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

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

AHL Board of Governors approves sale and relocation of Phantoms

Not that this should come as a surprise, but the AHL Board of Governors has voted to allow the sale of the Phantoms franchise. They have also approved the team's transfer to Glens Falls, NY.

AHL hockey team moving to Glens Falls

AHL hockey team moving to Glens Falls

By PETE DOUGHERTY, Staff writer

After a 10-year absences, the city of Glens Falls once again has an American Hockey League franchise.

The league's board of governors, meeting today in Chicago, approved the transfer of ownership of the Philadelphia Phantoms to a newly formed entity known as Phantoms Hockey LLC, owned by the Brooks Group.

In addition, the new owners were given approval to move the franchise from Philadelphia to Glens Falls, beginning with the 2009-10 season.

The move is seen as a boost to the Albany River Rats, who supported the city's efforts to gain a franchise since the Adirondack Red Wings departed after the 1998-99 season.

The Rats' average attendance has fallen 26 percent in the past decade, and Albany team officials attribute much of that to the lack of a geographic rival.

The AHL also approved the relocation of the Quad Cities franchise to Abbotsford, British Columbia, and the addition of a franchise in Austin, Texas.

The Phantoms were looking to move because their Philadelphia home, the Wachovia Spectrum, is being demolished to make room for an entertainment development.

"On behalf of our board, it's my privilege to welcome these three cities to the AHL family," AHL president Dave Andrews said in a statement. "We are looking forward to these new opportunities in Austin and Abbotsford, and we're excited to be returning to the rich AHL tradition and history in Glens Falls."

Monday, April 27, 2009

Last Spectrum Ice melts away :(

SIIIIIGH... I profoundly regret having to be the bearer of these sad tidings.

Global Spectrum’s Chris Jennings uses the zamboni to remove the last ice ever at the Spectrum. After 42 years, the former home of the Philadelphia Flyers (1967-96) and Philadelphia Phantoms (1996-2009) will close at the end of 2009 to make way for Philly Live, a retail, restaurant and entertainment district.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Phantoms at Hershey Bears, Game 4, East Division Semifinals, 4-24-09: Third Period

OK, Boys, it's all or nothing! Come out playing for BLOOD! I mean it!

HAHAHA, they were showing some Bears fan waving a faux broom with a cardboard tube for a handle. The cardboard tube broke and the broom wilted away. Here's to seeing Hershey's attempt to sweep the Phantoms be broken just as utterly.

The Bears start off by buzzing in our zone, including the first "pinball off the back boards" attempt that I've specifically noticed in this game. We had some congestion around the net and Aubin was in position to prevent trouble.

Hershey has iced the puck a couple times so far. We get a little something-something going in the Bears end, and though they clear it, we get it back and start Buzzing: The Sequel. Ah, there we go, we draw a penalty and go on the PP. Matsumoto's line is with Syvret and Kukkonen. Maroon stations himself at the net for rebounds. Bears block a shot. Two Bears and two Phantoms battle in the corner and we get the disk back. But the Bears clear it.

Curry and Ratchuk with JVR and I can't see who the other two forwards are. The penalty ends, and the Bears get called for icing even though technically they were still shorthanded when the puck was cleared. Kane, Kalinski, and Szwez are out. Kalinski brings it in and Neuvirth freezes it.

Raduns, Kempe, and Clackson are out with Curry and Ratchuk. Ratchuk and Pinnizotto, he who caused a ten-skater scrum by taking a slapshot into an empty Phantoms net, battle all the way up the boards into our zone for the puck.

Kempe is getting sent off for hooking, when his stick never touched the freaking Bear on the replay. Expletive Omitted. Strings of Expletives Omitted, actually. Kane/Kalinski are out with Kukkonen and Bartulis. Kalinski rushes up and gets a shorthanded shot on goal. Syvret blocks a shot back in our end. There goes the Zebra's arm up once again. Kempe's penalty ends, so Guenin goes into the box to replace him. Too bad the dive on Perrault wasn't called. It must be nice.

Good freeze by Aubin. Next shift, Hershey gets a shot through a screen but the post helps us out on that one. Kane prevents The Wrong Giroux from getting a shot off. HOLY COW at least three consecutive saves by Aubin. He is busting his rump keeping us in this game. We absolutely HAVE to reward him with some activity at the other end. Period. End of sentence.

Nodl, Sirianni, and JVR are out with Bartulis and Kukkonen. AAH Scramble in front of Neuvirth and he had to get very creative to avoid giving up a rebound to Nodl. Tbat was the most dangerous play we have had all game, really. Six minutes and change remain in the period.

Matsumoto's line is out and we are starting to buzz somewhat in the Bears end again. Kalinski/Nodl/Szwez with Cury/Ratchuk. Out they go to the Phabtoms end. Five minutes and change left in the frame. Back to the Hershey end and we try to get into position. So far the SOG in this period are Phanbtoms 7, Bears 4. AAH Laliberte blasts one on goal. Neuvirth stops it and we get a faceoff.

Nice hip check to eliminate Mink at the Phantoms half-boards. AUBIN nice work to keep us within one. Now we are getting a lot of end-to-end play. Kempe is out with Sirianni and JVR.

Holy moley, a late penalty vs. Hershey after Aucoin trips Maroon. Hershey tries to kill time by not touching the puck. Eventually we get it, even tho9ugh we go offside. Sirianni, Syvret, Kukkonen, Kane, JVR are out. Aubin is actually pulled for a 6 on 4 with under 2 minutes left in the period. Timeout, Phantoms.

One minute left: we have Matsumoto, Laliberte, Maroon, JVR, Syvret, and Kukkonen out. DAGNAB IT Laliberte actually fell on top of the freaking puck which was loose in the crease. ARGH ARGH ARGH. 50.5 seconds left in the period. Faceoff. JVR is the extra forw1ard with Matsumoto's line, apparemtnly. Syvret is one of the D LONG pass to Maroon from our end. Hershey gets called for a hand pass. Ten seconds left in the PP, 24 left in the period.; Faceoff in the Bears end. Same guys on the ice. Hershey clears it to the far end Syvret retrieves it. 32 seconds left. Long pass. Hershey clears again.

Game over and series over.

And there's the end of the Phantoms' 13-year stint in Philadelphia.

Handshake line forthcoming.

Aubin had BETTER BE one of the game's stars. We shall see.

It's astounding that the Phantoms went 0-for-21 on the PP, but as our announcer is pointing out, the absence of Jared Ross from our lineup surely made a difference there.

Yes, Aubin is, in fact, the second star. Mink (goal-scorer) was the third star, and Neuvirth (shutout) was the first star.

Hershey will face the Penguins in the next round. I will most definitely root for the Bears over the Penguins.

I will keep updating this blog with info about where the Phantoms' franchise will be playing nezt season. However, when the new season begins, I will start a separate blog for the reincarnated version of the Flyers' farm team.

This blog is for the Phantoms, which have accounted for my absolute favorite pastime for the past 13 years. Because of my time supporting this team, I will never be the same.

With them consigned to history, nothing will ever be the same. It is NOT an adjustment I look forward to making in the least.

Phantoms at Hershey Bears, Game 4, East Division Semifinals, 4-24-09: Second Period

LOL. We actually had four PKs in the first period, not three. Being |shorthanded for nearly half the period is part of the reason for the disparity in the shot count.

Interesting stat: Sirianni has two of our four shots, with Kempe and Guenin accounting for the other two.

OK, guys, we are at even strength, time to get out of our zone... oh, wait. Did I say we were at even strength? Silly me. There goes a whistle and another penalty against the Phantoms. Matsumoto goes.

Mink scores for Hershey. So the score is Ciamaga 1, Phantoms 0.

GREAT SAVE, AUBIN, and about ten seconds later, what do you know? Another freaking whistle. At this rate, we will get called with too many men on the ice when we have five guys out there. CHEESE AND RICE with these penalties.

AAAH, shorthanded breakaway by Mastumto, GO GO GO aaack HAULED DOWN and we are getting a Penalty Shot! GO MATSY, GO MATSY! Nuts, Neuvirth made the save.

Nice blocked shot by a Phantom, but I can't see who it was. I think Guenin was on the ice, though, so it wouldn't surprise me if he was the one.

We are (whispering) even strength (/whispering) and Aubin just made a fantastic stop on a point-blank deflection. ANOTHER great save on the following shift. NICE job!

Now it's Hershey's turn to go shorthanded for a spell, as Amadio heads off. Kukkkonen and Syvret are out with what I believe is the Matsumoto line... here comes a long 5-on-3 advantage for the Phantoms, as Hershey just got a tripping call. Samd guys out, and yes, that's the Matsumoto line. We are cycling but mixing in some good shots and shot attempts on goal. BLAH, the net goes off its moorings and Neuvirth has been doing acrobatics to keep the net puck-free. Now Ratchuk and Curry are out with Kane, Sirianni, and someone I can't see as the first penalty ends. Not overly long after that, the second penalty ended as well. The Phantoms have yet to score on the PP in this series, which is a pity as our special teams were absolutely great toward the end of the regular season.

