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Phantoms postgame: Phantoms 2, Rats 1

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  • Phantoms postgame: Phantoms 2, Rats 1

    Checking back on my three things to watch*in Friday’s game:

    1) Who gets the start in goal and how well does he play? The answer was Johan Backlund and he couldn’t have played much better. Barely in town 24 hours (something you can read more about in my game story on the main page) the Swedish import was superb. In the words of coach Greg Gilbert, “he stole the game.”

    Backlund’s lateral movement was especially impressive. He got the chance to show it off several times in the third when he was hung out to dry after a couple of bad turnovers. Not bad for a guy who didn’t sleep much the night before and said he had “tired legs.”

    Nic Riopel dressed as the backup.

    2) What will the attendance be? 2,039. Phantoms Vice President Mike Thompson told me on Thursday he’d be happy with 2,000, so I’m assuming he went home smiling. The number looked solid and the folks there were into the game. As everyone has said, the real test comes next Saturday.

    3) Will any ECHL players stand out? I should have clarified earlier that by ECHL players, I meant guys in the camp on invitation basis.I asked Gilbert after the game if any of those*impressed him and he pointed to forward Andrew Lord. Gilbert said there are things he needs to work on, but that he’s a good-looking player. Lord got flagged for a double-minor at the end of the second for roughing, but from my perspective it looked he was coming to a teammate’s defense. Not sure how get got flagged for two penatlties.

    The bottom line: A*win’s a win, but there weren’t very many style points here. The*Phantoms took too many penalties, including three while they were on the power play, negating the advantage. River Rats had seven power plays. On the bright side, you could say the penalty kill excelled. Gilbert also was unhappy with the turnovers and breakdowns in the defensive zone.

    Notes: The Phantoms wore their orange practice jerseys, the ones I saw getting unfolded way back in New Jersey… Glens Falls native Chris Brown was the referee… Dan Minor was the public address announcer. He*held the same job for*the Icehawks/Frostbite in the UHL days.

    – Tim