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

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Phantoms vs. Norfolk Admirals, 4-5-09

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

Starting lineup: Munroe, Bartulis, Kane, Sirianni, Ross

The induction of Peter White into the Phantoms hall of fame took place prior to the game.

Matsumoto's line remains the same Szwez/Kalinski/JVR are also a line. The D pairs are the same as normal. The three remaining forwards are Raduns, Gratton, and Clackson and they are a line too.;

Two and a half minutes in, the Phantoms have the only shot on goal.

JVR parked at the crease's edge to try and screen the goalie/corral a rebound. Good thinking on his part. His line drew a penalty during that shift. So we are on the PECOOOOOO POWER PLAY with the Ross line, Syvret, and Kukkonen.

OMG OMG OMG Ratchuk does an end-to-end rush reminiscent of his first pro goal, and BURIES the biscuit for a 1-0 lead!

I didn't even have time to type in that we were shorthanded, with Bartulis off, before Laliberte and Matsumoto break in and score SH Laliberte from Guenin and Matsumoto, ALLL RIIIIIIGHT!!!

This was followed by a superb save by Munroe when the Admirals get the puck into our end – Muny is pumped to do HIS part to earn us that playoff spot, too. :)

Matsumoto makes another break Shorthanded, or at least we were shorthanded when he started rushing the puck. It was a 1-on-2 break, and the Admirals defenders included hooking among their attempts to keep him from scoring. So we get another PECOOOOOO POWER PLAY. Ross's line goes out with Curry and Ratchuk. We proceed to get a switch, as Kane goes up the tunnel holding his wrist. JVR comes out to replace him.

We go to 4 on 4 for 1:20 as Sirianni gets called for interference. That leaves Ross and JVR out with Kukkonen and Bartulis for the start of the 4 on 4. Kukkonen, BTW, still has jaw protection attached to his helmet Net up, Matsumoto/Laliberte with Syvret/Guenin as we go to the SH situation. Then Raduns/Kalinski.

Good, Kane and the trainer return to the bench.

Kalinski goes barreling up the ice on a 2 on 1 as our penalty expires. We got a couple of chances out of it, but no goal. Norfolk's goalie made a great save to keep the score at 2-0.

Aaaaw, JVR narrowly missed getting his first pro goal – he was breaking in on goal With Intent, but no dice this time. If he keeps that up, though, we'll see that pro point before the game is out.

Boy, did Ratchuk move fast to get to a loose puck near our net. We have had games in this season where we haven't gotten to stray disks first, but this is not turning out to be a night like that. Great!

LALIBERTE!!!! From Matsumoto and Maroon! Matsy's shot created a rebound that went way off to the side, but Laliberte was there to slam it over the prone goalie.

We proceed to get the Battle of the #15s, as Clackson and Brookbank go. Clackson gets the extra two for roughing. Gratton will sit in his stead. It was a somewhat long tilt that had Brookbank trying to pin Clackson in close and throw head shots. Clackson gave up a lot of size and reach, but apparently not much strength, because he fought out of the bear hug and got in some punches of his own. Brookbank seemed to throw more than Clackson, if we want to go by punch count, but I would say the quality of the shots was about even. I would say
“draw”, or :”slight edge, Brookbank”.

Raduns, Kalinski, Guenin, and Syvret are out on the PK for the final minute of the period.

At the end of the period, the teams are back at even strength, the Phantoms lead 3-0, and the SOG are Phantoms 12, Admirals 10.
WTH? A center-ice scrum that eventually separated into just Gratton and Henley looked fightish, till Henley.... turned and skated away mid-fight. If he was trying to make Gratton get the Betteann 17 (two for instigation and a ten-minute misconduct on top of the 5 for fighting), the ploy failed. All he got was booed and the players got coincidental majors.

I'm still not sure what triggered that outburst, though, really. All I know is that both Clackson and Gratton are in the sin bin at the moment, and I'm not too happy about it. I don't want to see shenanigans going on out there with our two best fighters in the box. Fortunately, though, Clacker should be done with his two-minute extra penalty soon. His waltz partner is already finished with his fie minutes and came out at the last stoppage in play.

Szwez is on the ice with Kalinski and JVR. Which tells me, among other things, that we are letting our other most physical guy be out there while we await Clackson's return.

Maroon was denied on a POINT BLANK shot by a superb save. No matter what the demeanor of his teammates, their netminder Kowalski most definitely came to play.

Ross made a slick play, looking like he was about to crash the net with the puck, only to jam on the brakes and let the defender go past him. He got a clear shot on goal off, but unfortunately an Admiral was in better position to get to the resulting rebound before Sirianni could fire it home. Nice move, though. :)

Here we go on a PK, as Szwez gets called for hooking. Ross and Kane proceed to break out in a 2 on 1. We don't get a shot but we come darn close and we kill some time off the clock into the bargain.

Back at our end, Guenin blocks a shot.

Next up: Matsumoto/Laliberte with Bartulis and Kukkonen.

The Admirals appear to have tried to turn it on during this period, as they went from being outshot to outshooting us. As the period ends Kane shoots on a 2-on-0 and Kowalski makes the save. The score remains 3-0 Phantoms. SOG are Phantoms 17, Admirals 24.
Yikes, Laliberte and an Admiral I can't identify crashed into one another and the boards at the blue line and both went down stunned. Laliberte got up slowly, but the Admiral got some assistance from the trainer before getting up. What do you know, it's #15, Brookbank, who also got called for roughing. However, someone else is serving his penalty (Buck), so we will have to see if Brookbank returns to the game.

POSTAGE, dang it. We had a few chances so far during this PP, but the most recent one found iron. Then Norfolk made a shorthanded rush, at which point Guenin blocked a shot.

Surprise, we get another PP moments after the previous one ends. Let's try this again, shall we? We got some more opportunities in this man advantage, but all we did was close the gap on the shot clock a bit more. With 10:4 remaining in the period, the SOG are now Phantoms 25, Admirals 28.

BOY did Guenin ever block a shot. That's at least the third time he has laid out flat on the ice to cut off a shooting lane. This time, he swept his stick and cleared the oncoming puck out of harm's way.

On Norfolk's next attempt, our defender took the body and the puck slid gently in toward Munroe all by itself. He easily sticked it aside.

Our rush with 8:01 remaining in the period resulted in yet another penalty against Norfolk, so let's see about cashing in this latest PECOOOOO POWER PLAY. We start with th Matsumoto line, Curry, and Ratchuk. Yiii... on our next shift, Kukkonen's shot from the top of the slot nearly nailed Kane at the crease's edge. Fortunately, everyone was in one intact piece by the end of that sequence. Ross's line is out with Syvret and Kukkonen... as the PP expires, Kalinski, Szwez, and JVR are out with Curry and Ratchuk. With 5:34 remaining, SOG are even at 28-28.

Just as we reach the final minute of the period, Guenin gets called for slashing. So we get to wrap up this game on the PK. At least we can ice the puck at will. Matsumoto, Laliberte, Kukkonen, and Bartulis are out.

Or we could go to 4 on 4 instead, with 36.2 remaining. Ross and JVR are out with Ratchuk and Curry.

And there we go – the game is over, we've won our remaining game in hand, and now it's the Phantoms who are in 4th place by one point. We have a game in Albany on Wednesday, one at home on Friday vs. Hershey on Friday, and a game in Hershey on Saturday. Count them all as must-wins for us to control -our own destiny and secure that final playoff berth.


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