Gee, how astounding. A penalty on the Phantoms. Who'd've thought it? Maroon goes. AUBIN, YAY, consecutive point-blank stops, NICE JOB! Maroon is out but we are having fits trying to clear the flipping puck. NICE save again by Aubin. Finally we get the heck out of our freaking zone. Eventually there is a stoppage in play as the Bears have a hand pass.

Per our announcer, we have not ad a shot since our two-man advantage, about eight minutes ago. Now it looks like we are giving Neuvirth something to do, however. Boy, we have been at (whispering) 5-on-5 (/whispering) for a while now. SOG are now Hershey 21, Phantoms 12.

Drat, I can't even whisper about being at even strength. There goes Sirianni to the sin bin after hitting a Bear who stopped a bit too far short of the boards to be safe. Boarding is the call. The Bears have their 8th man advantage. Guenin/Syvret iwth Matsumoto/Laliberte. Matsumoto clears and the Phantoms change, Kalinski/Kane with Bartulis/Kukkonen. We clear again, and the Bears go offside carrying it back in. NICE "Statue of Liberty" save by Aubin through a whole lot of traffic. :D

53.7 seconds left in the period; the Phantoms ice the puck and we have the faceoff in our end. We get out, but the Bears come back on a 2-on-1; Aubin makes the stop.

Nice pick-off by Maroon. The Bears net gets pushed well askew, but Ciamaga chose to let the play continue until the time ran out. We SHOULD have had an offensive-zon draw, instead we got bupkis.

At the end of the period, the Bears lead 1-0. SOG: Bears 25, Phantoms 13. (The *EIGHT* Hershey PPs have something to do with the skewed stats.)

Time for the Phantoms to regroup and come out borderline homicidal in the third period. Lose the game, lose the series and lose the team, so it's now or never for a comeback. GO PHANTOMS!

Phantoms at Hershey Bears, Game 4, East Division Semifinals, 4-24-09: First Period

I had a few connectivity issues tuning into the cybercast. I got online just in time to hear that both teams have had one powerplay. Hershey has had two SOG and the Phantoms have had none, and there is no score yet. We are about seven minutes into the game.

BOMBSHELL: J-S Aubin started in goal in place of Scott Munroe, and I have no idea why. Stay on your feet as long as possible, JS; be patient, make the shooter commit first, and make yourself big in net.

Former Phantom Triston Grant's team, the Milwaukee Admirals, have swept their first-round opponent. I'm glad for him. I don't particularly follow Western teams this year, but since T-Bird's on the MilAds, I would like to see them have a long run.

JVR is going off for hooking. It'll be Hershey's second PP of the game, and we have 9:59 left in the period. Both teams have three shots on goal.

I just checked the box score. Munroe is the backup tonight, so I'm not thinking he's injured. (If he is, it's not bad enough to keep him from dressing for the game.) I'm not sure what the rationale is behind having a goalie change at this point in the series, but here we are.

7:40 left in the frame; we gave up three shots on the PP. Here we go with another penalty vs. the Phantoms. Time to glance over at the box score and see who our whistle-happy ref is. Ciamaga. Aaah... never mind. No comment. Let's leave it at that.

I realize that I grew up watching standup goaltending, so seeing a netminder leave his feet still strikes me as something my childhood idols would have avoided whenever possible. In the past, oh, decade and a half, I have seen lots of butterfly goaltending, and therefore the sight of a goalie in a split is not foreign to my eyes anymore. HOWEVER... Munroe and Aubin have a very different style when it comes to how they respond to an incoming puck, or even a potentially incoming disk. Aubin tends to drop into the split more readily, and I'm not as accustomed to seeing that because Munroe had a lot of the home games down the stretch during the season. Seeing JS drop into the split, sometimes before the puck has actually been shot, is giving me anxiety.

OK, Ciamaga, you ignored the hook Osala had against Clackson, and moments later you call a borderline infraction against Clackson? For making some CONTACT behind the NET? GRRRRR... Onto the PK we go, once again.

In the past six and a half minutes, the Bears have had seven shots on goal. We haven't had any in that time. Here we go on the farging PK again. Matsumoto/Laliberte with Syvret and most likely Guenin (he's not on screen). NICE stop by Aubin!

50 seconds left in the PK, Hershey is outshooting the Phantoms 11-3. Nice clear, Bartulis. Kalinski/Kane are the forward pair, and Kane cleared the puck as soon as the Bears brought it back in.

We're at even strength again, with very little time left in the period. JVR, Sirianni, and Nodl are out together with Bartulis and presumably Kukkonen. Finally, we get a shot on goal. Neuvirth hangs on for the faceoff.

Maroon, Matsumoto, Laliberte, Syvret, and Guenin are out. We buzz a bit around the Bears net, but the horn sounds to end the period. Hershey outshot the Phantoms 11-4. It appears that we will be at even strength to start the second period. (There was some extracurricular grouchiness after the horn, so we'll see if anyone is in the sin bin for either team when the wecond frame begins.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Phantoms at Hershey Bears, Game 3, Round 1, East Division Semi-Finals: recap and box score

The Phantoms have gotten into a bit of a hole, as of the end of this game.

I got home from class and tuned in JUST in time to hear the Phantoms' tying goal disallowed, and a penalty assessed to Nate Raduns, in the final few minutes of the third period.

I am unhappy to report that the Phantoms lost the cotest 3-2, and currently trail the Hershey Bears 3 games to 0 in this series.

CLICK HERE for the game recap from the Phantoms site.

CLICK HERE for the box score from the AHL's site.

As they say, the fourth game is the hardest one for a team to win. Here's to seeing the Phantoms take tonight's game in Hershey. Then, not only will we stay alive in the series, but it will allow the Phantoms fans who can't get to Hershey tonight, but CAN be there on Saturday night, to attend Game 5.

Tomorrow, the extra inspiration to win could come from the desire to play in the Spectrum at least once more; on Sunday, it'll be that we want to take the series and advance to the next round. But all in due time. First, the Phantoms need to focus on going Bear Hunting with the heavy artillery in tonight's game. Series are played, and ultimately won, ONE game at a time. So the best bet is to concentrate on the task at hand: the current game, the current period, and even the current shift.


Phantoms' new owners ink a lease with Glens Falls

We interrupt this playoff coverage to report something semi-concrete about the future of the Phantoms franchise.

Glens Falls Lands AHL Team

The salient points:

- If Glens Falls has 2500 subscriptions by the end of this month, they are guaranteed to have the franchise

- They have less than half that number of subscriptions as of tonight

- The contract includes an "out" clause for the Brooks Group to back out if the number of subscribers falls short

Hence, I say "semi-concrete". Heck, the AHL's Board of Governors has yet to finalize their approval of the sale of the team, and as Brooks Group owns part of the Penguins franchise, that could translate into a conflict of interest. In that case, the league could vote down the sale.

Anyway... here is the actual article.

Glens Falls Lands AHL Team

Comments 0 | Recommend 5

3-Year Lease Has Ticket Stipulation

GLENS FALLS -- For the first time since the Adirondack Red Wings left town in 1999, the city of Glens Falls is back in the American Hockey League. The Philadelphia Phantoms signed a three year lease Wednesday evening to move their AHL franchise to the Glens Falls Civic Center. But the fine print on the contract says that if 2,500 season tickets are not sold by Tuesday, then the Phantoms can back out of the deal.

As of Wednesday night, the GFCC wasn't quite halfway to that lofty threshold. But the number of tickets sold seems to be quite pliable, "If we get 25-hundred we're guaranteed to bring the team (to Glens Falls). If we get a little under that we'll make a decision whether we do it this year or not", says Phantoms owner Rob Brooks. He also added that there is still a chance the franchise would be dormant this coming season.

Senator Chuck Schumer, who has been an advocate of the move for months, says, "This is great news, not only for the Glens Falls area where it will be an economic boost to the city, but to a great hockey rivalry that will occur along the Hudson River between the River Rats and the new Glens Falls team".

During its heyday in the 1990's, the Glens Falls-Albany AHL rivalry regularly played to large crowds, both at the Civic Center and at the then named Knickerbocker Arena. Since the Red Wings left town a decade ago the River Rats have badly missed their "Northway Rival" in terms of ticket sales.

Glens Falls was home to the Adirondack Red Wings from 1979 until 1999, during which time the franchise won four Calder Cups and typically enjoyed tremendous community support.

The Phantoms need a new home since their facility in Philadelphia, The Spectrum, is destined for the wrecking ball. There's no word yet whether the franchise would keep the name Phantoms, or come up with a new nickname.

Phantoms at Hershey Bears, Game 3, East Division Semi-Final, 4-22-09

I have an Italian class tonight, so I am not going to be able to listen to/watch the game online until after the fact. (If I get home in time, I might catch the end of the game.)

However, here is a Playoffs Update recapping the first two games, and analyzing some key stats, from the Phantoms' site.

