Well, that was a weekend to forget. The Phantoms put up a goose egg in their trip to the land of cheese and cholesterol medication. I think it’s safe to say at this point that the best players available at the beginning of this June’s Phase I & II draft will be heading to Youngstown. The hole has been dug so deep that even the team’s trademark late-season pushes we’ve become accustomed to the past few years wouldn’t be enough to make any type of climb up the rankings. With only 22 games remaining, and the argument could be made that games that need to be made up could be forgotten about if a playoff spot or playoff seeding is not in play, the window on this season is closing fast. So at this point, just sit back and enjoy the fact there is hockey to watch. Because in a couple months the off-season begins and who knows what unsavory people will be sitting in our seats between then and the fall. 

 

Phantoms Season Chart last 11 games
Phantoms Season Chart last 11 games

 I made the point a few weeks ago that even though wins were still socially distancing themselves from the Phantoms, they were playing tighter games and were within striking distance late in games. That has all but gone away in the past couple weeks. In the past 6 games, Youngstown has only held a lead in two. It’s as simple as this, morale is low all around. Will this be the week when the losing streak ends? Let’s take a look at this week’s opponent.

 

Dubuque Opponent Chart after 5 games
Dubuque Opponent Chart after 5 games

The Fighting Saints return to the Covelli Centre this weekend for a pair of games. Like I pointed out last week, Dubuque has been our most fruitful opponent this season. But the last game proved how much the Saints have improved this season. But, it was only one game. Since the calendar flipped, the Saints are 9-1 when scoring first, and 2-6 when giving up the first goal. So this weekend, it may be as simple as the Phantoms getting an early lead. Like Youngstown, Dubuque has struggled when playing from behind. Early goals and who scores them could be very important this weekend.

 

Season Rankings Charts as of 3/10/21
Season Rankings Charts as of 3/10/21

For this week’s Eastern Conference rankings, the big move was Green Bay jumping back to the top of the “Time Leading” category. They went into last weekend trailing Chicago by 2%. After 3 games of throttling the Phantoms, the Gamblers made up that gap and returned to #1 in Time Led. Youngstown, after hitting a season high of 21% in Time Led, they have fallen back below 20%. And in “Time Trailed”, after getting to a season low of 45.8%, they are marching back towards 50%. Again, all trends are going in the wrong direction. But that’s hockey, and all teams will have a down season every once in a while. Let’s hope a slew of high draft picks this offseason put the Phantoms in a position to succeed next season.

So until next week, stay thirsty my friends!

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