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

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Phantoms vs. Albany River Rats, 4-1-09

Scratches: Duchesne, Lehtivuori, Kukkonen, Sloane, Klotz, Gratton, Kempe, Bellamy.

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

Matsumoto, Maroon, and Laliberte are out with  Bartulis and DeSantis. DeSantis made an alarming-sounding crash hitting the boards, came up lame, and got helped up the tunnel. Shoot, 87 seconds into the freaking game and we are down a guy.

Two seconds after the next faceoff, Szwez went with #3 on the River Rats, Olson, in a MARATHON fight. I can't believe how long it took the linesmen to step in. I give them a draw for both being standing by the end of that tilt. That's the longest fight I've seen in quite a while.

NUTS. With 16:55 left in the period and the shots on goal at Albany 3, Phantoms 0, the River Rats ricochet a puck into the Phantoms net for an early lead. Man, this game is not starting off as we would have wanted it to.

I can pretty much forget listing the D pairs tonight, as we are down to five blueliners for the time being. This will probably be the case for the duration of the game, as our trainer has returned to the bench but not DeSantis.

But forward lines, I can list. They include Kalnski/van Riemsdyk/Szwez and Clackson/Beaulieu/Raduns.

Phlex came out with a sign pregame, in lieu of his usual large Phantoms flag. The sign says "THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES" on both the front and the back. Sigh. For the first time tonight, when the countdown banners were updated to show 2 games remaining, the fans booed the total.

I think JVR's reflex is "get in deep and someone will pass him the puck" If I had to make a guess, I would think that's what his college team's strategy was. Given his skill level, it probably worked well for them. But it's a reflex he will have to shed here. (As guys like Jeff Carter before him had to do when they turned pro.) He wasn't far enough ahead of the play just now for me to call it "cherry picking", as he was only one zone away from the puck, but he did head over to patrol the far blue line while the puck was still on the Phantoms side of the red line.

Aaaaa, Sirianni nearly kept his goal streak going with a point-blank attempt! That puck stayed out, but the next shift had better fortunes, and CURRY buried the  disk with assists from Matsumoto and Laliberte! :) 1-1 and the  SOG are Phantoms 5, River Rats 6.

DANG IT. Albany puts one in less than a minute later.They got it on a wraparound with Munroe hugging the far post. Very aggravating to let the Rats back into the lead that fast.

Color me Not Pleased that we are giving up the number of shots that we have. So far with five and a half minutes left in the period, we have six SOG to Albany's 12. We are going to have to spend more time in the River Rats end if we hope to take this game. Man alive, this section and our neighboring section are puck magnets tonight.

Guenin blocked a shot. We have an interesting half a line combo out there as Kane and Sirianni are with Kalinski.

And Albany scores again as we can't seem to get the puck out of our zone.; Argh. 3-1 Bad Guys. SOG Phantoms 6, River Rats 13.

We also apparently are about to go on the first PK of the game... or ar we? I see one guy in each sin bin, so let's see what the call is. Kane is in the box for us and gets two for roughing and two for tripping, while the River Rat only gets two for roughing, so I guess it IS a PK after all. Kalinski, Ross, Syvret,and Guenin are out.

Ross made a nice clearing attempt, which was only outdone by a River Rat's extension of his stick to keep the disk in. Guenin laid out flat on the ice to close off a shooting lane. Boy, this is a long shift for all concerned. FINALLY with 24 seconds left we get a clear and change. Matsumoto and Laliberte are out with Bartulis and Curry. There goes another puck into the neighboring section.

Finally, the penalty is killed. We only gave up two shots during the PK. Kane returns to the  bench and Maroon comes out to replace him.

NICE save by Munroe in the final minute of the period. On the next faceoff, we have Raduns, Szwez and JVR. Raduns looks like he is getting waved out of the circle, with Szwez coming up in bhis place.

The period is over. SOG are Albany 16(!), Phantoms 6. The score is 3-1, Albany.
The starting line was tweaked: JVR was out in place of Kane with Sirianni and Ross. He got a nice shot off on our next rush, earning us an offensive-zone draw.

We seem to have some spring in our step to start this period. Even when Bartulis's keep-in attempt nearly went awry thanks to a Rier Rat's stick, Matsumoto was right there to get the puck before an Albany payer could clear it.; We kept the puck long enough for Laliberte to score, assisted by Maroon and Matsumoto, on our next shot on goal! 3-2 River Rats.

JVR is out again with Kalinski/Szwez. But the next time Ross/Sirianni came out, their usual linemate Kane was with them.

NUTS Kane came this-close to a goal but the flipping puck went just wide when the River Rats netminder managed to get between the puck and the net. The goalie was flat on the ice at the time. A little while later, Guenin fooled fans on the far side into thinking he had scored, but unfortunately the puck was on the outside of the twine. This time. The Matsumoto line is out now, and they are buzzing around the net With Intent.