I hope to be posting about good news after this game. I know our guys can do it. LET'S GO, PHANTOMS! GO BEAR HUNTING!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Phantoms vs. Hershey Bears, Game 2 East Division Semi-Finals, 4-18-09

Forward groupings during the pregame skate are Matsumoto's/Laliberte/Maroon, Kane/JVR/Sirianni, Nodl/Kalinski/Szwez, Raduns/Clackson... Kempe? Shoot, everyone started skating at once. I guess we'll see who's in the lineup at the start of the game. Both Kempe and Gratton are on the ice, but in the previous game, only Gratton played. Pregame D pairs are the usual duos: Syvret/Guenin, Bartulis/Kukkonen, Curry/Ratchuk.;

It's legal to send out an extra player or so during warmups, so our team's not doing anything out of the ordinary by having an extra forward on the ice.

Ryan Fraser will be the ref for tonight. Hooray – I honestly think he's as good as it gets in this league. As long as he doesn't have a flareup of Whistle-Itis, the "call it it faintly resembles an infraction if you're watching it via a funhouse mirror", the PLAYERS will be the ones deciding this contest. That's what I want to see: the teams, not the zebras, being the primary determinants of the outcome of this game.

Holy cow, someone's in the stands with a referee's jersey on. That's uncommon. We used to have someone in my section with a ref's jersey and "BLIND 1" on the back,- but the man and his wife shifted to a suite last season. I originally thought it was the same guy, until I took a second look via the camera zoom. This is someone else. My husband went around to the opposite side of the rink to see what, if anything, this jersey says on the back.

Scratches: Duchesne, Lehtivuori, Sloane, DeSantis, RADUNS (Surprise! And drat!), Klotz, Beaulieu, Bellamy.

Starting Lineup: Munroe, Guenin, Syvret, Matsumoto, Laliberte, Maroon

Well, THAT was unexpected... Nate Raduns was definitely not someone I expected to sit out this contest. If he's banged up, I hope it's nothing serious. He did warm up, which I hope means there's nothing major amiss.

SCOOOOOORE!!! First shot of the game, and Kane buries it! Assists from Kalinski and Szwez.;

About a half-minute later, we get our first PECOOOO POWER PLAY,, with the Matsumoto line and Syvret/Kukkonen.

The fans have not stopped chanting since the game started, with lots of "Let's Go, Phantoms!" mixed in with some old-time "Hershey S*cks!" thrown in for good measure.

BTW, on the first shift of the game, a Bear skated over a Phantom's stickblade. Unlike the ref on Thursday, THIS official knows the difference between a trip and a misstep, so there was no call.

'How tall is Aucoin, anyway? MAN. I didn't realize that he was quite so Vertically Challenged. ;) (Hey, I'm Stature-Impaired myself, so this is just an observation rather than an insult.)

I'm seeing Clackson/Gratton/Sirianni out there at the moment. OMG, a Bear got loose in front and fanned on a shot. Its trajectory would possibly have taken the puck to Munroe anyway, but he had no difficulty sweeping the half-speed puck out of harm's way.

UGH Kukkonen got nailed y a shot. I mean NAILED, as in came up very lame and made his way back to the bench. Tellingly, he stopped at the bench itself instead of heading up the tunnel. But there was no mistaking the fact that he was hurtin' for certain... ouch.

The good news is, while I was looking at Kukkonen on the bench, to see if he was just stung or damage had been done, the Phantoms scored on our THIRD shot on goal!W YEAH! Way to come out firing on all cylinders! SOG are 3-1, Phantoms, and the score is 2-0... and we are less than 8 minutes into the period.

Kukkonen just tested that leg with a circle on the ice during a stoppage in play. He's staying on the bench, so apparently he plans to gut it out.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention: the goal was Maroon from Matsumoto/Laliberte. :)

Aaaah,l with 11:11 left, we get to put our PK skills on display. Kukkonen is called for... boarding? Sign.

Kalinski./Kane are out with Guenin/Syvret.

OH MY GOSH the save!!!! A Bear was about to try the same play that burned us several times on Thursday[, the sweep-in after the goalie was down from making a stop. But somehow, Munroe kept it out. Followed by some apparent attempts to dig a puck out from under the goalie, which caused an instant war in the creas e between Phantoms and Bears skaters.,

Ha, Nasty Nate Guenin just STEAMROLLED a guy behind the net. That's one way to keep them from pinballing the puck off the back boards.

Ah, nuts, we couldn't clear the puck for about an eon, and it eventually cost us. Just after the penalty ended, the Bears cut their deficit to one goal. 2-1 Phantoms. SOG are Phantoms 43, Hershey 5. (Prior to the PK, Hershey had 2 shots.)

Nice hit, Sirianni, behind the Hershey net.; We seem to still have our steam, even if the fans are less loud than before.

Nice shift so far... with about six minutes to go in the frame, both Laliberte and Maroon got a takeaway and we managed to make our way to Hershey's end for a spell. About a minute later, after some activity down here, we headed back to the Bears' and and this time we earned ourselves a PECOOOO POWER PLAY. Cash it in, guys! Matsumoto's line is out with Syvret and Kukkonen.

Somehow we let a shorthanded rush happen, and Kukkonen looked fine skating both forward and backward, so I hope that means that h was just stung on that shot-block.

Aack. Offside on our way back to the Hershey end. DANG we have to do a better job of avoiding that. It's really robed us of some nice attack opportunities in the past few games.

OHHH Laliberte came so close to potting a rebound. Dang. Nice save. The PP is over now and the SOT are even at 6-6 with just under two minutes left in the period.

At the end of the first period, the Phantoms lead 2-1, and the shots on goal are Phantoms 7, Bears 8.
- - - -
Hee hee, gotta love playoff mind games! Gratton came out and, prior to the second period, skated a biiiiiig circle in the vicinity of the Phantoms bench. Except that, as the Bears are defending this half of the ice in this period, he basically did his giant slow circle and touch-the-toes stretch in the Bears' defensive zone. :D Heh heh heh.

We promptly spent most of the first two minutes in front of Neuvirth, so score one for psychological;l warfare. During that span , Matsumoto had a NICE tip early that nearly went in, followed by a nice rush from JVR that went just wide.

Guenin is going off fr interference –he was framed, I tell you! – so we are on the PK.; First up, Kalinski/Kane with Syvret/Kukkonen. Though Hershey looked like they were getting some chances, in reality they didn't register a PP shot until 59 seconds into this man advantage.

Curry just buried a guy in the far-end, bench-side corner I can't see from my seat, to great cheering.

Matsumoto/Laliberte broke out for a SH 2-on-2, but Matsumoto's shot found a Bear's skates. Drat. But now the PK is over, so we did accomplish that. OOD.

The fans are in Chant Mode again. Oh, and he Bears' #13 wanted to fight with our Kane, after Kane hit him, but the linesman intervened immediately. No penalties were called on either side. But the next shift saw Amadio, who had dropped the gloves in here several times this season, on the ice for Hershey.

Kukkonen got dropped by a Bear and was on the ice covering his face. Fraser's arm was up for a delayed penalty. Once pl ay got stopped, it took Kukkonen a few more moments to get up, at which point he went after the Bear that injured him. The end result: Kukkonen gets two for roughing, and The Wrong Giroux gets two for hooking and two for roughing. Kukkonen went up the tunnel for repairs, along with the trainer, and we get a PECOOOO POWSER PLAY.

Matsumoto's line is out with Curry and Syvret,m our original PP D pair early in the season.

Again, the difference between a good ref and an inferior one: a Phantom trying to stop a Bear's breakaway fell. The Bear fell over him. No call. Thursday's zebra would have thought that was a trip instead of a player falling over another player.

Gratton goes for hooking with 8:59 left. NICE SAVE!!! as we embark on the PK. Kalinski/Kane appears to be h primary PK pair of forwards while Ross is called up.

I want a solid penalty kill, hopefully with enough clears to prevent the mishap we had in the first period.

Here come Matsumoto and Laliberte. Our D remain as Guenin and Syvret. Syvret, Matsumoto, and Laliberte break out with a 3 on 3, with Syvret=2 0rushing the puck. We don't get a shot, but we get seconds off the clock.

Now we get a wholesale change, with Bartulis and Kukkonen on D, and Kane/Kalinski. They clear it all the way to the back boards. Then they do it again for good measure. At the end of the PK, we get JVR out with Kane. Gratton joins the play and tries to skate right through a Bears dman. That, unfortunately, doesn't work and we turn it over. Nodl and Sirianni come out to join JVR and we rush the puck. Boy, Ratchuk has some nice wheels. We had a Bear trying to escape from his end with the puck, and Nodl lost him. Ratchuk, who had shifted away from the point and toward the center, came speeding back to catch up with the guy in our half of the neutral zone.

The shot attempt and scoring attempt sequence that Hershey followed with led to Munroe getting up after the whistle blew and going after someone. A multi-skater convention ensued. No penalties were assessed.

Sloan of the Bears hit Maroon so hard, behind the Hershey net, that Maroon's helmet went sailing nearly to the faceoff dot. Maroon got up breathing flames and went after him. Another conference convened. This time, Maroon got the extra two for slashing in with the two minutes each guy received for=2 0roughing, so onto the PK we go.

