumoto, Laliberte, Maroon, Syvret, Guenin. And yes, the SOG are now Phantoms 1, Griffins 2.

Blast. GR shoots high glove side on Aubin, who is down in a butterfly split. It goes over his shoulder (rather too close to his head for comfort, actually) and in. 1-0 Griffins.

Szwez, Kalinski, and Nodl are back to  being a line combination. Raduns, Kempe, and Clackson are our other line. The D pairs remain the same: Curry/Ratchuk, Bartulis/Kukkonen, Syvret/Guenin.

There goes Haydar. He has been a thorn in the Phantoms' side in past seasons. One of my friends has met him a few times offline, and I am always telling her to shoplift him when he comes to town, but she never does. ;)

Ross and Kempe nearly teamed up to tie the game. But they did draw a penalty while on their scoring chance, so it's time for the PECOOOO POWER PLAY. SOG are even at 3-3.

Or it WILL be a PP for us when they finish repairing the ice, LOL. The Shot Clock Gremlins leave, and the Ice Surface Gremlins come in to take their place.

OK, the ice is all better, so Matsumoto's line is out with Syvret and Kukkonen. Laliberte nearly cashed in a rebound at the top of the crease, but the shot went high.

Kukkonen got the puck taken from him after a nice keep-in, and the Griffins dumped it in deep and went for a line change. The Phantoms did, as well. Ross's line is out with Curry and Ratchuk to close out the PP.

SCOOOORE! Sirianni from Ross and Kane, *just* as the penalty expired. It was counted as an even strength goal. The score is 1-1, and the SOG are now Phantoms 5, Griffins 3.

Kukkonen nlooks like he needs to get used to seeing the puck when it's at his skates. Unfortunately, his next couple minutes of looking at his skates will take place in the sin bin, as he was called for tripping. The Phantoms Phaithful beg to differ.

MATSUMOTO!!!! Scores a SH goal on a breakaway!!! What a highlight reel play THAT was! Nate Guenin provided the assist. NICE, nice play.

And he came close to doing it again on the next shift, but unfortunately he didn't strike twice in a fraction of a minute. ;)

Clackson is out and talking to his guy in the faceoff circle. No bout resulted, but given the timing was just after our go-ahead goal, you never know.

Kane BURIED a guy at our half-boards as the Griffins took the puck into our zone.

'SOG with 4:13 left in the period are Phantoms 10, Griffins 4.

Hebert let a Griffins interference go vs. a Phantom in the neutral zone, but behind our net, he called Guenin for holding GR's #19. The music guy responded by playing a clip from Mr Grinch.

Aubin has kept a couple of shots out, regardless of the screening going on in front of him. He has also had some nice help from our PKers who have  blocked the puck and swept loose pucks out of harm's way. The end result was a killed penalty and only 3 SOG for the Griffins during their man advantage.

Final minute of play in the period, and Maroon gets hauled down just as he crosses the GR blue line. Hebert sees it, so we will have a two-minute PP at the beginning of the second period. There was a ten-skater conference in the corner behind the GR net, and I wondered if additional minors would be called, but no. The guy who tripped Maroon is the only one who got penalized.

At the end of the second period, the score is Phantoms 2, Griffins 1. The SOG are Phantoms 0, Griffins 7.
To start the period, our PP unit consists of Ross, Kane, Sirianni, Syvret, and Curry (intead of Kukkonen).

BLAST times TEN. GR's #15 pilfered the puck from Syvret and charged in for a SH breakaway. Freaking Helm again. He's the guy that got their first goal. He scored to tie the game at 2-2. So far that was the only shot that took place during the PP for either team. The penalty is over but Matsumoto's line is still cycling. Laliberte would have had a clear shot on goal, but freaking Helm (again! grrrr) made a nice defensive play.

Kempe is headed to the sin bin for interference. Out to kill the penalty are Kane, Ross, Syvret, and Guenin. At the next faceoff, we changed forwards for Matsumoto and Laliberte, who got the puck deep shorthanded. Next are Kalinski and Nodl, who did the same.

Aaaah, another shortie! With Kempe still in the sin bin, Ross's shot kind of squeaked through Larsson for as odd-looking of a goal as I've witnessed in a while. But if it's us scoring them, I'll take 'em no matter what sort of goal it is! Kane got the assist. 3-2 Phantoms. SOG Phantoms 14, Griffins 9.

Eeeee... goalmouth scramble with nearly all the skaters on the ice having a scrum in front of our crease. Fortunately, Aubin must have corralled it (not that I can see through the throng) because the ref blew the play dead.

Bah. Raduns is sent off for hooking. SOG are Phantoms 14, Griffins 11.

Ross, Kane, Bartulis, and Kukkonen are out to start. Ross gets a SH shot on goal. Boy, both teams are giving up SH chances like mad.

Nice PK, guys! We got out of that one unscathed. SOG Phantoms 15 Griffins 11.

GR's next shot was a doozie... we got the "Great Save" graphic. :) We also got a penalty to Nate Guenin. Matsumoto, Laliberte, Kukkonen, and Syvret are out.  I would loooove to see us get a clear. We haven't faced a shot yet but the darn Griffins keep cycling. We need the puck to Go Away for a while and give our guys a breather.

FINALLY with a few seconds left in the penalty kill, we get the thing deep and change lines. Unfortunately, we didn't get ourselves back to our own end soon enough, and we gave up a goal. 3-3. SOG are Phantoms 15, Griffins 14.

Nice shot, Ratchuk. Unfortunately, no one was off to the side to pick up the enormous rebound. Ross got a point-blank attempt at the post moments later, but was unable to stuff it past Larsson's skate.

AAARGH. Grand Rapids takes a shot that pings Aubin, seemingly on his shoulder as he is down in a split, and keeps going into the net. 4-3 freaking Griffins.

SECONDS later, Matsumoto does almost the same thing to Larsson, except he appeared to put it in off Larsson's upper arm. WHEW. 4-4 with 4 minutes remaining in the period. Laliberte got the assist.

AWWWWW crud crud crud crud on the puck just STOPPING in the crease behind Larsson about 38 seconds later. Drat. It stopped a few inches behind him and jnust sat there. A Griffins defender managed to swipe it under his goalie before any of our guys could bat it the final few inches over the goal line. Aaaah. Still 4-4.

The Phantoms have continued to get chances in the GR zone, however, to the point where we drew a roughing penalty and are on the PECOOOOO POWER PLAY. Ross's line is out and a Griffin barely kept Ross from smacking a puck in point  blank. Next up, Matsumoto's line with Curry and Ratchuk. With 17 seconds left in the man advantage, the D swap out for Syvret and Guenin, but the forwards remain the same. For good reason, as Matsumoto's shot fell right in front of Larsson and Laliberte was only a moment too late getting to the rebound before Larsson covered it up. This line is En Fuego tonight.

NICE scoring chance. Kalinski shot the puck just a tiny bit wide, with Szwez standing right there to try and deflect it in. Unfortunately, Larsson anticipated this and hugged the post, but the chance was a good one.

At the end of the period, the game is tied 4-4. SOG are Phantoms 24, Griffins 19.
SIRIANNI!!!! SCOOOOOOORE from Bartulis and Kane! Only 25 seconds into the period, WTG GUYS! Way to come out of the gate like gangbusters! We are in need of these two points, and I want to see us go after them with everything we've got.

Nice play by Szwez to go in alone on Larsson, and shortly afterward, Ratchuk handled a 3-on-1 with aplomb. SOG with 1:38 left Phantoms 32(!), Griffins 21.

HAT TRICK ROB SIRIANNI! Holy cow, what a game he's having! I love it! :) 6-4 Phantoms and the assist was from Maroon. There is a pause to retrieve hats from the ice and to repair that Gremlin-infested spot on the ice again.

Kukkonen just about put a Griffin right through the boards and into Lou Nolan's lap.

Aubin just made two fabulous stops on consecutive shifts. He froze the puck both times. But he and everyone on the Phantoms are in Stamp Out the Enemy Mode now. NICE vision from Ratchuk, right there in our slot to anticipate a puck and keep a Griffin from firing it on net.

HAT TRICK JONATHAN MATSUMOTO!!! I don't ever remember seeing two different Phantoms get a hat trick in the same game before. Holy cow! Laliberte gets the assist.

Not a lot of hats were available for the second hat trick of the contest, so some fans near me were suggesting that I should supply mine to the effort. But I have had this Phantoms hat almost as long as the team has existed. THIS lid isn't going anywhere unless I'm still in it. ;)

Guenin blocked a shot moments before the end of the game.

The three stars were all multi-goal scorers. #3: Helm (GR); #2 Matsumoto, #1 Sirianni. Apparently, our two Hat Trick Boys were left in suspense as to which of them would be the first star of the game, because when Matsumoto was announced as the second star, they grinned at each other and did a fist bump. :)

Gotta love our guys. Here's to a similarly hungry performance tomorrow night. GO PHANTOMS!

P.S. As we were walking up the steps to the concourse, a loud cheer... no, make that a ROAR emanated from the press box. Villanova had just won their basketball game, so they're heading to the Final Four. Outstanding! :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Phantoms vs. Toronto Marlies, 3-27-09

Town Hall Meeting

It appears that there are two separate groups of ticket holders meeting. The first one is assembled elsewhere in the building, I think possibly in a media room. The rest of us are in Bullies. It's 5:45 and it appears that the other group is getting The Big Talk first.

To my surprise,  they let me in with the baseball bat cane. The security was surprisingly tight, or maybe NOT so surprisingly tight, given Luukko's unpopularity with Phantoms fans.. First we got orange wristbands when we confirmed our RSVP at the entrance. And yes, they actually did fill up and turn people away who called too late.

