- Written by Justin Irwin
- Category: Game Recap
- Hits: 860
In a game where pink was supposed to be the cerebrated color, the Sioux Falls Stampede managed to light the area behind the Phantoms net a depressing red. They tallied 6 goals on 31 shots while the Youngstown squad managed just 1 in 26. The Phantoms, already missing head coach Anthony Noreen and leading scorer Kyle Connor were also without the services of team captain Alfred Larsson. Also on the scratch list were Keifer Sherwood as well as a couple defensman, Lukas Klok and Steven Ruggerio. Their counterparts were also missing key players, namely their top 3 scorers in CJ Franklin, Dennis Kravchenko and Zeb Knutson. The Phantoms, however, looked like a team missing it's leaders.
The Phantoms started the night with Sean Romeo. Romeo never looked right in net and gave up 3 goals on 10 shots and 2 out of his first 3. The first goal came just 3:26 into the game and the second just :21 after. The closed the first out with a 3-0 lead by scoring the 3rd with only :23 left. The Stampede opened the scoring with a 2-on-0 break away and the last of the period looked to change direction a bit on Romeo but we've seen him make these saves before and his movements did not look as quick as usual. I can only speculate that his groin injury has reappeared and he was trying to play through it.
Colin DeAugustine would replace Romeo in the second and he looked sharp most of the game. He made a lot fo tough saves early on but the Phantoms we just not able to generate the kind of offense they needed to take pressure off their goalies. The lone Phantoms goal came on a power play. Truman Reed got the puck to Luke Stork who made a move to the faceoff circle and ripped it past the Stampede netminder, David Jacobson. This seems to be the bread and butter spot for the Phantoms shooters. Storks 7th of the season brought the score to 4-1. It was lights out for the Phantoms offense from there on.
The Stampede would add a pair of goals after that. The first came on a play that looked like it should have been blown dead. DeAugustine appeared to have the puck covered as the Stampede lived up to their name and stampeded the Phantoms cage. Somehow the puck came out from under the prone netminder and squirted into the net as it was being dislodged from it's moorings. The officals did not seem interested in a replay either. Sioux Falls closed out the nights scoring with a powerplay goal, their second with the man advantage. Connor Valesano ripped a shot past DeAugustine so fast and hard it hit the bar at the back of the net and sprang out so quick it took a second for the refs to call it and the light came on after that.
If there was a bright side to the game it was affiliate forward Anthony Siderio. He and another affiliate forward, Kevin Conley were called up for the weekend and the 16 year old Siderio's skilled skating and good decision making were evident quickly. Conley, a 17 year old, also looked good on the ice. Both should see a lot more ice time tonight if the Phantoms don't get Larsson or Sherwood back.
The real issue was on defense. With a lot of the teams leadership off of the bench, the backside guys seemed to fall apart from the start. Fredric Larsson, in particular, had no composure and took 3 minor penalties throughout the night. The Swedish defensman has taken a lot of penalties so far in the season and took too many tonight. He's only 4 minutes behind Josh Nenadal for the most PIMs on the team and that's counting the 10 minute misconduct he took late last night, and game ejection, for continuing an altercation. Nenadal is an alternate captain, and that's not how you show leadership.
The Phantoms now have to forget about last night and suck it up. The fans need to see something from their team tonight as they play the Stampede again. Maybe they need to have to have Noreen FaceTime in on an iPad between periods to yell at them. We need some guys to step up their game. I'd like to see a lot more defensive game. I'd like to see more guys throw the puck to the net and look for rebounds or a lucky bounce. The Stampede sure got them. and if guys are going to play a chippy game, bring it early not in the 3rd when your down 5 goals. I guess we'll see and I'll let you know tomorrow.
- Written by Justin Irwin
- Category: Opinion and Editorial
- Hits: 1239
Sorry (again) for no recaps from last weekend; I didn't catch the games. I can easily find a few talking points and I think I'll focus on the 3rd period. Remember when things went so well last year? We were dominating teams in the 3rd period, our period! We coughed up 3 goals in the 3rd to blow a 2 goal lead to the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. The 'Riders are a solid veteran team and we out played them most of the game. This is what happens if your not careful and finish a team off and losses like these hurt you in more than just the standings. The NTDP's U17 kids know this already. The Phantoms had more than a few chances to tie the game in the 3rd against Team USA and couldn't finish on any of them.