Crumbs. The Bears tie the score with 5:02 left. Next time we have to remember to just beat the crud out of the guy and not slash.

Whoa, I'm not sure what transpired in sections 24/2, but a Bears fan is ge2tting escorted out while the Phantoms Phaithful stand and applaud.
Matsumoto and Laliberte are out with Nodl. Maroon remains in the sin bin for his roughing minor.

JVR, Sirianni, and Kemoe are the next forward group out.

With 3:10 left, another scrum ensued next to the Phantoms net. Jay Beagle goes for roughing, so we get the PECOOOO POWER PLAY.

OH, the chance Szwez had late in the period! OMG! He got driven wide by a Bears defender, but not before carrying it all he way in and lining up for a point-blank shot. Then the Bear railroaded him off to the side. The Phantoms were in the midst of a mad scramble in front of Neuvirth when the horn sounded to end the frame. Amadio took a slash at the stick of the Phantom in front of the net.20But somehow GUENIN gets two for slashing. WTH? :banghead:

The score at the end of the second period is Phantoms 2, Hershey 2. SOG are Phantoms 19, Bears 23. The Phantoms will have a 2:00 PK at the beginning of the third period.
- - - -
HA HA!!! The penalty is actually on Amadio, so we get a PECOOOO POWER PLAY and not a penalty kill to start the period! HA!

The main difference between this starting lineup and our regular one is that Kukkonen is on the D pair with Syvret. Unfortunately, as we started the period at center ice instead of an offensive zone draw, it took us a little while to actually get into the Bears' end. And in the first half of the penalty, the Bears kept clearing the puck. Finally, with 17 seconds left in the PP, Kukkonen goes to the sin bin. So after a brief 4-on-4, the Bears went on a PP and The Wrong Giroux scored on a screened shot. 3-2, Evil Bears with ab out 17 minutes left in the frame.

LOL... the Chicken Dance, with its additional lyrics of "Hey Ref, You S*ck! , go played during the stoppage in play.

SON OF A... um, GUN! How did that puck stay out of Hershey's net?! SHOOT. The entire place was screaming, as the puck was rolling behind Neuvirth toward the open net, and then when the scramble in front cleared, play was coming back the other way. SWEAR WORDS!!! That should have tied the freaking game. Hershey dodged a cannonball with that play.

JVR, Kempe, and Kalinski go on the attack, earning us an offensive-zone faceoff when Neuvirth freezes the puck. With 11:30 left, the SOG are Phantoms 23, Bears 25.

NICE. Kalinski steals the puck in the slot in front of our net. The Bear was winding up for a slapshot, and Kalinski came in and swiped the puck,

Both teams are playing for blood now. The Bears want to get insurance goals, and the Phantoms want to tie it. NOBODY is letting up.

8:02 left in the period. SOG Phantoms 25 (been a few minutes since Neuvirth stopped one), Bears 28.

We have some line shuffling going on, as JVR is out with=2 0Nodl and Sirianni. And BLAST. Freaking Hershey blasts one in with 6:08 left in the period. 4-2 Evil Bears.

Kalinski, Kane, Szwez is another grouping that has been changed since the start of the game. Matsumoto, Laliberte, and Maroon are a regular unit. NUTS we nearly got one in, but a Bears defender in the crease snared the puck first. And I suspect we won't see a lot of the fourth line in the last few minutes of this game, as we seem to be rotating our scoring lines.

2:58 left. SG Phantoms 27, Bears 31. I would have liked to see more than 27 for the amount of time we were in their end, but then again it only takes a moment to bury a puck. So LET'S DO IT.

Just about two minutes left, and I am wondering when we will see Munroe go... there. 1:55 left and our extra skater is JVR. Empty net goal with 1:41 left, and a giant fight ensues in the corner as the Bear took a slapshot instead of just shooting the puck. Inti the unguarded goal All eleven skaters had at each other.

By the time everyone got pried apart, there was a Bear in the box and I am still waiting to see which Phantom will go. Maroon is the guy. The goal-scorer and Patrick Maroon both went off for unsportsmanlike conduct, and we are at 4 on 4 for the remainder of the period. Matsumoto, Laliberte, Guenin (who buried Beagle at our half-boards) and Syvret are out. Last minute of play in the period... and Fraser's arm is up. Guenin goes with 50.6 seconds left in the period. They say it's elbowing, so we're at 4-on-3.

But not for long. Hershey puts in a PP goal to make it 6-2. |

There may be a bit of extracurricularity at the Hershey end at the final horn, but it cleared up relatively soon.

SOG at the end, Phantoms 27. Bears 33. Boyd Kane was the second star.

It didn't really hit me until Phlex stood in the tunnel with the "Thanks for the Memories" sign, but this could have been the final pro hockey game in the Spectrum. We will have to win at least two in Hershey in order to bring it back to the Spectrum for a Game 6. But after this series, even if we advance, chances are we'll be at the Center. So the Spectrum's stint as a pro hockey arena might have come to an end with this game.

After con ferring with Mike Thornton on the bench, Phlex did not come out with the sign. He did skate around the rink and salute the fans, though.

And I didn't want to leave. I got to shake hands with Keith Jones as he was going up the Phantoms tunnel.

When I saw some longtime season ticketholders whom I know, including grown men who were stone-cold sober, having a bout of grief on the concourse, it REALLY hit me that we might be bidding our home goodbye. And that at the end of this season, we'll be bidding goodbye to our team as well. I knew these things, of course, and I've posted about them already. But the denial is continuing to wear off and as it goes, sadness comes in to take its place.

So pardon me if I do a substandard job of proofreading. I kind of have something in my eye right about now.

Phantoms vs. Hershey Bears, Game 2, East Division Semi-Finals, 4-18-09, Pregame Musings

Side note -- boy, did it age me this morning when I saw the blurb in today's [I]Daily News[/I] about John Steven's son John turning 15.

15? Say what? Has THAT much time passed since 1996, when the Phantoms' first captain came here with his wife and two little boys? Eeee. It ages me. ;)

Anyway, tonight's game is at 7 PM in The Spectrum. There are two different scenarios, one happy and one not-so-happy, by which this actually COULD be the final hockey game in the Spectrum, so come on down!

The Phantoms actually don't have home ice advantage in this series. We got Games 1 and 2, rather than the traditional 3 and 4, because Disney on Ice is at the GIANT Center. So after tonight, we won't have a home game in this series until the proverbial "Game 6 If Necessary".

Therefore, if this series ends in under 6 games, either happily with a Phantoms win, or not-so-happily with the Bears advancing, we won't see Game 6 at the Spectrum. Since we don't know where the Phantoms will be playing Round 2 of the playoffs, even if we win the series we might not see the Spectrum again once this round is over.

So come on down to one of the last surviving ARENAS, an experience which we'll appreciate all the more once we only have Entertainment Venues to watch our pro hockey games in.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Phantoms vs. Hershey Bears, Game 1, East Division Semi-Finals, 4-16-09

Scott Munroe will start the game, as he led the team out of the tunnel for the pregame warmup. Nate Guenin is wearing an A, in place of the called-up Jared Ross.

Nodl was among the last guys off the ice. The fonal three were Kempe, Sirianni, and waaaaaay last, Matsumoto. He kept taking shots on goal after the horn sounded.

KEITH JONES made his walk from the tunnel to the announcer's booth to great applause from the fans who arrived for pregame skate. He was slated to get the wires off his jaw yesterday, so we have one more reason to celebrate the Phantoms' postseason berth. We can have our own announcer back for the rest of our existence as a team.

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

Starting Lineup: .Munroe, Guenin, Syvret, Sirianni, JVR, Kane

So Kempe is scratched, but JVR has moved up to take Ross's place on the top line.

Sirianni took the draw for us, with Ross called up. The ears got three quick shots off in the first few seconds.

Next up, Matsumoto, Laliberte, Maroon, Bartulis, Kukkonen. And though they buzzed in the Bears end, we didnt get a shot on goal. Then on the way back, Nygel called Matsumoto for hooking.

First PK unit: Kalinski, Kane, Syvret, Guenin.

We had one tot point out a missed Bears infraction during our PK. No call. Another young fan yelled, "Hey REF, how's it feel to be called out by a four-year-old?" to the general mirth of everyone in our section.

Nodl/Raduns are the next PK forward pairing.

The penalty is killed. We gave up two SOG while shorthanded.. So of course we get another call, this time to Laliberte, immediately thereafter.] Not fivce minutes into the game and we are on our second PK.

Kane/Kalinski and Bartulis/Kukkonen are out.. BOOOOO a Bear skates over Kalinski's stick and the ref's arm goes up. Interestingly, we are seeing one guy from each team enter the penalty boxes. Kalinski goes for tripping, and Aucoin goes for diving. This is a case where it really, really ought to have been only the diving call. There are times when both parties are guilty of their respective infractions, but on this play Kalinski did nothing whatsoever to earn a stint in the sin bin.

SECONDS LATER here we go again with the ref blowing play dead. Another pair of players, one from each team, goes off. Guenin sits for cross-checking, Mink gets two for tripping.