We had to show said wristbands at the top of the stairs on the way down to Bullies. Then we had to show the wristbands again at the BOTTOM of the stairs. (As if people were going to teleport into the closed stairwell and bypass the first security guard?)

They checked the Sign Man's signs for content,  and I also think they turned some people away with anti-Comcast shirts.

Per Mike Thornton, they have got the first group in the area of the Zamboni. in the area that has been used for press conferences in the past.

Interestingly, there is a small table set up with a microphone and bottles of Aquafina. Someone came and added some bottles of Perrier water to the collection on the tabletop. Klotz and Bellamy came through wearing suits and got a brief Lets Go Phantoms chant.

Luukko came in to TOTAL silence. No boos and obviously no cheers. He started by giving us a time frame of the team's history: in 94-95 when they were building the Center, they wanted to keep Spectrum alive. Maybe do circuses, ice shows, and other events. They were looking at the possibility of bringing in an IHL franchise. At the time these discussions were going on, IHL games were drawing well. The discussion was whether having a minor-league team would take from the Flyers and we went to getting an AHL franchise instead. Luukko said that he was the one who proposed having an AHL team in here. (I bit my tongue on saying Luukko giveth and the Luukko taketh away.)

From the 6th year onward, the team was being subsidized by the organization and the Spectrum was aging. Also they had development rights as part of the agreement with the city to build the Center. Then in the past year Cordish approached Comcast regarding developing the site. At that point they reviewed where they were financially and the determination was that the current situation was not viable both from the Spectrum approached standpoint and from the financial standpoint. (All this, absent the fact that it was Luukko's efforts to bring an AHL team in, are things that have been brought forth already in prior interviews and media statements.)

They had to decide what to do with the Phantoms. Comcast was approached by several concerns and looked at a few places including Pennsauken, Atco, Bellmawr, and Trenton. They asked the Devils if they would be interested in moving from Trenton, but they would not leave. At that point the Brooks Group approached to buy the team, and they want an arena in Allentown. They asked if Comcast would sell them the team, which they did. Possibly this team will be in Glens Falls, NY, till an arena is  built but the goal of Brooks Group is to build in .

At this point the floor was opened for questions. Luukko and Tilger said they will get people's contact inforfmation regarding getting Flyers season tickets with the Phantoms STH discount next year, if they are already STHs over there or if they need a child ticket discount.

The Flyers have an affiliation agreement with the Brooks Group, and the agreement lasts ten years. No one asked how this would be affected if the Brooks Group has to take the team dormant temporarily due to not having an arena to play in.

I am not sure if I am going to get a question in or not. Mr Microphone keeps acknowledging me visually via eye contact and a nod, and then giving the floor to other people. There is no shortage of raised hands to choose from.

No, the AHL Board of Governors has not approved the sale. They expect the sale to be approved unless Brooks Group proves to be financially unsound. The question of Brooks Group's partial ownership of the Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, and whether that would be enough of a conflict of interest to negate the sale, went unasked.

In answer to several unrelated questions and comments, Luukko said that Comcast looked hard at Atlantic City before rejecting the idea due to the poor attendance of the Bullies games and the current poor economy. (Given what I have read about some casinos being in financial hot water, I can't debate that the economy in A/C might not be ideal right now.) The Brooks Group will have some games here in Philly every year. Wherever the new arena will be built, the construction will be funded with government money; no one can afford to build an arena with only private funding. Comcast looked at various construction companies to see about building their own arena. In this economy, nothing was feasible.

Someone made a point of reminding Luukko and Tilger what they have done to the fans and how much this hurts all of us, but the response was that there weren't enough fans coming in. People (both with and without the floor) questioned whether the team was marketed well enough but the response was tha they had advertising during Flyers and Sixers games.

Personally, I am not convinced that the Sixers fans are the ideal people to whom to promote a hockey team, as there isn't a lot of crossover in my experience between fans of the two sports. Also, in my experience, a lot of people are snobs when it comes to being major league fans. I have seen people who are avid supporters of the NHL who dismiss the very idea that they would be interested in watching a minor pro team. I got to say NONE of these things, because I never did end up getting the microphone.

It's unfortunate that we only got half an hour instead of a full hour, due to the splitting of the STHs into two groups. We got a lot of "what happened" details, but little or no background on WHY the decisions were made. For example, WHY was Bellmawr deemed to be unfeasible? One would think that it was the perfect location for all concerned, the fan base and the team alike. But we never got that far into the discussion of any of the rejected sites.

It was a frustrating experience, as nothing is going to change for us. It was polite, fortunately. And I am disappointed that I never did get to say anything that I would have liked to ask or state.

Scratches: Duchesne, Lehtivuori, Sloane, DeSantis, Klotz, Gratton, Beaulieu, Bellamy.

Starting lineup: Munroe, Bartulis, Kukkonen, Maroon, Laliberte, Matsumoto.

Eek...! A puck comes sailing into my section abut 20 seconds into the game.

Second line up is Ross/Kane/Sirianni with Syvret and Guenin. Is that where Bates Battaglia is these days? With Toronto? I always did like that kid after meeting him at the All Star Game in Syracuse... then again, I met him eleven years ago, so I suppose he isn't really a kid anymore. LOL. Either way, he's a nice fellow, even if he IS in the Wrong Team's Jersey tonight.

We are not off to an ideal start... TOs first shot on goa with 18:38 left in the period, goes in. Darn it... I hate when we wind up chasing the game from early on. Such is life.

Next line is Kalinski/Szwez/Nodl with Curry and Ratchuk. Fight: Szwez and Berry. Szwez got the vast majority of punches in, so I would credit him with a solid win.

Kempe comes out to replace Szwez on the wing, and we face off again.

The Phantoms are about to get the first PECOOOO POWER PLAY of the game. Lou Nolan is announcing the game, and he knows how to make that particular announcement with just the right inflection and timing. :)

We are having issues keeping the puck in Toronto's end. Ross, Kane, and Sirianni were out with Kukkonen and Syvret, but Ratchuk and Curry came on to replace the D . Aaaah, near miss from Kane in front. Just as the PP ended,Matsumoto and Maroon nearly teamed up to score, but unfortunately, no luck. Heck, I would gladly take an even strength goal OR a PP goal. ;)

Raduns , Clackson, and Maroon were out for the fourth line. (Maroon is also on the Matsumoto line). With Szwez in the box, we had to do a little substituting on wing.

With 12:47 left in the period, we are outshooting TO 4 to 1. Unfortunately the Marlies lead us on the scoreboard. Grrr... GOALIE interference! Aw, come on, 44 ran right into Munroe and freaking GUENIN goes off for tripping? Say what?

Sigh. ANyhow, Ross, Kane, Kukkonen, and Syvret are killing the penalty. Our Captain, our two assistant captains, and Kukkonen. Ah, the ref DID catch this infraction -- a Marlie bowled over one of our guys right in front of our net. The puck was nowhere near him. I would have called it interference and not tripping, but as long as the guy goes to the sin bin. we will be at 4 on 4 for over a minute.

Or maybe we won't. Ratchuk goes for hooking with 38 seconds left in Guenin's penalty, so we will be at 4 on 3 for a while.

Not long enough of a while... with 15 seconds remaining in Guenin's  penalty, TO scores a PP goal. Back to 4 on 4 for us.

2-0 Bad Guys, and the fans are getting grouchy. Kalinski, Nodl, Syvret, and Guenin are out for the final seconds of Ratchuk's penalty. TO is now outshooting

Nice defensive move by Swez at even strength to swat the puck off the stick of a Marly in the slot. us 7-5. Or is he a "Marlie"? Technically, he's a Marlboro, but it's not often that I've seen the singular form of the nickname "Marlies".

Guenin is apparently less favorably inclined to Battaglia than I am, as he knocked him flat to the ice in our crease. ;) I guess he thought the blue jersey would look good on the blue ice.

Aaaaaah, Maroon came close to burying one but somehow it stayed out. I don't even see a shot on goal getting credited to us for the maneuver, but TO's goalie had to jam his skate to the post to make sure it remained out. Now there's another scxramble in front on the same shift, but that also comes to naught. That time, I think the puck hit at least one Marlie (there we go again with the singular form of the nickname), before a TO player retrieved it from the chaos and rushed it back into our end.

With a minute and a half left, we dump it in deep and make a wholesale line change for Ross's line and  Bartulis/Kukkonen. Sirianni gets a nice scoring chance and draws an OOOHH from the crowd. The puck stays out.

Just at the end of the period, the Marlies get a penalty for holding. The Phantoms will have two minutes of PP time to start the second period. The score is 2-0, Marlies. SOG are Phantoms 6, Marlies 8.
I dont know how we only got credit for only two SOG during that PP. Somehow, that doesn't seem like it's enough. Bu that was how the stats panned out. Unfortunately, this was followed by a scramble in our goalmouth during which TO got two shots on goal of their own. The second of the two pucks they got on net went in. The score is 3-0, Toronto.

It's an unfortunate turn of events that we are facing a couple of the top teams in the West while Bingo, the team we are chasing for the final playiff berthm is playing two of the weaker teams in the West in their remaining schedule. Such is life.

Interestingly, in this game we are having the Battle of the Munro(e)s. Our goaltender's name is Munroe with an E, and the Marlies' netminder is named Munro (no silent E at the end). I guess that's a good name for goalies to have. :) Munro has been around for a while... I seem to recall his having a goalie fight in here a few years back, so he has got his own set of Spectrum memories to take with him after this weekend.