Now we enter a couple weird weeks. It's World Junior A Challenge time. Kyle Connor is just in his second year and we already have come to expect he'll miss some games here and there for tournaments. What's new to us this years is that we'll be missing bench boss Anthony Noreen who will be assisting Green Bay's Derek Lalonde along with Sioux City's Mark Abalan. I can't say enough just how much each of these guys deserve their spots, USA Hockey should be lauded for their selections here. I've seen some arguments about their player selection but I won't comment on that here. A head coach is a big spot to be missing for a couple weeks but we have to pull through and I can't imagine a better tandem than Brad Peterson and Michael Zucker to hold the reigns in absentia Noreen.
This weekend out opponents are the Sioux Falls Stampede, coming in 2nd in the Western conference at 7-2-1 15pts. For their part they'll be without their top line of CJ Franklin, Dennis Kravchenko and Zeb Knutson who will be joining Connor and Noreen in Nova Scotia. These guys figure in most of the Stampede's scoring. This is a huge break for the Phantoms but don't kid yourself, there is still some latent potential there that could use the increased ice time to break out. They have a solid defensive crew with a bit more experience than ours, something to keep an eye on. They have one of the best goalie tandems in the league with David Jacobson and Arthur Brey, the latter being acquired after he was released by Dubuque. The netminders haven't put up the stellar records of last year though and despite having such a good back-end the Stampede are no strangers to giving up an unhealthy amount of goals in a game.
The Phantoms will be bringing in a couple affiliates to fill slots with Connor out. Forwards Anthony Siderio (1996) and Kevin Conley (1997) will suit up this weekend, wearing #10 and #14 respectively. Also noteworthy is that the Phantoms officially dropped Jake Moore and added Colin DeAugustine. the USHL announcement came this morning on Twitter. No word from the Phantoms yet. Moore played badly but I think he deserves some credit for hanging in there and hopefully he's getting a look from teams elsewhere. I won't speculate if DeAugustine will get the nod in a game this weekend but Romeo hasn't been exactly consistent coming off his injury.
I guess I should wrap up with some sort of storyline for the weekend. I guess the game plan should be KISS, keep it simple (something.) Without Noreen on the bench we need to focus on little details and not turning this into a run-and-gun game. Line changes and on ice match ups are a good place to start. I wouldn't mind seeing some defensive hockey this weekend, insulating whoever is in net. Also, with Connor and Noreen out I'd like to see the veteran leaders step their games up. In particular, captain Alfred Larsson and alternate Josh Nenadal could be more prevalent on the scoreboard. in 23 combined games the two have only 4 assists (Larsson 3, Nenadal 1) and 0 goals. Larsson's leadership is evident on the ice but he a -13 in the +/- column, Nenadal is -8.
Also tonight is breast cancer awareness night and I don't have any pink to wear
- Written by Justin Irwin
- Category: Opinion and Editorial
- Hits: 1118
Well this is going to be a short, generic preview. Things are getting to the normal grind. There are no major stories to report this week, at last not anything official. Romeo should be starting at least one game, I would expect both with there being a night off between the games. I suppose I have to put some spin on it, so how about payback weekend. Both teams we face have been off to great starts that included stealing a game a piece from the Phantoms in the 3rd Period.
Tonight the Phantoms take on the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Cedar Rapids has played the fewest games in the USHL and come in 4-1-0. Despite playing half the number of games that Youngstown has played, they've scored 1 more goal. The goals have come from 16 different players but most seem to be funneled through Andrew Poturalski and Jason Kalinowski. Sunday night, the Phantoms take on Team USA (U17) in Ann Arbor. This years U17 is, IMHO, one of the best I've seen and certainly one of the quickest to get everyone in synch. They have a lot of scorers and play makers.
The strategy should be the same for both games - play tight and stop the bad goals. Both games we played before were winnable, tied in the 3rd period. Now that Romeo is back between the pipes, we just need to keep it simple. We need to capitalize on our chances and play our game, not match theirs. Sounds easy, right?
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