Nygel Pelletier is a whistle-happy zebra. No question. Now there are two Bears and three Phantoms in the penalty box. On the ice, however, we are still 5 on 4, as the rest of the players had coincidental minors. 13:28 an d we are finally at even strength. The Bears have 6 SOG to our none. Clackson, Gratton, Ratchuk, Curry, and Sirianni are out and there goes Nygel's arm up for a Bears infraction.

In the short interval before our PECOOOO POWER PLAY, we got two SOG. Nice rush with the Matsumoto line and Syvret and Kukkonen. But someone poke-checked Kukkonen before he could get the shot off.

Sirianni, Kane, and JVR are out with Kukkonen and Svret – now make that Ratchk/Curry as we swap our D pair for fresh legs.. Sirianni makes a nice move in the neutral zone to get past a defender, but Hershey clears the puck as their penalty expires. Szwez manages one solid shot on goal, which results in an offensive zone draw when Neuvirth freezes the puck.

Szwez, Nodl, and Kalinski are reunited as a line, thanks to the various call-ups and send-downs.

With 9:45 left in the period, the Bears have 11 SOG to the Phantoms' 3. The disparity in PK time helps explain some of the gap. Maroon rushes the puck up the left side, and double-teams a Bear with20Laliberte behind the Hershey net to applause from the fans. The puck winds up in the section adjacent to mine, however, when the Bears try to bring it back out and fire it into our zone.

GREAT SAVE Munroe, with a D-man skating behind him, stopped a puck from going in from point blank range. I think it hit Munroe, which would have made it a circus save. Had it hit the defenseman, I think he would have been limping back to the bench, and that didn't happen. DOGGONE but Da Bears got robbed of a goal.. GOOD!

Matsumoto's line seems to be edging out the Kane/JVR/Sirianni trip for ice time in this period. They're earning it by generating some good scoring opportunities.

Raduns, Clackson, and Gratton are our fourth line today.

With 4:58 left in the frame, SOG are Phantoms 7, Bears 12.

Oh, BLEEP!. We scored what appears to be an own-goal. One of our D went to get a rebound, and deflected it in. Only the f irst shot on goal, not the rebound that went in, got listed on the shot clock. Curry will be seeing that sequence of events in his sleep, poor guy.

With 1:17 left, we get a PECOOOO POWER PLAY, with the SOG Phantoms 7, Bears 13.

Final minute of play in the frame: no call when a Phantom gets tackled in the Hershey zone.; The fans helpfully pointed this out to the referee.

At the end of the period, we have 43 seconds of PP time remaining. The score is 1-0, Bears, and the SOG are Phantoms 10, Bears 13.

Aaaa, holy COW how did the Bears keep that the heck out?! With the SOG even at 3-3, the Bears kill off the remainder of their infraction and get called for another one almost right away. This time, The Wrong Giroux goes for tripping. We proceed to give up two SH SOG during the opening shift of our PECOOOOO POWER PLAY.

Ten secon ds left in the PP, and we are still waiting to shoot on net during this man advantage. However, Matsumoto breaks in with a 2-on-1 just as the PP expires and SCORES with a bomb from the top of the circle! 1-1! Assist from Patrick Maroon and Danny Syvret. I believe it was scored as an even-strength goal.

Here comes another PECOOOOO POWER PLAY, with 14:09 left in the period and SOG 16-16. Did I mention that Nygel calls a lot of infractions?

No SOG were registered by either team for the first 1:56 of the PP. But the Bears took another penalty just as the first one was ending, so we get two more minutes of man advantage. (Presuming no other calls, which the way this game is going, could be presuming a lot. The Bears' #7 blocked a shot... must be something about wearing the number 7. Our #7, Nate Guenin, is a lock to deflect multiple pucks during the course of a game. Matsumoto tries to stuff it in at the post, but Neuvirth plants himself there and doesn't allow the disk through.

Nice keep-in by Ratchuk at the far point. Curry receives the pass and fires on goal. Neuvirth freezes it for a draw. Sirianni/Kane/JVR are out. Not for long, though, as Pelletier decides Kane has committed holding. Remember what I said about presuming no other calls during this PP could be a stretch? So we will have 30 seconds of 4-on-4, followed by a PK. Kalinski and Nodl are out with Guenin and Syvret.

Here we go with a rush at 4-on-4, only to be called offside for the 9,042nd time in this period. GEESH with these offsides calls! The Phantoms Phaithful has not agreed with every call,l to be sure. But for our own sakes, we are going to have to do a better job of avoiding going offside. Matsumoto/Laliberte are next, followed by a wholesale change of Raduns/Kalinski-and Bartulis/Kukkonen.

The PK is over and Sirianni gets himself into the Bears end with the puck.; He is surrounded by three Bears at the far half-boards, and gets the puck toward the net but the shot goes high. Next up, Gratton and Clackson are out with a third forward I didn't see. Gratton dumps a Bear flat in the neutral zone, to the appreciation of the crowd.

With 3:12 left in the period, there is a ten-skater scrum in the corner to Munroe's left. I see two Bears heading into the sin bin, compared to one Phantom. Osala goes for Boarding, while another Bear and our Curry go off for roughing. So it's a PECOOOO POWER PLAY. Matsumoto's line goes out with Syvret and Kukkonen. Aah, nuts, and we just barely fail to keep the flipping thing in. Back we go, and we get ourselves set up after a couple more cleared pucks GO MATSY GO GO aah shoot, Neuvirth froze it. OK, faceoff. The same five guys are out, this time with Maroon stationed at the crease for rebounds. Another couple of attempts for our side come to naught, and we get a line change. Well, the forwards change to the Kane line. The same two D stay out till the very end of the PP. At the final minute of play in -the period, we have Guenin/Bartulis and Nodl, Szwez, Kalinski. And we don't get set up in time to prevent the Bears from a rush. OH OH OH OH Kalinski takes it and rushes up ice, puts the puck through the defender's legs, gets the puck on net... and freaking Pelletier calls him for ROUGHING. Say WHAT?! Is there a way to rough an opponent when your hands are ON YOUR STICK and you are taking a SHOT ON GOAL?

Geesh, where is that fan with the giant eye chart from the last game? We need it now.

ANYway, as the period comes to an end, the score is 1-1, SOG are Phantoms 24, Bears 20, and we=2 0have 1:54 of PK remaining at the start of the third period.

With 24 seconds left in the PK, the Bears score on the same kind of play that they were robbed from scoring on earlier in the game. Munroe was down, and the open guy in front held on to the puck and went around him He just barely tucked it in at the glove-side post. Bears fans in the next section start their Bears goal chant, responded to by a rousing chorus of the old Philly standby, "Hershey S*CKS", by everyone within earshot.

Nygel now calls Clackson for roughing, but we get our first SOG of the period while shorthanded. Back into our end we come, with Kalinski and Kane out with Syvret and Guenin. Hershey is trying to bounce the puck off the back boards again, like they were in the previous game here. They didn't do this in Hershey, so it seems they think our boards must be better suited for the pinball kind of shot/pass they are trying here.

We chew some more time off the clock with a draw in the Bears' end. At the end of the PK, we had two SOG to Hershey's none. However, th e Bears do exactly the same thing AGAIN – go around Munroe once he's down after making a save. 3-1 Bears and the freaking Bears fans are doing their freaking chant again. Many boos ensue.

Seconds later, the PECOOOO POWER PLAY is in effect again. KANE aaah he nearly cashed one in from point-blank, but no dice. Later on the shift, Nygel decided Kane was holding the stick, so we went to 4 on 4 with 27 seconds left in Hershey's penalty.

Matsumoto and Laliberte break out with a SH 2-on-2, but the puck goes off a defender's skate and the Bears bring it back to our end.

The penalty is over, and SOG are Phantoms 28, Bears 26.

Hershey tried their pinball thing again, but it went hard off the glass instead of the back boards. And I do mean HARD. It made a huge asterisk-shaped set of cracks in the glass behind Munroe, to the goal judge's right, so we all get an unscheduled timeout while the ice crew is summoned to replace the damaged pane. Boy, I don't know who fired that puck, but he obviously ate his Wheaties thi s morning. Either that, or he got into Popeye's spinach stash.

SCOOOOOORE! Kukkonen from Matsumoto and Maroon, both of whom have had two-point nights, and we are within one goal! 3-2 Bears, and LOL some Pbantoms Phans in front of me did a Phantoms chant to mimic the one the Bears fans were doing earlier. (P-H-A-N-T-O-M-S, PHANTOMS! WOO!")

Just under five minutes left and it looks like we are going to short shifts.

2:32 left, SOG are 30-30, and we are pressing for that tying goal Matsumoto's line is out, which bodes well as they're the line responsible for our two goals, However, the Bears break out and with an odd-man rush, feed the puck to the trailer who scores. 4-2 Bears. More "B-E-A-R-S BEARS BEARS BEARS" and more booing takes place in the aftermath.

By the time the final horn sounded, the Phantoms had taken 18 third-period shots, but it wasn't enough. The SOG at the end of the game were Phantoms 32, Bears 31. Final score was 4-2, Bears. Matsumoto was the third star of the game.