Kane just dumped a Marlie to the ice at the top of our right faceoff circle. Nice hit. :)

We have a bit of line tweaking in progress. Kalinski and Szwez are out with Sirianni instead of Nodl. I can see that the next line up will be Matsumoto's line, which appears to be the same group of three as always. This could get interesting, as the Marlies just got my unfavorite penalty: Delay of Game. So Matsumoto's line is out with Kukkonen and Syvret for a PP instead of a regular line change. SOG ate Pantoms 9, Marlies 15.

Next up: Ross, Kane, and Nodl (not Sirianni). Kukkonen and Syvret remain out. Maroon and an equipment guy went up the tunnel right after Matsumoto's line returned to the bench.

By the end of the PP, the numbers on the shot clock remained the same. Sirianni and Nodl have definitely swapped lines in this period. Paddock tends to roll three lines and infrequently uses the fourth line, so there is ample opportunity to see who has been moved aroujnd.

Oh, drat that we couldn't cash this chance in... Munro came way out to the faceoff circle to stop one of our forwards. But he fell, and our forward fell over him. The puck remained in the faceoff circle, under the goalie's stick. By the time one of our guys retrieved it and passed it back to a teammate, it exited the zone and Munro had time to return to his post. Too bad we didn't manage a shot while the goalie was way out of position. I do hasten to add that it would not have been a slam dunk goal, as three Marlies were standing in the crease in Munro's stead.

The good news is that Maroon is back from his stint getting equipment fixed. The less-than-good good news is that Szwsez just went up the tunnel with the trainer. I couldnt tell what injury it might bem so let's hope it isn't anything too major and we will see him in the third.

We have less than a minute left in the period, and a flurry of attempts in the TO end came to naught. The score remains Toronto 3, Phantoms 0; the SOG totals are Marlies 18, Phantoms 12.
We are getting another trip to the sin bin early in the third period. Guenin goes for boarding. Raduns, Kalinski, Syvret, and Kukkonen are out. Kukkonen must have blocked a shot, because he came back to the bench limping as soon as the puck was cleared. Curry proceeded to replace him, and break his stick almost right away, so Ross gave him his stick. Boyce proceeded to  back into Ross and fall down, so even stick-free he is still killing a penalty. Then the loose puck slid by Ross's feet and he swatted it out of the zone with his glove. Matsumoto and Laliberte had a SH 2 on 1 but we coudn't quite cash it in.

Kalinski just had three golden chances in a row. Pain in the neck Munro-with-no-E kept everything out.

It's so frustrating to see our guys having "fan on the shot" moments. It just seems like everyone's stick has a freaking hole in it tonight|,m that passes are going off sticks and keeping going, or shot attempts are getting a fraction of the wood (or graphite or whatever the heck it is) on them that the player intended. Friday the 13th was two darn weeks ago, so we shoud be having better luck than this. ;)

With 11:41 remaining in the period, the SOG are Phantoms 20, Marlies 22.

The officials are measuring someones stick, and apparently it came up illegal. Someone from Toronto is heading to the sin bin, to the tune of "Oh No, You Didn't". Oh dear, it's Bates. Naughty boy, ;) The Phantoms are going on the PECOOOOO POWER PLAY.  and arrrgh but we have had two point-blank attempts that Mr. No Silent E has kept out. Now Kane in the crease cant quite get the thing homem so make that three point-blank attempts.

The SOG are now Phantoms 25, TO 23. Everyone thought Clackson was going to go with someone down at the TO end, in the corner I can't see from my seat. Unofrtunately, nothing came of it... this time. From the booing, unless I see or hear otherwise I will have to presume that the linesmen stepped in to prevent anything from taking place.

With 7:24 left, we seem to be having a promotional timeout. The officials went back to their crease and the players returned to their bench (other than Munroe, who skated back and forth at his end of the ice).

But Bates is going back to the sin bin, and we are going on the PECOOO POWER PLAY again. Matsumoto's line is out with Ross and Kukkonen (four forwards). We quickly end up at four on four, as Matsumoto goes off for holding. TO clangs one off the post toward the end of the 4 on 4.

In the final minute of play we have Ross, Kane, and Sirianni reunited on the ice. The puck went sailing into my section again, and the person on the other side of the tunnel from me caught it. Now we have Sirianni Kalinski Kempe with Bartulis and Curry. Kempe started lugging the puck up ice, but a Marlie stole it from him in the neutral zone. I would file that under "Rookie Growing Pains".

Game over. The Phantoms lost 3-0, and the SOG were even at 27-27.

This loss is a setback for our effort to make the playoffs. I haven't seen the out-of-town results to know whether Binghamton won or lost.

We have two more home games this weekend, both vs. Grand Rapids. Here's to moving four points closer to a playoff berth. Time is of the essence. Go Phantoms!


Town Hall Meeting

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Game blog will be posted postgame

But I will also post minutes from the pregame Town Hall meeting, so I hope that makes up for the delay in posting the blog.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Phantoms at Binghamton Senators, 3-25-09: Third Period

As I suspected, we have spent most if the first three and a half minutes in our end, fending off Senators' attempts to get on the board. Now we are starting to get play into the neutral zone and, occasionally, into the other end. But Bingo really is pressing to get something going. They probably got an earful from their coach during the second intermission, particularly considering that the Phantoms forced them to turn over the puck more than any team would like to do during the first two periods of the game.

Fortunately, Munroe has been solid and we have been defensively responsible. The score remains 3-0.

Yiiiii, that time we had a scramble in front of our net and Munroe was down after making a save. But Kane and Sirianni managed to earn us an offensive-zone draw by forcing Glass to freeze the puck.

We are being outshot in this period 11-1, halfway through the frame. Did I mention that we would have to stand up to an early Senators onslaught? Which should only make life even more interesting, as we are about to go shorthanded,

Syvret and Guenin are out with Kane and Ross. We can't seem to clear the darn thing for love or money, and finally it comes back to bite us. Binghamton scores. 3-1, Phantoms.

It was former Flyer Denis Hamel's 500th career AHL point. He's good people, for sure, and that's an admirable milestone, but we really don't need to have Senators garnering points on us right about now. That was Bingo's 16th shot of the period and 34th of the game, so in other words they have sent nearly half their shots on our net in the first half or so of this period.

OK, we need to get the heck out of our zone, please... the amount of time we are spending on our side of our blue line is getting ridiculous. Ah, there goes Szwez. He just got our second shot on goal of the frame, compared to Binghamton's 17 pucks that they have sent in on Munroe in the past 16 minutes and change.

Nice D, Nate Guenin, as he runs over Mauldin. :) Leave it to Nasty Nate to imbed someone in the boards or the ice before the game is over.

Now with two minutes and change left, we are in the Senators' end and playing keep-away for as long as possible. When Bingo took the puck out, their goalie left with two minutes to go in the game. Empty net for the Senators with a minute and a half remaining and here we go again with the freaking PICTURE getting all jumpy. At least the audio is coming through.

There goes the final minute of the period announcement. All I am hearing are Binghamton players' names... till Syvret cleared the puck, thank goodness. GO GO GO Ross is trying to get the ENG -- he didn't score, but the clock ran out and we did win the game in regulation time.

Carkner is going after Ross for I Know Not What, however, and now Hamel is throwing haymakers into the giant conference going on behind the Phantoms net. The stupid picture is still looking like a slide show so it's hard to tell what triggered all this. Kane has no helmet on. Now Hamel is going after him and trying to get into a fight. Shoot, this game could turn into a two-sheeter after the whistle. Unreal that the game would wait until the end to boil over like that... on the other hand, this IS a playoff-level amount of pressure. Finally, everyone is pried away from everyone else and the teams leave the ice. (With a few pinheads who don't deserve to be called hockey fans throwing some items at the Phantoms. Dopes... there are a few nitwits in every arena.)

All three of the stars are Phantoms: #3 Ross, #2 Kalinski, #1 Munroe. NICE!

The Phantoms now trail the Senators by 6 points in the standings, and we have two games in hand.

Next up: a four-game homestand, three of which are coming up on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Go Phantoms!

Phantoms at Binghamton Senators, 3-25-09: Second Period

Looks like everyone is out in force on our bench to start the second period, so this is good. We need to be out in force on the ice to start this frame. We ended the first period with the Sens on a surge, and we don't need to start this one the way we ended the previous one.

SCOOORE -- Kalinski, from a great pass by Nodl! Good start, guys, it's 56 seconds into the period and we are up 2-0. :)

That goal really did quiet the fans down a lot. But we need to get out of our zone now... neither team is setting up all that well in the other team's end, but I don't like the number of attempts that the Sens are making to get something going in front of Munroe.

Here goes an interference call against Binghamton. Time for us to draw blood again. Ross, Kane, Sirianni are out with Syvret and I can't see who the other Dman is.

The next line out is Matsumoto, Maroon, Laliberte, with Curry, and this flipping cybercast picture is getting all jumpy. Not only can't I see who the other defenseman is, but I feel like I'm watching a slideshow. Bingo killed the penalty but MAROOOOON scored right after the teams returned to even strength!  He was all alone in front of Binghamton's net, battling three Senators for the puck, and he buried an unassisted goal. FANTASTIC job!

I don't want to jinx this game, but I am pleasantly surprised at the lack of penalty calls we have had so far. I thought after that early holding call that it was going to be a game where guys were getting whistled down for looking at one another the wrong way. But now it seems like the ref wants to let the players decide the outcome of the game. May it stay that way, especially since the stakes in this contest are about as high as it gets for a regular season game. Maybe the ref is going into HIS version of a playoff mode where the teams are allowed to actually play. We can only hope.

With just over five minutes left in the period, Kempe made an attempt to accrue his first pro goal, going after a loose puck in front of the Binghamton net. However, he was thoroughly outnumbered by Senators, who managed to get the puck out of harm's way.

