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

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.


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