We're back at the Spectrum on Saturday, for a 7:05 game. Here's to seeing us TERMINATE WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE anything in a Bears uni.


Phantoms vs. Hershey Bears, Game 1, East Division Semi-Finals: 4-16-09 Pregame Notes

I am pleased to report that we are playing the first playoff round in the Spectrum. The circus will be here in mid-May, so I hope we are playing here at least that long. THIS is our home rink.

The Bears have home ice advantage, but they also have Disney On Ice at the GIANT Center. Therefore, the Phantoms are going to host Games 1 and 2 of the series, as well as Game 6 if necessary.

Jared Ross and Luca Sbisa are called up to the Flyers. Andreas Nodl is sent back to the Phantoms.

We still have JVR, and I hope the presence of him, Nodl, and Kempe will help fill the hole in the lineup left by Ross's clallup.

THe complete game blog will be posted after the game.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Phantoms at Hershey Bears, 4-11-09; Final Regular Season Game

Scratches Lehtivuori, Kukkonen, Guenin, DeSantis, Gratton, Ross, Kane.
Starting lineup Aubin, Laliberte, Matsumoto, Maroon, Syvret, Sbisa.

What did Bears fans all holler when the anthem singer reached "...Land of the free"?

Next up Kempe Sirianni JVR with Ratchuk and Curry.
Then Klotz, Raduns, Clackson, Ratchuk, and Curry (the only regular D pair we have today).

Phooey, we get a penalty about five minutes into the game. Sirianni goes. Raduns with Kalinski were out with Bartulis and I couldn't see who else . Now it's Laliberte/Matsumoto with Sbisa and Syvret.

Oh, for crying sakes. No sooner do we get out, then back we go back to the sin bin. Sloane takes two for interference. Bears lead in SOG 7-0.

OMG Kalinski and Raduns on a SH 2 on 1... Neuvirth makes the stop but in the meantime, we are about to go to 4 on 4 for the next 51 seconds.

JVR and Sirianni are out with Ratchuk and Curry.

Or not – we can also go on a 4-onp3 PP for 31 seconds, which will graduate to a 5 on e advantage AAH a Bear's stick broke and we couldn't take advantage. The Bears are getting to loose pucks first. Matsumoto's line are out with Sbisa and Syvret. OH shoot, Neuvirth made a circus save to keep the second shot out... Maroon shot point blank and the rebound went to Laliberte, who had a wide open cage to fire at until Neuvirth did a Jack-in-the-box impersonation and sprang up between the puck and the twine.

The PP is over. SOG are now Bears 10, Phantoms 6. And another Hershey PP ensues. This time it's Curry, but the PA sounds garbled from this angle so who knows what the penalty was for?

BLAST. A shot from the point hits the crossbar and goes in with 15 seconds left in the PK.

Fight: Klotz vs. Brennan. Brennan pinned Klotz's arms but they did both manage to get in several shots.=0 AI would give them a draw and tip my cap to Garrett for fighting again for the first time in a while.

JVR with the breakaway, but Neuvirth makes the save.

ANOTHER breakaway, couldn't see if it was JVR (22) or Kempe (23) but again, Neuvirth was equal to the challenge.

Raduns Clackson Beaulieu are out.

Bellamy Kalinski JVR..

At the end of the first period, the Bears lead 1-0, and SOG are Bears 14, Phantoms 8.
I had to put the computer aside briefly to let the lady with a mop clean up a nearby soda issue. During that time, here's a recap of the salient points of the period.

The Bears managed to pot another goal early on. Not long afterward, the Phantoms got a full two-minute two-man advantage when two Bears were called for hooking.

Luca Sbisa cashed in 55 seconds into the PP, with assists from Syvret and Matsumoto. It was his first pro goal, as far as we can tell. I thought he had scored for the Flyers, but I'm told otherwise.

I am-not liking the amount of time that we are spending in our end, overall during this period.

However, having said that, we have spent enough time in the Bears' end that e have nearly caught up in shots on goal. With 6:41 left in the period, the Bears have 21 SOG compared to our 19.

Here was a ten-skater scrum at our bench-side half-boards, during which the two smallest guys on the ice, Matsumoto a0nd Chris Bourque, got into a jersey-hauling contest. LOL. Battle of the featherweights. :) When he dust cleared, the Phantoms somehow wound up with the PK, as we had two guys in the box to the Bears' one. Fortunately, the Bear was Giroux, so that's one threat removed.

Oh, WHAT game is this ref watching? Another ten-skater scrum, this time behind our net, leads to ONLY Bellamy going off. GRRRRRR...

But the period ends before anything much can happen.

At the end of the second period, the score is Bears 2, Phantoms 1, and the SOG (thanks to the two recent Bears Pps) are now Bears 27, Phantoms 20.

The Phantoms will have 1:45 of PK time remaining at the beginning of the third period.
Heh heh heh... a Bear just boarded himself trying to hit Kempe. :D

We are nearly 5 minutes into the period, and we have not had a shot on goal yet. The Bears, meanwhile, have a total of 31 shots in the game. Ah, there we go, we get a puck on net even as I type.

Ah, here comes a PP. Let's see if we can cash in on the team with the AHL's worst PK. No dice that time,but three minutes later, here we go again with another PP. GO PHANTOMS, tie the game, guys!

No dice there, either, BUT Maroon has a BREAKAWAY.... drat, he missed the net.

With 6:20 left in=2 0the third period, SOG are Bears 34, Phantoms 25. The score remains 2-, Bears.

Kempe tries a drop pass to JVR, but it gets picked off. Oops.

NUTS. A few shifts later, a Bear scores from the top of the slot to make it 3-1. Drat times ten. We have about 5 minutes left, and SOG are Bears 37, Phantoms 25.

They tried it again but Aubin stopped a shot through a multi-player screen.

Whoa, The Wrong Giroux gets a four-minute infraction with 1:58 left. Two for interference and two for unsportsmanlike conduct... GO PHANTOMS! Tie it!

Matsumoto's line with Syvret and Sbisa SCOOOORE! #-2 with under two minutes left and we are still on the PP!

One minute left in the period,and Sirianni, Kempe, JVR, Maroon (four forwards) and Syvret AAAAAAH how did that puck stay out? Arrgh/ Ten-skater scrum behind the net now with 16.2 seconds left. Timeout Phantoms. 50 seconds remain in the PP. GO GO GO!

The goalie is pulled now=2 0and we have Sbisa, Syvret, Maroon, Sirianni, Kempe, and JVR out. But time runs out on us-before we can tie the game.

BTW, as our captain and one of our assistant captains were scratched tonight (Kane and Ross), we went with three As. Syvret is an assistant captain for us normally, and tonight he was joined by Matsumoto and Curry.

We're at Hershey for the final Phantoms regular season game

It lookss like the Phantoms might be resting some guys for the playoffs. Aubin is playing. I saw Klotz, Bellamy, and Kempe warming up, and they are three guys who have been healthy scratches in recent games.

The recap will go up when we're on the way home. GO PHANTOMS!!!

Yep -- It was a legit Hat Trick!

I just got this from a discussion I was in on Facebook. The person who posted it has good reason to know what transpired among off-ice officials, so I'm taking it as reliable info:

"let me clear it up for you guys haha. goal was originally credited to sirianni bc of the tip. then it was temporarily changed to syvret. then it was changed back to sirianni because of one reason or another. so yes, sirianni did indeed have a hatrick."

Friday, April 10, 2009

Phantoms vs, Hershey Bears, 4-10-09, Final Game at the Spectrum

At the block party outside, we met up with and took pics with Frank Miceli, the team's former COO. Of course he's here; this was his second home for years. It's good to see him. I hope he brought extra good mojo with him to help boost the team into the playoffs.

Oustside, the band played "These Were The Best Days Of My Life". I wanted to cry, Which was only exacerbated when I saw the STH gift: a mini banner saluting the Final Game at the Spectrum, with Gene Hart's quote, "Good Night and Good Hockey".

The music on the PA is getting me, too; "Philadelphia Freedom", "I Will Remember You" (which nearly set me off again), "If I Could Turn Back Time"... the pregame music choices are surely no accident.

John Paddock is on the bench, pre-warmups, with his own personal video camera. Lou Nolan was signing autographs in the tunnel, but ran out of autograph cards before he got to me.

I already saw one small kid whom I'm familiar with crying at his seat. Yeah, little buddy, I can empathize.

So many familiar faces are here. That's what happens when you sit in the same place for at least 9 of the past 13 seasons. (I had three other locations, including the seats I shared with Bob P. and Karla in the first two seasons, before a seat adjacent to the tunnel became available.) So many long-timers like myself whom I've seen year in and year out, and am unlikely to see much of anymore after the season concludes.

I can see the original press box, which still has WIP on it, and the original organ which is still up in the rafters.

There's a Final Game banner in the rafters, also, waiting to be unfurled.

Scott Munroe just led the team out of the tunnel. Warmups are starting.