Nice defensive move by Matsumoto to pluck the puck out of a forest of legs and skates in front of Munroe and start skating the puck up ice. Binghamton was duelling with us for the puck on our doorstep, so it was good to see him not only get control, but take the disk entirely out of harm's way.

The score at the end of the second period remains 3-0, Phantoms. We will have to be ready for the Senators to come out of the gate like GANGBUSTERS in the third period. If we hold them off, especially in the first half or so of the frame, we will do ourselves a huge favor.

Phantoms at Binghamton Senators, 3-25-09: First Period

David Laliberte is cleared to resume playing, which has reunited the line of Matsumoto/Laliberte/Maroon is reunited. Ross/Kane/Sirianni is another line, and the return of Laliberte has allowed for the line of Kalinski/Szwez/Nodl to be reassembled, as well. Our other three forwards are Raduns, Kempe, and Clackson. Presumably they are our other line. :)

Per Brian Smith, this is the last time these two teams will ever meet, as there is no possibility that the Phantoms and Senators will meet in the playoffs. I presume that's because it's a mutually exclusive proposition -- when one team clinches the last playoff berth', the other team will be eliminated. |There's still no word on what it was that had Laliberte out of the lineup last week. However, as long as he's back, that's all that matters. :)

Mario Kempe is in tonight's lineup. He is a Flyers prospect who just came over from playing in Sweden and was signed to a tryout contract.

Fight: Clackson vs. Carkner. Carkner got in more hits early, as well as the eventual takedown. I would have to give this decision to Carkner, but Clackson withstood some solid punches and threw some haymakers of his own, so he gets a tip of the cap from me, too. Fiesty bout. This should be a high-energy game tonight, as there is so much at stake, and it shows.

With 14:12 left in the period, the SOG are Phantoms 3, Senators 2.

The Phantoms will be the first team to be awarded a PP, as Slattengren tripped Ratchuk. So let's have a nice PECOOOOO POWER PLAY, shall we? :)

Aaaah, two near-goals from Curry and then Matsumoto made me scare the cats. ;) But now we're at even strength.

Not for long, though, as Nodl is getting sent to the sin bin for holding. Oh, you have GOT to be kidding me... they just showed the replay of the alleged infraction, and if that was holding, I am the Queen of England. Well, anyway, we're killing a penalty. I like that we have been clearing the puck relatively well. That has been an issue for us at various times in the season, but not on THIS penalty kill. Aaaand there we go, it's even strength again. (Waits to see if the ref makes a fibber out of me by immediately calling a penalty. No? No. Good.)

We have  11 games left to play, including tonight's game, six of which are at home. We have two games in hand over Bingo, but we also need the Senators to lose some games in order for us to vault into the final playof spot. Well, all we can do is treat the upcoming games like they ARE playoff games, because they do bear that level of importance.

TO is playing in Hershey tonight. I hope the Bears and Marlies wear one another the heck out, as the Marlies play the Phantoms on Friday in Philly.

We have an extended timeout at the moment, as there's a broken pane of glass that needs to be replaced.

SCOOOOORE!!! ROSS draws first blood with 5:19 left! Assists from Sirianni and Bartulis. Outstanding work!

Eeeeek, there's a mob scene in our crease. Good grief, that was an alarming sequence! Fortunately, the Senators weren't able to cash in on any of several opportunities, and the score remains 1-0 Phantoms.

Our announcer is trying to figure out which Phantoms just headed up the tunnel with about a minute to go in the period. The forward combos are slightly jumbled (Ross/Kane and Matsumoto/Laliberte were out with a different winger than usual), but it wasn't possible to determine who was the missing player prior to the end of the period. The period is, in fact, over, and I hope that whoever it was comes back out with no difficulty to start the second.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Phantoms at Albany River Rats ,3-22-09

I tried to email this post last night, but I am checking now and I see that it never arrived. Doggone it. Let's try this again.

The Phantoms had a game in Albany on Sunday evening. I didn't get to tune in online until the final few minutes of the cybercast. Unfortunately, that basically means I got online just in time to see us lose 2-0.

This is disappointing for multiple reasons. We desperately needed those two points, for one thing. I see the Phantoms got 17 shots on goal in the third period alone, so it's obvious that they're thinking along the same lines on that topic. For another thing, we just used up one of the three games-in-hand we had on the Senators. Drat.

Our next game is on Wednesday in Bingo, so that will be a four-poit-swing game. GO PHANTOMS! We need that win!

CLICK HERE for the game recap from the Phantoms site.

CLICK HERE for the box score from the AHL site.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Phantoms vs. Binghamton Senators, 3-21-09: First, Second, and Third Periods; OT; Shootout

I can't seem to get through to the available networks tonight, so I will post the entire blog file when I get home.

Nodl is still on the line with Matsumoto and Maroon, so Laliberte is still out of the lineup. Kalinski is on a line with Raduns and Szwez. The line of Ross, Kane, and Sirianni remains together from last night. Klotz is on a line, and is out on the ice, with Clackson and Beaulieu.

The D pairs are the same as last night. Guenin is with DeSantis, Kukkonen is with Bartulis, and Ratchuk is with Curry.

We just spent the first four and a half minutes of the game with no stoppage of play before the Sens went offside. The Phantoms have the only shot on goal.

OMG we lucked out -- the puck hit the post behind Scott Munroe and didn't deflect in off him. Even better, he was able to clear it away from the Senator waiting on the doorstep.

Bartulis made some nice defensive moves, including checking an attacker into our bench, to prevent Bingo from getting set up in our end.

The shots on goal, with 10 minutes left in the period, are Phantoms 3, Senators 6.

We get to go on the game's first PK, as Kalinski gets sent off immediately after a faceoff for hooking. The first unit is Kane, Ross, Kukkonen, and Guenin. Nice clear by Kane. Next up are Matsumoto, Nodl, Bartulis, Curry. Curry's stick broke in half just as we finished killing the penalty, but luckily we cleared the puck out and nothing bad came of it.

A nice little scrum at our half boards results in one Senator going to the sin bin for boarding. Time for the PECOOOOO POWER PLAAY. Matsumoto's line is the first one up.  'we finally got our first shot on goal since before the halfway mark of the period. Unfortunately, that turned out to be our only shot during the man advantage,

Nice save by Munroe and an even nicer clear of the rebound by Kukkonen.

Kalinski is getting sent off for holding with 3:04 remaining in the period. The first PK unit is Ross, Kane, Guenin, and Kukkonen, However, the first shot of the PK was a SH attempt by Ross, who got to the loose puck first and rushed up ice with it for all he was worth,

A Senator tried to do a wrap-around, but Munroe was ready for him and hugged the post. It was Bingo's 11th shot on goal.

At the end of the first period, the score is 0-0, and the SOG are Phantoms 5, Senators 11.

RATCHUK with the end-to-end rush! Glass made the save, but the Senators took a hooking penalty. 21 seconds into the PP, we scored the game's first goal on a long shot that hit Glass's leg pad so hard, it bounced up and over and went into the net. Rob Sirianni scored, assisted by Ross and Kukkonen. I was surprised at how long it took to announce the goal. Maybe it was as hard to tell from the ice as it was from this angle who should get credit for the goal. In any event, 1-0, Good Guys. :)

Ratchuk was breaking in on the Bingo net with the puck. He and the Senator covering him fell. Somehow this translated into RATCHUK going to the box for tripping. :headdesk: :headdesk: :headdesk: Don't ask me what logic was behind THAT observation, but unfortunately the Sens tied the game on their PP. 1-1.

Guenin was already going to get a penalty, but the scrum at the stoppage in play ensured that more guys would go off. Guenin, Kane, and Yablonski of the Sens all went off for slashing.

This caused our first PK unit to consist of Ross and Raduns, instead of Ross and Kane.

NICE clear, Now we have Matsumoto and Kalinski as our PK unit. Banfield's arm is up again, this time for the Sens. With 17  seconds left in the PK, Bois of Bingo goes off.

Kukkonen turned the puck over, leading to a SH rush by Bingo, but the end result was a Senator in our net, the net against the  back boards, and a whistle stopping play.

With half a minute left on our PP, Munroe made a diving save on another SH attempt that led to the "Unbelievable" song being played. Dang, it's been a while since we've heard that one. This is 90s night, with music from that decade, but we still used to hear the song during games after a good save.

In any event, with seven minutes left in the period and the teams back at even strength, the SOG are Phantoms 13, Sens 19.

Sirianni gave us all a scare by slamming head first into the boards, and coming up holding his arm in a way that suggested an Upper Body Injury. He went up the tunnel with the trainer in tow, but to my surprise, they both came back out near the end of the period.

SOG at the end of the period: Phantoms 14, Sens 21.

Sirianni is out for the faceoff to open the third period, which is an excellent sign.

Sean Curry just tried to put a Senator right through the boards. After the last couple of borderline-boarding hits from Bingo went uncalled, I was glad to see that Curry didn't get an infraction either.

We have a broken pane of glass over by the Bingo blue line. Accordingly, the song on the PA is "Walking on Broken Glass". :)

WHOA, Munroe got the puck *under* his pads while in a butterfly split. Needless to say, he froze until the whistle was blown, lest a wrong move inadvertently send the puck into the net.

With 8:51 remaining in the period, the score remains 1-1 and the SOG are Phantoms 15, Senators 28. In other words, we have only gotten one shot in this period so far.

Matsumoto slammed the Sens' number 16 into the boards hard enough to earn a glare from him, but then they both continued playing instead of getting into a scrum.

Clackson is out with Raduns and Kalinski, which is a tweak to that line. (Szwez is normally their other winger).

Guenin blocked a shot.

You know, I would have sworn we got a least one SOG a couple shifts ago, but we didn't get credit for it on the shot clock.

NICE save by Munroe. That was the Sens 29th shot (as opposed to our alleged total of 15).

