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

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Phantoms vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 3-11-09: First Period

Scratches: DeSantis, Klotz, Bellamy
Starting Linepup: Munroe, Guenin, Syvret, Ross, Sirianni, Kane.

Miroslav Satan was sent down to Wilkes-Barre and is scratched for tonight. I wonder if he has reported or not? In any event, that's one less threat to the Phantoms in this game.

Say what you will about Petr Nedved's stint in Philly -- when he got sent down for cap space, as Pittsburgh did to Satan, Nedved showed up and played his way back to a big-league contract elsewhere.

Including tonight, we have 10 more games remaining in the Spectrum.

35 seconds into the game, we are on the PECOOOO POWER PLAY. Syvret/Kukkonen are the D, along with Matsumoto, Maroon, and Laliberte. We make Curry-the-goalie freeze the puck, and upon winning the faceoff we started a scramble in front of the net. Laliberte cashed in a rebound, assisted by Maroon and Matsumoto. :) So we have gotten our game off to a great start!

Or maybe not. We give up a goal on the first shift following the PP goal. :( 1-1. Drat and double drat.

Next D pair: Bartulis/Kukkonen. Next lne combo: Matsumoto/Laliberte/Maroon.

We promptly dodged one bullet, a puck that went across the goal line behind Munroe, only to be shot by the bullet that folowed when Bissonette cashed the puck in after it came out on Munroe's other side. 2-1 Evil Flightless Waterfowl.

Next line combo: Szwez, Clackson, Beaulieu. Then Raduns, Gratton, Kalinski. Next D pair, Curry-the-Dman, Ratchuk.

OK, as much as I love Muny, he needs to sit tonight. He just gave up another goal. The Pens ony have four shots on goal, and they have three goals. Here comes Aubin. We are 5:39 into the game and we're already down 3-1. Goodness only knows what the matter is, but here's to seeing him straighten it out and come back solid in his next outing.

So ANYway... Other than the fact that we keep having to face off at center ice, there has been a lot of back-and-forth action in this game. It doesn't really float my boat to see us get into a skating game, since the team really isn't constructed for river hockey (Ross's line on the ice notwithstanding -- Ross won the Fastest Skater competition in the AHL All-Star Skills Competition). But I suppose it beats being hemmed into our own zone for minutes on end.

With 11:17 left, Gratton goes off for slashing, and we are on the PK. Kane/Ross and Guenin/Syvret are out. James from the Pens decided to try a cutesy behind-the-back pass in the slot, but the Phantoms took it and cleared it. I don't appreciate the disrespect of acting like he can just do anything he likes in our zone, regardless of what it says on the scoreboard. Maybe the next time he gets the puck, Guenin or Clackson can give him a nice open-ice check.

Next up on the PK: Kukkonen/Syvret, Matsumoto/Laliberte. We have a Penguin heading to the box with 21 seconds remaining on our PK. So not only do we get 4 on 4 play, we get an offensive zone draw to help shave some time off our penalty. Unfortunaely, we don't win the faceoff so play heads back to our zone. However, as soon as Gratton exits the box, another Penguin gets called for tripping, so we have 5 on 3 for 1:33.

Matsumoto, Laliberte, and Maroon are out with Syvret and... Ross. Four forwards. Paddock is dead set on closing that two goal gap. I havent' seen Ross on the point for a long time, though he was there with regularith last season for PPs. Shucks, Curry-the-goalie made two great stops in a row. We are about to go to 5 on 4 now. Ratchuk/Curry-the-Dman are now out with Kalinski, Kane, and Sirianni. There goes the other penalty, we are at even strength.

With 5:50 left in the period, SOG are even at 9 each.

Kane goes for slashing with 4:38 left. Kalinski, Raduns, Kukkonen, and Bartulis are out. Nice clear. But here come the Pens back again, of course. We dodge a bullet again as another shot creeps across the crease behind Aubin; however, THIS time Raduns slams his stick down to prevent the Penguin at the post from firing the puck home.

Unfortunately, a little later on the same PP, we don't fare as well. The Evil Flightless Waterfowl score again to make the score 4-1. That's Minard's 30th goal of the year... Pittsburgh needs to call this guy up and keep him up. Yeah, that's the ticket. Keep him with Pittsburgh. ;)

At the end of the first period, the score is Penguins 4, Phantoms 1, and the SOG are Penguins 14, Phantoms 9.

Come out angry in the second period, guys. We need you to follow Fred Shero's credo: take the shortest route to the puck, and arrive in ill humor.

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