Next shift, JVR/Kalinski/Szwez were out. JVR pulled a bit ahead of the pack again, but he followed the Fred Shero maxim of not being more than one zone away from the puck.

Next up, a PK as Ross goes. Matsumoto and Laliberte are out with Guenin (who blocked a shot) and Bartulis. Nice glove save  by Munroe. Raduns heads up on a SH 1-on-2, and shaves a few extra seconds off the clock.

Upon exiting the sin bin, Ross and Matsumoto create some havoc in the Albany end for a bit. We are at even strength again.

With 4:57 left in the period, the SOG are Phantoms 14, River Rats 28. AAAAAA and our 15th shot was GOLDEN -- it went a-bouncing along like the dot on a karaoke display, and hopped right past Manzato into the net to tie the game! Laliberte from Guenin and Maroon, and we have a whole new game at 3-3. We also get a PP moments later for our first PECOOOO POWER PLAY of the night.

JVR is out with Sirianni Ross Kane and Syvret (four forwards). We never really got set up. Next faceoff, Syvret stayed out and was joined by Curfry and Matsumoto's line. Laliberte and Masumoto are attacking the net like they want to Terminate it with Extreme Prejudice. Back to even strength, and it's the turn of Clackson/Szwez/Kalinski to make some noise around the River Rats net.

ROSSCO Is in the HOUSE!!! And the PUCK is in the NET!!! Oh, I saw that one coming from the second he got the puck. He moved across the goalmouth until the goalie committed, then fired it home. Assists from Kane and Sirianni.

WHEW, what a period! At the second intermission, the Phantoms lead 4-3, and the SOG are Phantoms 20, River Rats 30.
We've certainly come out fiesty to start the period. Clackson got into a face-washing contest with a River Rat right in front of the Phantoms bench. No penalties were called, but we did end up with one helmet-free River Rat when all was said and done.

Munroe just stopped a BOMB of a shot from the bottom of the faceoff circle. NICE reflexes, Scott!

Oh, here we go with another PECOOOO POWER PLAY. Ratchuk and Syvret are out with the Matsumoto line.  The end result, two minutes later, was not a lot happened at either end of the ice during that PP, but we did manage to chew two more minutes of the clock. Personally, I would rather see us playing for blood right about now, but if we keep the Albany opportunities to a bare minimum, we are doing our job.

Or even better, we could GET A HAT TRICK!!!! Here comes the rain of headgear even as I type! Laliberte scores his 25th from Matsumoto and Syvret! 5-3 Phantoms! SWEET goal!

One more thing that JVR will be developing is his strength. Some of that will be due to continuing to mature physically, and some will be because he'll be working with Jim McCrossin. He just was contending physically with a River Rat and eventually lost the battle for the puck. When he has a bit more experience and off-ice training under his belt, he will be winning that kind of battle.

OMG great save Munroe! with about five minutes remaining.

Matsumoto's line is buzzing around the Albany net again, drawing OOOHs from the crowd. But the puck stayed out.

OMG MATSUMOTO! What a freaking highlight-reel goal! He stole the puck at the top of the slot, deked the goalie out of his skates, and padded our lead to three goals! Assist to Jeff Szwez. Beautiful!

With 62 seconds left, Beaulieu and a Rat I couldn't see got into a bout. (Turns out it was Olson again.) From-the boards near the Albany bench, all of a sudden we saw gloves sailing all the way to the center ice faceoff circle. Beau's jersey looked like it detached in the back, but we will see what's up with the penalties. Ah, OK, both guys get just the 5 for fighting, so no problem, and no extra penalty for Beaulieu due to the detached jersey.

And the game is over! The three stars are all linemates, not surprisingly, given their performance in this game. #3: Maroon; #2: Matsumoto, #1: Laliberte.

Next up: Two games in Norfolk on Friday and Saturday, followed by a home game vs. Norfolk on Sunday. GO PHANTOMS!


Kiersha Lou said...

Whats up with J. Gratton?

Donna said...

From the impression I got at the Phan Club Banquet on Monday, he was hurt but is feeling a lot better and hopes to be back in action soon.

I'm hoping that the team medics feel the same way. You know how it goes with players... they could have been run over by a steamroller ten seconds ago, and they'll tell you they're fine. ;)

We have a three-game weekend vs. Norfolk, so I hope he's well enough to get back on the ice at some point during the festivities. We need all our guys for this stretch run.

Saturday's game in Norfolk will have the Phantoms Phan Club in attendance. I hope we not only have lots of reasons to cheer, but we make it onto the gamecast audio into the bargain :)

Kiersha Lou said...

I think I heard that he played last night. See, me & my bff are from Hershey but HATE the Bears and LOVE the Phantoms. For only the 2nd time, we'll be at the spectrum on sunday & were freaking out because Gratton is one of our faves.
Seriously, thanks a lot for the help!

Donna said...

Josh Gratton did play last night.

Email me (gabey8 at aol dot com) so I can let you know where my seat is for the game on Sunday. :) It will be nice to say hello!

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