There. NOW we finally got credit for the shot.

In the final minute, Matsumoto, Nodl, and Maroon are out with Curry and Bartulis, However, the Game will go into OT and each team will earn at least one point.

So the best we can gain on Bingo in the standings is one point tonight. However, we need that point, so I hope the hero is on our side of the scorecard tonight.

SOG at the end of the third period are Phantoms 16, Sens 31.

Bingo just took a one-minute OT penalty for Delay of Game. It's my un-favorite infration, but at least we benefit from it about as often as we get burnt by it, The Phantoms used their time out.

Ross, Kane, Kukkonen, and Sirianni are out (three forwards). for the 4 on 3 PP.

WOW, Bingo just rang one off our post as loudly as a clang from a fire alarm. Geesh, what a blast, but fortunately it stayed out.

Last minute of OT, and so far we have all the OT shots on goal. It won't count as a shot, but Bingo just clanged another puck off the iron,

SOG at the end of OT, Phantoms 22, Binghamton 31.

I FREAKING LOATHE SHOOTOUTS, but that's how we will determine who gets the bonus point.
It took us into the sudden death portion of the shootout, but the Senators won the bonus point. So the point that we gained on them in the standings on Wednesday, we just lost again. Drat. We need these four-point-swing games.

We do have two more games vs. the Senators remaining, plus we still have three games in hand on them, So we are still mathematically capable of earning a playoff berth. Here's to postseason play, because we want to keep our team as long as possible.

Phantoms vs. Binghamton Senators, 3-21-09

I will post the entire blog after the game. My connectivity to the internet is too sporadic tonight. I will save the file on the computer and send it when I have reliable access.

For the record...

Just for the record...

I know the banner at the top of the site reads "14 games" remaining. At this writing, the current number is actually 8.

I do have a photo of the most current banner. I have a photo of EVERY banner from every home game this season.

But it's getting more and more depressing to update the banner photo, the lower the numbers get.

Bear with me. I'll get the banner current. I have a lot of pictures that need to be uploaded from my camera card, and the latest banner pics are among them.

By the end of tonight's home game, we will have 7 games remaining.

Sigh. :(

Friday, March 20, 2009

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

LMHO! So when the officials come out and the music guy plays the theme from the Three Stooges, does he mean the Zebras are three stooges, or is the implication that they are Three Blind Mice? :D Either way works in the fans' opinion, heh heh heh... The song got a nice round of applause.

SCOOORE! 55 seconds into the period, with a 5 on 3 PP, Ross scores from Kukkonen and DeSantis. Gret work, guys! The score is 1-1 and we still have 1:06 of PP time remaining.

With 16:51 left, Raduns is going off for hooking. This after some NICE D from DeSantis and Guenin to get between a shooter;;and Munroe.

SPeaking of getting between the puck and the net, we just did it again with a pileup in the goalmouth. This included would-be attacker Taffe. Munroe made a nice east-west move to stop another puck shortly afterward.

Nice -- 8620 are in attendance, and for once I can honestly say that I don't notice a loud contingent of Pens fans bumping the total up. It's OUR fans tonight. Good.

We had a hairy moment when DeSantis went into the boards in the corner behind our net, face-first. The trainer came out to check on him, but he didn't need any repairs done. (It must have still been smarting, though, because he checked his jaw area one more time bare-handed before replacing his glove.)

It looks like the D on Daoust's jersey is coming off. I wonder if he was the Penguin who tried to throw a hit on one of our guys, but missed and slammed forcefully into the boards with his back? Owie. I can't say I remember seeing a time when a guy's letter started to come off the nameplate, though. Waaaay back in the Days of the Bullies, I remember seeing a namepate here or a number there start to detach from a jersey, but that was rare and it was a long time ago.

There was just a "dogpile on the Muny" moment where the crease kind of looked like a "how many people can we fit into this phone booth?" stunt. Kukkonen started throwing haymakers at the Pen who was most obviously getting into Munroe's face (literally) wihtot having been pushed there. So we are at 4 on 4, as Kukkonen and the Penguin went off for roughing.

At this point, all the guys from each team are seriously hating on all the guys from the opposing team. Now we are at the Pens' end and another large scrum took place, only next to their net instead of in the goalmouth.

Last minute of play in the third. Eeee, and a Penguin shot that Munroe did get part of brushed against the outside of the post with a faint ping. There's one bullet doeged. Ross, Kalinski, and Kane are out with Kukkonen and Guenin. (Not a regular line combo.)

AAAH! SCOOOOOOOOOOORE!!! The guys are not only h ugging, but jumping up and down in the corner, and there is 19.5 seconds left. Kalinski, the addtion to the Ross/Kane pairing, got the goal with assists from Kukkonen and Kane. OMG, the fans are practically screaming the place off its foundation. The Penguins called a timeout and pulled the goalie. But the Phantoms hold on to win, only to have a fight behind our net break out at the final horn between Kalinski and Minard.

The stars of the game were #3: Kukkonen, #2: Munroe, and the obvious choice for #1 was Kalinski.

This team's going to give me a coronary with these dramatic finishes. ;) But as long as the Phantoms are on the happy side of the drama, I won't complain.

Our next game is tomorrow night, at home, vs. Binghamton. Go Phantoms!

Phantoms vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 3-20-09: Second Period

Wow -- we just had a LONG sequence without a break in play, and I think that Matsumoto was out for nearly all of it. He was on for at least two full shifts, including a stint with Kane nd SIrianni, and another with Beaulieu and Clackson. But what was impressive was at the end, he didn't look like he was about to keel over. Impressive conditioning. :)

The Phantoms have spent a mintue on the PP, and we are about to go on a 5 on 3 advantage. We HAVE to tie this game on this. I never in my leife heard of "throwing the stick" as a penalty beore, but evidently it's in the rulebook, as we just saw a Penguin go to the sin bin for it.
Our first mnute on PP didn't include a goal, but we stil have another minute of 5 on 4. We need to start shooting more and passing a it less, though. Nope, no dice. Even strength again... No PP goal this time.

Kane just came this-close to putting Pesonen over the boards into the Phantoms bench. NICE hit.

I can't believe that with 9:30 left in the period, we have only had three shots on goal. SOG are Phantoms 10, Penguins 17.

But as I was typing that, a Penguin took a penalty in the Phantoms' end. For crying out loud... And six seconds into the PP, Sirinni gets called for interference. So we are at 4 on 4.

Kand went right through Pesonen in our end in the faceoff circle. That's at least two solid hits he's dished out on Pesonen in this period so far. Heck, if it keeps that thorn in our side off the scoreboard for the rest of the game, let Kane keep it up.

Satan just hooked down Matsumoto, who still managed to dump the puck deep into the Pens' end while he was falling to the ice. Satan tried to plead his case to the referee, but away he goes. We have a 4 on 3 advantage for the eime being. Then we will have six seconds of 4 on 4 when this is done, and the rest of the penalty willb e a regular 5 on 4 PP for us. Ross, Kane, Kukkonen, and Curry-the-Dman are out. Ross blastee a shot through traffic. I don't know how Curry-the-goalie saw it, but he froze it. Faceoff: we have the same players oht. Kukkonen snot a bomb from center of the blueline. Again, Curry-the-goalie froze it. This time, we are changing ines. Matsumoto, Nod, and Maroon are with Ratchuk and DeSantis.

Apparently, the Pens have decided that this is Maul Jonl Matsumoto night. Taffe just tackled him in the neutral zone, but the ref missed it. That's OK, Guenin got away with an elbow to Bissonnette's chin about a minute later. Even Steven. ;)

With 3:21 left in the period, SOG are Phantoms 17, Penguins 21.

AGAIN there is a scrum in that one corner that's impossible to see from this seat. These guys need to start having their ten-skater conferences on other parts of the ice surface. ;) The only Phantom to get relegated to the sin bin is Clackson, along with #22 from the Penguins. We will be at 4 on 4, and there is 2:16 left in the period.

Engellund was mauling the daylights out of Matsumoto, cross-checking him while he was down on the ice. Banfield called it, and apparently he also decided to add an extra two for unsportsmanlike conduct. However, SECONDS later, Kukkonen got called for two for holding, so any PP we will have will take place in the next period. We are at 3 on 3 right now. Ross, Guenin, and Bartulis are our three guys who are out.

For most of the rest of the period, we had a lot of activity where guys from both teams looked like they were playing "hot potato" with the puck. We couldn't clear the darned thing, but the Pens couldn't get enough control of iti to do anything constructive.

Then we returned to 4 on 4, and things got very colorful, very fast. Lovejoy fell in our zone, allowing us to break out with the puck. Matsumoto get sent sprawling, Clackson stationed himself at the right post but didn't get passed the puck in time to deflect it home, as the period ended. In the midst of all this, Lovejoy got called for interference at the end of the period.

So at the end of the second period, the Penguins still ead 1-0. The Phantoms have 9 seconds of penalty time remaining. The Pens have two penalties remaining, one of which has 2:02 left on it, and the other of which has a full 2 minutes to go. So we are set to have a long 5-on-3 stint available to us in the coming period. Sog are Phantoms 17, Penguins 23.

Phantoms vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 3-20-09: First Period

Duchesne, Sloane(?), Laliberte :( Gratton, Bellamy
Who is Sloane? That's a new name on me.

I wonder what happened to Laliberte, that he's out of the lineup? That's bad news for the Phantoms for sure. He is 1/3 of our hottest line (with Matsumoto and Maroon). In his stead, Klotz is in the lineup tonight.

The Phantoms got a PP less than a mnute into the game, after a fiesty first shift in our end where multiple hits were thrown. We actuallyhad a good scoring chance on the delayed penalty, but unfortunately nothing came of it.

