Hello Phantoms fans, hockey fans, and number geeks! I took last week off due to the postponement of the Youngstown-Green Bay series. As of now, it’s all but certain that these games will not be made up. Add that to the two games with Dubuque that will not be made up, and barring any future cancelations, the Phantoms will end up with a 49 game season. When it’s all said and done, especially with the way the season started, this is nothing to sneeze at.

And thanks to the insanely high tree pollen count this past week, I would know a thing or two about sneezing.

While I have this pulpit, let’s talk about the phenomenon known as the “Dad Sneeze”. This has been a running internet joke for about a year now, that when a man reaches a certain age, his sneezes become louder and more forceful. There is a reason for this. Anyone that is reading this around my age (37) or older, ever try to suppress a sneeze and pull a back muscle or feel like you bruised a rib? Exactly. So I, and many others, let them fly the way God intended. I can take a nap and need a trip to the chiropractor afterwards. (Shoutout to Dr. Joseph Scott)

As you can see, I really don’t want to talk about this last weekend with Chicago, and have chosen the act of sneezing to delay the inevitable. And I feel I have ridden that horse as far as it can go, so let’s get into the numbers. We’ll start with the Phantoms last 10 games.

Phantoms Season Chart, Last 10 Games

Fluke /flo͞ok/ noun 1. an unlikely chance occurrence, especially a surprising piece of luck.

A fluke. That’s what Muskegon coach Mike Hamilton called Friday’s loss to Youngstown, a fluke. I am well aware that this is a down season for the Phantoms. Thankfully, it’s not the worst in recent memory. Doing a little research, I found that the 2016-17 Cedar Rapids RoughRiders finished the season with a .233 win percentage. The 2010-2011 Chicago Steel finished with a .217 win%. The Phantoms currently sit with a .300 win%. So, not the worst. But back to the Jacks.

Long term success is by no means guaranteed in this league. A 75% player turnover from season to season. And if you hit a multi-season stretch with incredible results, someone is going to come along and offer that Coach/GM/Team President 3-4 times the money they are currently making to be great for their franchise. The Jacks have been good, if not great, the past handful of seasons. History says that their downtime is coming due. And when they have that season where nothing goes right, and they manage to win a game against a revamped and rising Youngstown Phantom team, best believe I will be shouting that f-word to anyone within earshot. I know we’re not exactly the league darlings, but this “kick ‘em when they’re down” mentality the Eastern Conference has for us this season is a little pathetic. So without any further ado, let’s take a look at where the season series with Muskegon stands after last weekend.

Hello! And welcome back to this week’s “By The Numbers”. For anyone new, this is a blog that breaks down what I have named “Gametime Percentages”. These are the amounts of time in a game, and the season in total, that a team in the Eastern Conference has been scoreless at the beginning of a game, how much time they led, have been tied and have trailed. This was a project that was birthed out of how not good the Youngstown Phantoms have been this season.

Now, I could have easily linked to my first post, which explains all of this in much greater detail. But, I’m filling page space because I absolutely do not want to talk about the game this past Sunday in which the Phantoms lost 9-0 to the Team USA U18s. I mean, we’ve seen some bad games this season, but this one.... Ohh, see what happened there, I did what I said I did not want to do. Whew! That could have gotten ugly. Anyways, let’s go to the charts!

While the Phantoms have snagged 2 wins in the past 5 games, and this is a reason to celebrate for sure, once again the numbers are sliding in the wrong direction. The Trail % is creeping back closer to 50%, and the Phantoms have not held any lead in 3 of the past 4 games. With a 3 game set against Muskegon on tap for this weekend, based on the history of this season, this could push the Phantoms back into the dreaded sub-20% Lead Time and above 50% Trail Time. But stranger things have happened. A weekend sweep will be some delicious crow to eat. Now, about those termite infested Lumberjacks…

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