Luca Sbisa has returned to Philly, following the elimination of his junior team from the playoffs, and he is wearing #47
Scratches: Duchesne, Lehtivuori, Ratchuk, DeSantis, Klotz, Beaulieu, Kempe, Bellamy.

Starting Lineup: Munroe, Guenin, Syvret, Ross, Kane, Sirianni

Less than two minutes into the game, MacNeill and Josh Gratton fight. Meanwhile we also get a PP because Helmer went off for inbte2rference, so it's our first PECOOOO POWER PLAY of the game. MacNeill landed more punches early, but Gratton landed haymakers of his own and got the eventual takedown. The fans went berserk when he raised his arms on the way to tbe sin bin. When Berube was our assistant coach in the Cup year, he reprimanded Josh for doing that, but I think even he would understand the emotion of the moment. This is NOT just any game,and everyone knows it.

Sbisa is out with Curry and the Matsumoto line. OMG this place is as deafening as old-time Bears/Phantoms games. WOW.

With 8 seconds left in the PP, we have the only three SOG.

Hee, make that 4 SOG with five seconds left in the PP.

With Ratchuk scratched, the D Pair is now Curry and Sbisa.

Szwez is out with Kalinski and JVR. and we are back to even strength. Syvret/Guenin and Bartulis/Kukkonen are our other D pairs.

FIGHT, Clackson vs. Brennan. Like Gratton, Clackson got the takedown and I would say the edege. GREAT GREAT GREAT this team has really come out on fire. At the time of the Clackson fight, we had 5 SOG to Hershey's 1.

Now there's a scrum on Munroe's doorstep as the Bears attempt to get the frozen puck loose. But the ref calls play dead and we get a faceoff.

SCOOOOOOOORE! Matsumoto jams his 29th goal in from he doorstep with assists from Maroon and Laliberte! It was our 6th shot of the game, compared to Hershey's 2.

We then get our first PK as Sbisa goes of. Ross and Kane break out 2 on 2, with Syvret and Guenin on D for the start of the kill.

Next, Matsumoto/Laliberte with Kukkonen and Bartulis AAAA BREAKAWAY... shoot, the goalie made the stop. Nice way to shave time off the clock. :D The Phantoms are out there with an intensity that is easily playoff-level. We know that it's a "win or go home situation", and we are playing like it.

Koharski calls Guenin for slashing with 4 seconds left in the Sbisa penalty. Kane, Syvret, and Kukkonen are out. Ross comes out whe Sbisa crosses the ice and arrives at the bench. Next up are Matsumoto/Lalibere th Bartulis/Curry. Again Laliberte takes the puck all the way in for a shot on goal. SOG are Phantoms 8, Bears 2, with 21 seconds left in the Guenin penalty.

Bartulis blocks a shot. As the penalty expires, the SOG are Phantoms 9, Bears 3.

With just under five minutes left, again Laliberte rushes the puck up ice full speed, followed by eeryone else.; Our scoring attempt earned us another PECOOOO POWER PLAY. Ross, Kane Sirianni, Kukkonen, and Syvret are out. SCOOOOOORE Sirianni from Syvret and Ross!!!! Outstanding! It was our 10th SOG.

About a shift later, here comes another PECOOOOO POWER PLAY. Matsumoto's line is out with Sbisa and Curry. The Bears are clearing the puck pretty well this time around, but the infraction is only half served. SCOOOOOORE!!! Sirianni again from Kane and Kukkonen! 3-0 Phantoms! SOG are 13-4 in favor of the Phantoms. One of those Bears shots came during the PP we just truncated with a goal.

And at the end of the period, the Phantoms went off to a standing ovation, leading 3-0 and outshooting Hershey 13-4.
Intermission music: "Times of Your Life" and "Glory Days". HA HA HA, they're playing the Three Stooges theme again as the officials come out. :D They'd stopped doing that for a while, but tonight, it's baaaaack. :)

The second goal is now credited to Syvret from Kukkonen and Ross. We spent most of the first 90 seconds of the frame in our end, but allowed no shots. Matsumoto and company toook it in for a shot on Neuvirth, but Matsy shot high. However,even over the crowd noice, the puck struck the glass loudly. He got ALL of that disk!

The Bears must have gotten an earful in the locker room, because they are spending time cycling in our end again. However,a mixed line combo of Gratton, Raduns, and Ross got out of our zone and Ross sent a blistering puck on goal for the first shot by either team in the period. Nearly 4 minutes have elapsed in the frame. Neuvirth had to make a NICE save to keep that one out. For his troubles, he gets to stop three more pucks on the next shift. Ross's line is out for the faceoff. With 4 and a half mijtes gone, Munroe stops his first shot of the period, and it's a dandy save from point blank range. His next save thuds loudly off his pads, to loud applause from the Phantoms Phaithful.

Clackson gets called for hooking, so we go on the PK. Matsumoto/Laliberte are wth Guenin and Syvret. And MUNROE. :) Who is making stops With Authority. Aw, heck. Bears score just as the penalty ends. It's their 10th SOG, compared to our 7th. Also reminiscent of Days Of Old, there is a loud contingent of Bears fans in the house. We Phantoms fans will be returnng the favor tomorrow night at the GIANT Center, however.

With 9:30 left in the period, we give Neuvirth a puck to freeze just before the promo timeout.

Kalinski, JVR, and Szwez are out with Kukkonen and Bartulis.

Guenin blocked a shot. :)

HOLY COW. Our Phan Club's Sergeant-at-Arms just told me that Norfolk is leading Binghamton 6-0. OH. MY. GOSH. GO ADMIRALS!!!! If we win and Bingo loses, we clinch the last playoff berth!

AAAH SCOOOORE! While I was typng the great news about how much Norfolk is helpng our cause, KALINSKI scored an un-assisted goal on our 21st shot! $-1 Phantoms!!!

Next up, another PK. They think Matsumoto tripped someone. The Phantoms Phaithful beg to differ, LOUDLY. :D Oddly enough, I thought the Bears got a shot six seconds into the PK, but it never registered on the board. NOW they have a shot, with 36 seconds left in their man advantage. Munroe had to stop one other puck during the PK. Now the Matsumoto line is buzzing around the Bears net with a minute to go in the frame. They're followed by the Ross line, THEY'RE followed by the sound of the horn.

At the end of the second period, the Phantoms lead 4-1, and the SOG are Phantoms 21, Bears 17.
I had some computer issues during the third period and the recap I was typing got lost. Dang it. But in short order, you know that second Phantoms goal that was recredited to Syvret? Well, apparently everyone conveniently decided to pay no mind to that, because when Sirianni scored an empty-net goal to make it Phantoms 5, Hershey 2, there was a downright avalanche of hats. :) So if the box score remains as it is right now, crediting Sirianni with three goals, then we closed out our tenure at the Spectrum by winning two fights, scoring five goals, celebrating a hat trick, and clinching a playoff berth!

For a few points of interest that happened during the third period: Hershey's second goal was scored by The Wrong Giroux, aka Alexandre Giroux. It was bhis 58tb of the season. WHY is this man not with the Washington Capirals?! CALL HIM THE HECK UP! Anybody with 58 freaking goals belongs in the SHOW, thank you very much!

Hershey repeatedly pinballed the puck off the boards behind the net, aiming it for a guy who would be stationed there to try and stuff the puck in before Munroe could move laterally. On one of those attempts, Kukkonen saved us from being scored on by crouching down to block the puck. It was a gutsy move on his part, given he still is wearing a guard on the lower half of his face, and he put himself right in the line of fire for both the oncoming puck and the stick that shot it. Fortunately, he kept the puck out without getting injured. But this team was motivated enoujh to dive in front of a Mac truck if that's what it took to win this game. This was just one bit of evidence to that effect.

Keith Jones, wired jaw and all, announced both Sirianni's goal and the "For the final time in the Spectrum, one minute left in the period" call. At the end, the whole team gathered at center ice and saluted the fans, then followed Phlex around the perimeter of the ice. Phlex had the "THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES" sign held high, and the team tapped the glass with their sticks all the way around the ice.

During the "Shirts Off Our Backs" after the game, the final song to be played in the Spectrum was "Say Goodbye".

It was a great send-off for one of the last ARENAS in pro sports. For make no mistake, the Spectrum is an ARENA. Most of the new buildings today are Entertainment Venues. The sports world will be a lesser place when the Spectrum is relegated to history.

But at least the Sports World will continue to have the Phantoms in it for a while longer. We are in the playoffs!

GREAT JOB, Phantoms! Now go kick some more Bear tail in Hershey tomorrow night!

WOO HOOOO, We're In The Playoffs!!!!

The GREAT news is, we beat Hershey 5-2 and Bridgeport lost to Norfolk, so we have absolutely clinched a playoff berth as of tonight! OUTSTANDING!!!!

The aggravating news is that my game night recap got goofed up and I've only got the first two periods to show for it.

So I'll be proofreading those, then writing up the things I remember best about the third period. There were plenty of highlights to remember, for sure.

I am SO PROUD of this team. Did we ever come out like gangbusters in this game!

Pregame comments

Warmups just ended. I've already had to dry salt water off my glasses once. Sigh.