The game program describes Sloane as a D-man from the Philadelphia suburb of Ambler, PA, who recently completed his college career. He has been signed to a tryout contract. However, there is no indication in the game program regarding the reason that Laliberte isout of the lneup.

Now it's the Phantoms' turn to kill a penalty. Matsumoto goes off for slashing. The first PK unit incudes Kane, Ross, Guenin (with an A, replacing Syvret) and Kukkonen. We made a little shorthanded noise, but we still so far only have one shot on goal in the game. Oh, great, Pesonen and Satan are on the first PP shift for the Penguins. Pains in the neck. Fortunately, Pesonen fumbled an attempt to pass the puck, leaving it there for Kukkonen to clear to the far end. ON the next shift for us, Raduns and Kalinski managed to get a Sh break, though no shot on goal. This time, however, Nodl and Curry take it down to the other end, which kils still more time off the PK. At the end of the PK, the SOG are Phantoms 1, Penguins 6. I am not certain whether we got that shot on the scoring attempt leading up to the PP, or if we got it during the power play itself.

Ratchuk just had a fight with Bissonnette. It started out with Bissonnette having an edge, but then Clackson got the jersey over his fellow gladiator's head and pretty much took over from there. Win: Clackson.

The D pairs in this game remain Guenon/DeSantis, Bartulis/Kukkonen, and Curry-the-Dman/Ratchuk.

Kukkonen made a nice move with his stick to prevent a Penguin from receiving a cross-ice pass from Satan in frotn of our net. Matsumoto and Maroon are with Nodl tnight, in the absence of Laliberte.

Paddock is NOT a happy camper. He has been standing on top of our bench hollering, and now that we are going on another PK, he is adamant about getting some answers from Banfield, the referee.

BLAST -- soooo close to a goal and the lousy puck went wide! Ross broke in shorthanded, and the Dman covering him fell. Curry-the-goalie came way out to cut down the angle, and Ross managed to get around him. Owever, the puck went off on its own tangent, and when Ross got hold of it again, he shot it in a hurry and it went wide of the open net. Argh. We did, however, earn some 4 on 4 play as a Penguin was guilty of holding.

Nodl got a breakaway on the next shift, but he was unable to score. I heard the puck hit the boards, but I didn't see if Curry-the-goalie deflected it or if it went wide.

We killed our penalty, and we are now on a very brief PP of our own. Too bad it wasn't enough time to get entirely set up. However, I like our energy so far in this game. We need to keep it up.

Kalinski is on a line with Raduns and Szwez. That leaves Clackson, Beaulieu, and Klotz as our fourth line.

The referee's arm is up, thanks to a play in the corner that's hard to see from my seat (the bench side of the end where the Zamboni tunnel is). The SOG are now Phantoms 5, Pens 6. The Penguins have not shot on our goal since the last time I posted the shot totals.

DeSantis just got a blast on goal from the top of the left faceoff circle. IT's possible that Curry-the-goalie was screened on the play, but a rebound came way out to a Pens defender. Kukkonen and DeSantis are our on D, and Kukkonen just had a nice keep-in. With 42 seconds in the PP remaining, after Curry-the-goalie froze the puck and there was a little conference of skaters at the goalmouth, we're changing lines to get some fresh legs out. Curry-the-Dman and Ratchuk are out with matsumoto, Nodl, and Maroon. First Nodl, then Maroon stationed himself at the crease for rebounds. By the end of the PP, the SOG were even at 6 each.

With 2:22 left, it's OUR turn to kill a penalty. Again. Banfield is in Whistle Mode tonight, apparently. Kalinski goes.

Kane and Ross are out with Guenin and Kukkonen. Kane fed Ross in the neutral zone, but the Pens defender who had stayed back managed to bat the puck off to the side. Next, Nodl and Matsumoto are with Bartulis and Curry. We made a nice clear all the way to the far boards. (Good to see us get deep clears of the puck... When we fail to do that, it never turns out well. Never.) Blasted pain in the caboose Pesonen. AGAIN. He got the onlyt wo goals in regulation time on Wednesday, and he got one just now on us with 50.8 seconds remaining in the period. 1-0 Bad Guys. Pittsburgh, CALL THIS GUY UP. Geesh. This time, he had a bouncing shot that knuckled on Munroe with a bounce six inches in front of the goal.

At the end of the first period, the Penguins have the only goal of the game, and the SOG are Phantoms 7, Penguins 10.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Phantoms at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 3-18-09: Third Period, OT, and Shootout

The Phantoms' PK has been absolutely stellar so far in this game. Munroe deserves to add another "star of the game" selection to his collection for the season, and his teammates are making a solid case to join him.

Unfortunately, the darned thorn in our side known as Janne Pesonen, who got five points in the previous game against the Phantoms and has already scored tonight, is the one that finally found a way to get a puck past Munroe and tie the game,

But with 9 minutes left in the third period, the Phantoms are about to go on our second PP of the game. Munroe proceeds to have to poke check a puck away from a SH attacker. Now the Matsumoto line is out with Kukkonen and DeSantis. On the next shift, Ross, Kane, and Sirianni tested the living daylights out of Curry-the-goalie but somehow the puck stayed out.

Now there is a(nother) penalty on the Phantoms, the validity of which the announcer has voiced an objection. But to the PK we go. Matsumoto not only clears the puck, but speeds up to take it with Ross for a SH 2-on-1. OH, they have to call this trip -- another Penguin came up behind Matsumoto and hauled him down to prevent the breakaway.

Yep, they call it, so we will spend about a minute (slightly less, actually) at 4-on-4 before embarking on a PP of our own.

On the PP, Ross, Kane, and Sirianni got a nice chance when they got it to Ross and he one-timed the puck, but he didn't get good wood on it (or whatever the darn sticks are made of... didn't get good composite on it?) and Curry-the-goalie made the stop.

We have three minutes remaining in regulation time, and the PP is over. Kalinski is in a dispute with Satan. Nice to see he's so fiesty that even an NHL veteran doesn't intimidate him. :)

At the end of regulation, the score remains tied at 2-2, so we are going into OT. Matsumoto did his part by winning the faceoff in our zone with six seconds remaining. Good job.

The team we are chasing for the final playoff slot, Binghamton, is winning by three goals in the final frame of their contest, so if we want to maintain our current distance of 8 points between them and us, we need a hero tonight. Go Phantoms!

WOW -- the first stoppage of play in the OT came about three minutes into the five-minute extra session. In the shift that led up to the offensive-zone draw, Ross and Sirianni were getting some nice chances. Curry-the-goalie had to freeze the puck to prevent things from gettng out-of-hand.

Eek... that was close. Just as the Pens got set up in our zone, OT ended. So we are going into a shootout. Which provides me the opportunity to say, yet again, that I FREAKING HATE SHOOTOUTS!!! Argh argh argh!

But in any case, the Zambonis are out to clear a path for the shooters. It is the 8th shootout for both teams. So far, the Pens are 4-3 and the Phantoms are 5-2 in shootouts this season.

AHL shootouts go five rounds to start with

Pens Satan -- yes
Matsumoto -- no

Pens Pesonen -- yes
Ross -- YES

Pens -- Letestu -- no
Maroon -- no

Pens Goligoski -- no
Sirianni -- no

Pens Taffe -- no
Guenin -- no

The Penguins win the shootout 2-1 and the game 3-2. We drop to 9 points behind the Senators in the standings. Pesonen got two goals during regulation and his shootout goal was the game-winner. Pittsburgh needs to call this dude up and KEEP him up.

The stars are #3 Munroe (told ya!); #2 Curry-the-goalie; #1 Pesonen (no surprise there).

Here's to some REVENGE on Friday when we see this team again in Philly!

Phantoms at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 3-18-09: Second Period

Incidentally, Miroslav Satan did join the baby Penguins and is currently in their lineup. He has been on the ice a LOT in thie early second period, He and his line have drawn a penalty against the Phantoms. Szwez will sit.

So far, the Phantoms' PK has been very effective. We did have a somewhat alarming sequence when Munroe had to clap his mitt over a loose puck right in front of the crease. Kalinski actually took the puck out from under his own goalie's glove and cleared it down the ice to make certain that it was out of the danger zone.

Sirianni scores to tie the game! 1-1! Great job, Rob. :)

Munroe has been absolutely superb in preserving the tie, including one deflection where the unfortunate Penguin Bissonnette had the puck ricochet off his face. OUCH. He made a beeline up the tunnel for repairs.

Our PK has served us well during this period, as well. This is what we need to keep doing, not just for the rest of the game but for our upcoming games, too.

SCOOOORE with a surprise deflection in front of the net! We're trying to determine if it was Kalinski or Szwez who scored it. Szwez is getting the credit, with assists from Curry-the-Dman and Nodl. 2-1 Phantoms, late in the second period.

Wow, Matsumoto/Laliberte/Maroon really have had some great opportunities so far in this game. They just created at least their third great scoring chance of the night. If they keep it up, they're sure to figure in the box score. They'll be very deserving if they come out of this game with some more points added to their respective totals.

Yikes... Kalinski just went flying into the Wilkes-Barre net after a defenseman swatted the puck off his stick. Fortunately, he's getting up and is OK.

The second period is over with the Phantoms leading 2-1. Considering we only got five shots in the entire period, as opposed to the 13 that the Penguins got, the fact that we took the lead is even more impressive.

Now we need to WIN THE THIRD PERIOD. Wilkes-Barre is going to come out of the gate FLYING In the third; I'm sure of it.

Phantoms at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 3-18-09: First Period

The Phantoms are playing in Wilkes-Barre tonight, and as always, we need these points from our divisional rivals, I wondered for a few moments what was the matter with my screen, as the colors seemed a tad strange on the uniforms, Then I realized that the Penguins have green St. Patrick's Day jerseys on. LOL. First day with the new eyes. ;)

The Pens got started with shots on goal early. They had at least three shots before the Phantoms sent any pucks in the direction of Curry-the-goalie, So far the goaltenders have withstood all onslaughts, DeSantis is back in the lineup on D, since Syvret is still up with the Flyers.

The Phantoms are on the game's first PP, but we have had a really hairy moment. Munroe stopped a puck from a shorthanded attempt by the Pens; however, Kukkonen lost an edge and slid into his own goalie. Munroe got shoved most of the way into the net, but the referee ruled "no goal". It was hard to tell from the camera angle whether the puck went across the goal line
along with the goalie. Either Charron (the referee) had a better angle of observation from behind the net, or else he decided to err on the side of caution, Either way, that was a break for the Phantoms.

Whew... the Phantoms, according to the announcer, are embarking on a schedule of 5 games in 25 nights. Yikes. Our stretch run to attempt to reach a playoff seeding is going to be more like a marathon, or maybe a decathlon.

Munroe just made two excellent stops, but we couldn't seem to get control of the puck at any point during a goalmouth scramble. The end result was a Penguin goal. 1-0 Bad Guys.

Matsumoto and Laliberte created a scramble of their own, late in the period, but Curry-the-goalie found a way to keep their point-blank attempts out of the net, Not long afterward, the announcement was made that there is one minute remaining in the period.

The first period is over, The score is 1-0 in favor of the Penguins. The SOG are Penguins 10, Phantoms 6.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Phantoms vs. Norfolk Admirals, 3-15-09: Third Period

BWAAAA HA HA HA, the music guy started playing the theme from The Three Stooges ("Three Blind Mice") when the three officials came out. So whether he's calling our zebras Three Stooges or Three Blind Mice, either way he's tweaking the officials. Heh heh heh. :D

They're changing credit on the second goal. Now it's Sirianni from Ross and Kane.

Here comes a PECOOOO POWER PLAY. Maroon is stationed at the crease for rebounds or deflections from Matsumoto/Laliberte shots. Syvret and Kukkonen are the D. Unfortunately, ew are spending this first shift in OUR zone, which is not what we want to be doing. OK, now we finally are getting set up in the Norfolk end. But not for long. Grumble. Norfolk carries it out, we carry it back in.

OH! We have a very near miss on our first try, but the goalie was down after attempting to make the save, and Ross fires it into the open net for our first lead of the game. Assists to Kane and Curry, and we managed to get that disk into the net with all of 4 seconds remaining on the PP.

Curry just LEVELLED the Ads' number 44 who was carring the puck up the far boards. He lined him up and sent him flying. NICE hit. :) The Phantoms Phaithful appreciated it, too.

Nice team D. Keller from the Ads grabbed the puck and charged into our zone, full speed ahead, but all by himself. Our two D had already stayed back and covered him, two of our forwards came in behind him, so the only choice he had was to try and dump the puck in. We regained possession and headed out again.

SON of a BLANKETY BLANK BLANK BLANK, we were just about to have a great scoring chance, but we got whistled for too many men on the ice. BLAST. Szwez heads off to serve the penalty. Konopka gets flattened by Bartulis at the half boards when he tried to et in position to shoot. It actually took a few seconds for me to see who it was that threw the hit, because they went sliding out of sight at the base of the boards for a few moments.

We have killed the penalty but still I like our defensive play right now. We are sending otwo forwards in deep, and the third one is making a point to stay back and help the D more than worry about attacking. Matsumto has been one of the guys who still attacks, though, and with his speed that's pretty sensible. But Helenius has stood his ground with Matsumoto, and later with Szwez who was all alone at the Norfolk net trying to swat the puck by the goalie any way he knew how. (If I were Norfolk's coach, I wouldn't be one bit happy about seeing a Phantom duelling with Helenius and not one blue-clad teammate anywhere nearby to help out.)

Uh oh, we kind of fell out of that pattern I described earlier, and wound up with a 2 on 1 break against us. Fortunately, two of our other players managed to get back into the play before any damage was done, and the puck woudn up under a dogpile of players at the boards.

Kane just passed the puck half a mile, from deep in our end to Sirianni who was charging for all he was worth at the center ice circle. He and Ross barreled in to try and get a scoring chance. We ddn't get a goal, but the play was nice enough to inspire an excerpt from "Sweet Home Alabama" to be played. :) (Ross is from Huntsville, AL.)

We have 3:09 remaining in the game, with the Phantoms leading 3-2 and the SOG Phantoms 29, Admirals 24. Norfok is busting their collective tail to tie this game. I hate that we just had to have a faceoff in our end, because it let the Ads set up and crash our net, looking for a goal. Munroe froze it, and here we go facing off in our end again. This time we won and out goes Ross's lne. The D changed while our forwards were at the far end of the ice, with Bartulis and Kukkonen coming out for a pair of fresh players on the blueline.

Norfolk is trying the dump-and-chase method. We got to it first, but since we didn't quite clear it out, it let them get a chance. Grrr. Munroe took care of that, and wound up gloving the puck for a faceoff to his right. Matsumoto, Kaliberte, Maroon, Guenin, and Syvret are taking the draw. This eventually turned into a giant dogpile on Munroe's stick side. The last guy to get up looked like a blue pancake on the ice while he waited for the other players to get off him and line up for the faceoff.

The more the clock winds down, the more desperate the Admirals are becoming. Konopka needs to be sat on right about now. His shot went wide, but I don't like him getting near-miss chances this late in a close game. With 35.1 seconds left, a shoving match to Scotty's right ended up with one Admiral on the ice, and his teammate backing over him and landing on Ross who also was on the ice. Ross didn't appreciate this much and when he got up, he had some comments to make to the nearest Admiral (which wasn't the guy that fell on him).

Timeout, Norfolk. Ross's line remains on the ice with Guenin and Syvret. We neeeed to get this doggone biscuit out of our zoe. Munroe makes a nice catch with his glove, just wide of the net, and brings the mitt up with a bit of extra flourish to the sound of cheering from the crowd. The Phantoms call timeout with 25.4 seconds left and the Norfolk goalie pulled.

The same guys are on the ice for us. And ten skaters are mobbed in front of the net -- how Munroe even came close to seein the puck, never mind keeping it out, I don't know. No shot on goal was registered on the board, so maybe someone else batted the disk out of harm's way. IN any event, we wound up icing the thing with 4.1 seconds left. Same five guys remain on the ice for us once again. And this time, we win and get a ten-skater scrum in the corner.

Stars of the game. #3: Zingoni (NOR), #2 Kane, and #1 Ross. SOG were Phantoms 29, Admirals 28.

Phantoms vs. Norfolk Admirals 3-15-09: Second Period

The Phantoms are on the attack early, but Helenius had an answer for the puck that came his way. The good news is, when we had the faceoff to his right on the second shift, we got the puck back to Bartulis, who blasted the puck into the net from the point. Assist goes to Matsumoto. NICE shot -- what a freakin' BOMB. SOG Phantoms 11, Ads 9, and the score is now 1-1.

Hebert is the referee, but to my surprise, he is letting a LOT go. Which generally does work for me... I would rather see some borderline things get let slide and have some flow to the game than have stoppages of play every four seconds for penalties. (See: today's Flyers game at Madison Square Garden. Ugh.)

Speaking of UGH, the Admirals just retook the lead 2-1 as Pete Zingoni, the former Phantom, deked Munroe to his knees in the crease, then went around him to shoot into the open net.

OMG, the Phantoms tied it at 2-2 almost immediately. Ross it from such an angle, while charging at the net full tilt with an Admiral hot on his heels, that I thought the puck was on the OUTSIDE of the twine when it hit the net. But fortunately for us, it was IN the net. The goal was unassisted and I suspect that both goaltenders would like to have a do-over on those last two shots. I think they both would have liked to cover the post better on those plays. In any event, SOG: Phantoms 12, Norfolk 11.

Here goes a Phantoms penalty. Raduns goes for hookng. Ross and Kane are out with Guenin and Syvret. Nice, Guenin -- his defensive work in the corner is keepng an Admiral from getting the puck to anyone who's in a scoring position. Oh, now this is interesting -- the faceoff is in the Norfolk zone. Matsumoto, Laliberte, Bartulis, and Kukkonen are out. We are trying to make some noise shorthanded, but at least we shaved some time off the clock.

Oh, bless my soul, did I say that Hebert wasn't calling anything? Silly me. Matsumoto goes into the box MOMENTS after Raduns exits. Back to the freaking PK we go. Kane, Ross, Guenin, Syvret. Nice clear.

And AGAIN. With 58 seconds left on our PK, we are about to go down on a two-man disadvantage. Guenin is being sent off. LMHO, the announcer said "Phantom penalty"... Which sounds a litle bit like it was a phantom penalty, rather than a penalty on the Phantom*S*.

Too bad Kane's freaking stick broke. He would have been able to have a shorthanded breakaway. Instead, he made a beeline to the bench to exchange places with Kalinski, while the puck sped into the Ads zone and a Norfolk player rushed back to retrieve it. At least it killed some time and we got a fresh forward onto the ice.

Here is Matsumoto... The first part of our two-man disadvantage is killed off. Nodl, Kalinski, Curry, and Bartulis are out. And Kalinski gets a shorthanded rush, and tries for the wraparound. It doesn't work, but it allowws Nodl to pick up the puck and nearly manage a shot on goal of his own. Hooray, now we are at even strength again. Ross would have been able to et his second tally of the game if the pass that was sent toward him was within his reach.