Sbisa is wearing #47.

Detailed posting will follow postgame, as my netboook's connectivity is spotty.


Block Party

Saluting the Spectrum prior to the game. The block party is getting underway.<

Today is the day :(

Today is the day I have dreaded for months. It's the final Phantoms regular season home game at the Spectrum.

And I do mean DREAD. As in, the Paul Simon song whose lyrics begin with, "April, come she will" saddened me when I heard it, because I knew the end of the season was in April.

Regardless of whether we clinch a playoff berth in the next two days, I am extremely depressed to witness the end of an era in my life. For 13 years I have derived a tremendous amount of enjoyment from attending Phantoms games. There have been times during those years when I was feeling so down, nothing much else could lift my spirits or get me going, and yet even through THAT I would look forward to Phantoms games.

So, playoffs or not, I know that this season is the last season, this game is the final regular season home game, and something I've set great store by for over a decade is coming to an abrupt and unwanted end in my life. And I feel a stupendous amount of grief for that loss.

So if I'm not quite myself in the immediate future, I apologize in advance and I will do my best not to take it out on the rest of the universe. But I feel as awful right now as I've ever felt after a bereavement. No exaggeration.

This post is going to both my regular blog and the Phantoms blog, as IMO it's relevant to both.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Phantoms at Albany River Rats, 4-8-09; Third Period, OT, and Shootout

We started the first minute or so defending in our zone, to the point where I had to sit here and count the players to make sure that we were not on the PK. We are at 5 on 5.

Albany gets hit by the Delay of Game rule, giving us our third PP of the game. I would like to see our PP make a bit more noise on offense than we've done so far. Albany keeps finding ways to clear the puck out before we can really get set up.

Bingo/Syracuse is now at 2-2, as we are.

NICE steal by Matsumoto, once we are back at even strength, but once again Albany clears the puck before we can get set up in their end. At this rate, we are going to have to score right off a rush instead of getting set up and cycling. Which will be challenging if we don't get the heck out of our end. Warring with Albany in the neutral zone, as we have been doing, won't help much either.

Now we're waiting through a promo timeout for a neutral-zone draw. Kalinski tried to roof the puck, but it went out of play. Hence, the draw. We succeed in getting Peters to freeze the puck for an offensive draw, but we don't create chances from that. In this period, Albany has so far gotten the better of the chances.

HAHAHA, thank you Jon Kalinski for making a fibber out of me! So help me, he scored just as I was typing the above paragraph. LMHO, good job! Kukkonen put the puck on net and Kalinski fired the rebound home. Our announcer believes that JVR should get the secondary assist, but it appears to have been credited to someone else (Syvret, whom our announcer doesn't believe was on the ice at the time). 3-2 Phantoms, with just under 10 minutes remaining in the period!

Guenin blocks a shot. :) If there is a shots-blocked-per-game stat, Guenin surely leads the team, if not the league, in that category.

Someone needs to sit on Petruzalek... I am hearing his name an awful lot on this shift. He keeps passing the puck to other River Rats for scoring chances.

Peters robs Maroon twice. Both goalies are playing for keeps in these past few minutes. However, flipping Albany deflected a puck off our defenseman Bartulis and into the net to tie the game at 3-3. :headdesk: Drat.

We have 1:14 left in the period. Still 3-3. Syracuse has taken a 3-2 lead over Binghamton. GO CRUNCH! Their game has 6 minutes and change remaining, so the Crunch will have to hang onto their lead a bit.

We, meanwhile, are waiting through a Albany timeout to faceoff in their end.. AAA Peters makes an incredible save and hangs on for another offensive zone draw. We get some great opportunities but so far but Peters answered them all.

With under 5 seconds remaining, we get another faceoff in front of Peters. There goes the horn. We are going into OT, so we have gained a point out of this game so far. We lead in shots 40-29.

Come on, Phantoms -- we NEED THIS SECOND POINT. Let there be a purple-clad hero and let it be soon!

Ross/Sirianni are our first two forwardsm with Syvret and probably Guenin.

Laliberte and Matsumoto with Kukkonen and Bartulis are next. Curry/Ratchuk are with JVR and Kalinski.

We are at least halfway into the OT. Still 3-3. There is less than a minute remaining in Syracuse/Bingo and Syracuse is still ahead. PHOOEY, no they're not -- Bingo tied it with 4 seconds left and sent it into OT. So they are at 3-3 also.

Meanwhile, we spent most of the final minute buzzing around the River Rats net. No dice. Albany tried to return the favor in the waning seconds of the OT, but they were equally unsuccessful and we are going to a shootout.

Yet again, I feel compelled to mention that I BLEEPING LOATHE SHOOTOUTS. Just so you know.
Freaking Binghamton won. So we HAVE to win to stay ahead of the Senators.

Albany -- no
ROSS -- no 0-0
Albany -- no
SIRIANNI -- no 0-0
Albany -- no
MATSUMOTO -- YES Phantoms lead 1-0 after 3 rounds
Albany -- no
LALIBERTE -- no still 1-0
Albany -- yes so 1-1
MAROON -- no

At the end of five rounds, we are 1-1,

Albany -- yes

Albany -- yes
ROSS -- YES 3-3

Albany -- yes

Albany -- yes

*%&#$@!!!!. We lose in the 9th round of the shootout. We are even in the standings with Binghamton.

Our next two games are on Friday vs. Hershey at home, and Saturday in Hershey. Binghamton's final two games are vs. Norfolk and Albany. We have the tougher road, but I am hoping that we will have extra determination going for us due to the fact that our stakes are higher. If Hershey loses, they might get a lower playoff seed. If we lose and miss the playoffs, not only is our season finished, so is our TEAM.


Phantoms at Albany River Rats, 4-8-09; Second Period

How they think Szwez slashed the guy is beyond me... the long and short of it is that we are on the PK for the fourth time in the game.LOOK OUT oh what a save by Munroe! Nice clear, Kane! Now Matsumoto and McBain are grappling for the puck at the point. Matsumoto manages to drive both his adversary and the disk to the outside of the blue line. The penalty is killed, thank goodness.

There's a lot of end-to-end action going on right now. In the latest rush, Raduns carried it all the way in and took a shot. Clackson positioned himself at the crease's edge for any possible rebounds. Instead, an Albany defender dumped Clackson over the goalie into the net. The net came off its moorings, and Peters's goalie mask was dislodged, so play was stopped. Everybody's in one relatively intact piece, fortunately.

Hooray, time for a Phantoms PP. Let's see if we can do something with our second man advantage of the game.

OH, Ross made a beautiful move to bring the puck across the goalmouth and fire it, but Peters was ready for it and made a terrific save. Peters needs to be a star of the game if he keeps this up. Especially since Peters also managed to stop a shot that was deflected by a stick at point-blank range. Yeowza. Nice stop (dagnab it, lol).

We have reached the halfway mark of regulation time. The Phantoms still lead 1-0 and we are at even strength. Doggoned Binghamton, meanwhile, has tied their game at 1-1. C'mon, Crunch! Take the lead back!

Nice shot by Clackson, which created a rebound that the Rats managed to corral first. Unfortunately, that led to an odd-man rush into the Phantoms end, where Albany got a shot of their own and cashed in a rebound. Argh. 1-1.

We spent the next couple of shifts making a lot of noise in front of the Albany net, but so far we have not retaken the lead. However, we have dictated the majority of the play since the River Rats tied the score, so I am hopeful that we can be the next team to bury a puck. All we need to do is keep doing what we've done in the past few minutes of play. We currently lead on the shot clock 23-16 SCOOOOORE Bartulis! See what I mean? Outstanding! :) 2-1 Phantoms! Kukkonen made a huge cross-ice pass to Bartulis who suddenly pinched WAY in and fired the puck home, Our announcer said it appeared to be a set play, and from watching the replay of it, I believe him. Especially since Bartulis just got his second goal of the year in the 77th game of the season. So he's not normally what I'd consider an offensive D-man, to put it mildly.

Kalinski took a nice pass and went to crash the net with the puck. He did that a bit more effectively than he probably intended, as after getting the shot off he wound up colliding with Peters and the net. The goalie was bowled over, the net was knocked askew, Kalinski wound up in a pileup at the boards as the Rats didn't much appreciate seeing their goalie bumped into. The Phantoms joined in the conference, but the only penalty that came out of the scrum was Kalinski's two minutes for goaltender interference.

Blast. Rodney fires from the top of the slot and scores a flying-water-bottle goal to tie the game. 2-2.That was our 5th PK of the game. We need to do a better job of staying out of the box. I know this particular Zebra has come up with creative interpretations of the rules in the past (and present -- see the Szwez "slash" in the first period). But we can also avoid blatant infractions that any ref would be guaranteed to call.

In the final minute of the period, suddenly the River Rats have come to life and are buzzing around our net. Fortunately, the horn sounds and the period ends. The score is 2-2 and the Phantoms lead in SOG, 26-21. BInghamton and Syracuse remain at 1-1.

GO PHANTOMS! Win the third period handily!

CLICK HERE to watch "The Final Countdown" video by Europe