With 9:08 left in the period, SOG are Phantoms 16, Admirals 13. We got a few of those during the recent PK, and for that, I'm pleased. Though it would be nice for us to score shorthanded... We haven't done that in a while. We got a ton of shorties earlier in the season.

Wth 7:21 left in the period, we are going on the PECOOOO POWER PLAY. Matsumoto, Laliberte, Maroon, Kukkonen, and Syvret are out. But the Ads clear it all the way to the far boards. Back to the Norfolk end we go. Ross, Kane, Nodl, Ratchuk, and Curry are out. In the battle of the 26es, the Admirals' #26 stole the puck from Curry and went on the rush. Curry took a hooking infraction with ten seconds left in our PP. So we'll have a brief 4 on 4, then start killing a penalty of our own. Raduns, Kalinsk, Guenin, and Syvret are out. AFter them, Matsumoto, Laliberte, and the same two D. (It surprises me when we don't change all the guys during the second period, because we hve the long skate to the bench in this period.)

Bah. Humbug. We are embarking on 1:11 of a two-man disadvantage, as Guenin is getting called for hooking. SOG are Phantoms 17, Ads 15. Kane, Kukkonen, and Syvret are out. I think Syvret has been out for this entire PK so far. NICE clear. Heh heh heh, and at the stoppage of play, we get the Chicken Dance with its enhanced lyrical content provided by the crowd. ("Hey, Ref! You S*ck!") Section 214 is back to its old tricks, too, hollering "YOU S*CK, REF" every time he skates past. They normally do that for the duration of the penalty that they disagree with, but this time they're really letting him have it. We have been at even strength for a while and they're still giving him grief. Nice keep-in, Guenin, speaking of the guy whose penalty triggered the fans' ire.

Kane just punched Henley in the chin after the whstle (when Helenius froze the puck). Henley, who is about nine freaking feet tall, just gave him the Glare of Death and the teams faced off to the goalie's right. (OK, he's 6'6", but he's still the Jolly Green freakin' Giant.)

The second period is over. We're at even strength, miraculously, and the score is 2-2. SOG: Phantoms 19, Admirals 18.

Phantoms vs. Norfolk Admirals 3-15-09: First Period

I can see our injured announcer, Keith Jones (not the former Flyer, but the person who also does races at Philadelphia Park), in the press box talking to Mike Thornton. However, unfortunately, from the bits and pieces of info I've gleaned, his jaw is wired shut and Lou Nolan, the Flyers announcer, will have to take his duties over for the time being. The injury list that I saw was a broken jaw, 4 lost teeth, and 55 stitches. :( Having said that, Lou isn't in the announcer's box today. I don't know who it is, but I'm sure he'll introduce himself at some point.

Scratches: DeSantis, Klotz, Gratton, Bellamy.
Starting Lineup: Munroe, Guenin, Syvret, Laliberte, Matsumoto, Maroon.

Gratton's still out. He limped up the tunnel after the second period of our previous home game on Wednesday, and we haven't seen him in the lineup since. Rats -- whatever it is, I hope it doesn't sideline him for long. If we're going to make a push for that last playoff spot, we need to be a healthy team.

Regarding my post a few days ago expressing some surprise at seeing some Phantoms left off the Clear Day Roster: we had at least two of those guys in the lineup last night in Albany. Beaulieu and Sirianni are not on the CDR, and aside from players on the CDR being our prospective playoff roster, they are also intended to be the ones who are allowed to be in our lineup for the remainder of the regular season. So, seeing a couple of non-CDR players in the lineup puzzled me.

However, then I realized that other players are allowed to be added in case of injury or emergency. And we do have several guys on that CDR who are currently on the Flyers' roster. I guess that was how we allowed for some insurance to have guys like Powe and Parent in the Phantoms lineup if the Flyers send them down... But if they're not down, then maybe that means we're allowed to use some of our "emergency" players on our roster instead. In any event, I'm glad to see our guys who are on the roster playing, and not in the press box.

Ugh. We're down to single dgits in the ""Games Left" Countdown. :( 9 games remain in the Spectrum, including this one.

OK, now that the piece of glass in front of our goal judge has been replaced, we can get the game under way. Matsumoto and Maroon proceed to crash the net. Matsy pretty much took that one literally, nearly colliding with the goalie. Faceoff is in the Norfolk end. Ross, Kane, and Sirianni are out with Bartulis and Kukkonen.

Next up: Szwez, Kalinski, Nodl and Curry/Ratchuk. Then Beaulieu, Clackson, Raduns.

Four and a haf inutes into the period, the Phantoms have the only two shots on goal in the game. Munroe did sare one with his glove, but t was a puck that would have hit the side of the net and perhaps gone into a dagner zone if he hadn't caught it. But as it would have gone wide of the goalmouth, he doesn't get credit for a save.

Nice speed on Syvret's part, getting to a loose puck first instead of the Admiral who, if he'd have arrived first, would have had a clear shot on net from the slot.

With 12:44 remaining, the Phantoms now have the only FOUR shots on goal in the game. Ross's line is out and we are about to go on the PECOOOO POWER PLAY. Ross's ine is out with Kukkonen and Syvret, ane ARGH we just barely missed scoring. Kane was stationed at the crease and according to the fans at that end of the ice, he must have come this-close to augmenting his point total.

Scotty is baning his stick on the ice to signal the end of the PP. Ratchuk make a nice keep-in, but we didn't manage to get set back up for an even strength chance. The Admirals came out and threatened to set up a scoring chance before we could get the puck back down to Helenius's end.

Ha -- at somewhere between 10 minutes and 9:30 minutes left, a puck directed at our net by Norfolk was originally credited to them as a shot on goal. However, a few moments later, it was rescinded. I think the faint ping of puck brushing metal was enough to count it as a hit post instead of a shot. We, meanwhile, haven't given Helenius anything to do since that near-miss during the PP. SOG are currently 5-0, Phantoms, with 6:30 left in the period.

We have another PP coming up with 5:51 left in the period. NOW the Ads have a shot on goal.Ross, Kane, and Sirianni are out with Kukkonen and Syvret. Srianni took the faceoff... And we promptly give up a shorthanded break. Eek. OK, that won't do. There goes Norfolk's second shot on goal.

I'm glad that the people who actually have tickets for the row in front of me came in, late though they are, and claimed their seats. The two gents who moved down from wherever their seats were to that row must be HEAVY smokers, judging from the smoke scent clinging to their clothes. Don't know where they moved to, but it's not somewhere where I'm getting smoke-fested to death.

Riku Helenius is driviing me up the walls... He made a couple of ten-bell stops on the Phantoms just now to keep the game scoreless. Pain in the tail. ;) I see the Phantoms' penalty bendh opening with3:11 left. Kalinski is goingn off for interference SOG Phantoms 9, Admirals 3 and that was a nice clear. We have Ross, Kane, Syvret, and Guenin on the ice. Matsumoto and Laliberte are the next forward pair. NICE save by Munroe, who hangs on to freeze the puck and allow our D pair to change (Bartulis and Kukkonen). Also, Raduns came off the bench to replace Laliberte. Matsumoto remained on the ice. Wotj 21 secpmds ;eft om the {L. We are back to Ross, Kane, Guenin, Syvret. Aah, drat... With 1:17 left in the flipping period, the Admirals draw first blood with a PP goal. SOG are Phantoms 9, Norfolk 7, and at least four of those came during this past PP.

Zenon Konopka scored that goal. Doggone Phantoms killer. Seem to recall us having all sorts of fun dealing with him in our recent visit from Norfolk a few games ago.

There goes the end of the period. SOG are even at 9-9. The score is Norfolk 1, Phantoms 0.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Phantoms at Albany River Rats 3-14-09: an abbreviated First Period commentary

I'm not live-blogging this game because I won't be able to stay at home long enough to watch the entire game online. However, WOW holy cow what a first period! It's not even over yet and the Phantoms are up 5-2. We have 5 goals on 16 shots, and Albany changed goaltenders after the fifth goal was scored.

It looked like it was likely to be a long night, and not in a good way, when Albany scored against us early. However, we soon tied the game, then went ahead 2-1 on goals from Laliberte and Kalinski.

Albany tied the score at 2-2 on their first PP of the game. However, between 16:31 and 18:02, the Phantoms scored three quick, unanswered goals from Laliberte, Syvret, and Kalinski.

That outburst ended the night for Albany's goaltender Manzato, in favor of Justin Peters.

Jean-Sebastian Aubin is the Phantoms' goaltender. I was a little surprised, given that Munroe's record vs. Albany is outstanding. However, keeping both our goalies active and sharp is a good idea.

Go Phantoms!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Phantoms 2009 Clear Day Roster

The following is the Phantoms' Clear Day Roster for 2009. These are the players who are allowed to play for us during the rest of the regular season and in the playoffs.

Jean-Sebastien Aubin (G)
Scott Munroe (G)
Oskars Bartulis
Matt Clackson
Sean Curry
Jason DeSantis
Josh Gratton
Nate Guenin
Jonathon Kalinski
Boyd Kane
Lasse Kukkonen
David Laliberte
Patrick Maroon
Jonathan Matsumoto
Andreas Nodl
Ryan Parent
Darroll Powe
Nate Raduns
Michael Ratchuk
Jared Ross
Danny Syvret
Jeffrey Szwez

Powe? Parent? Does anyone expect to see either of them sent down? I would be very surprised if that happened.

No Beaulieu, no Bellamy, no Klotz, and to my surprise and disappointment, no Sirianni. I would have thought he's done more than well enough to play his way onto this roster.

On the other hand, that we have some work to do to move up in the standings, to make this anything other than an academic discussion. Let's hope that THAT happens, or the Phantoms' season will end in Hershey on April 11. :(
CLICK HERE to watch "The Final Countdown" video by Europe