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Postgame: Phantoms 2, Hershey 1

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  • Postgame: Phantoms 2, Hershey 1

    This may be one of the easiest recaps all season. The Phantoms won for two major reasons on Friday night:

    Johan Backlund and their special teams.

    First, Backlund. I wasn’t at the game in Syracuse so I have no idea how responsible Backlund was for any/all of the six goals in that game. But I do know that in the three times we’ve seen him at the Civic Center, the big fella’s been sharp.

    Hershey’s high-powered offense cranked out 27 shots and Backlund made all but one stop, when he was beaten on a ridiculous two-on-one down low that he had no shot of stopping. Just a few minutes earlier he popped way out on a breakaway to turn back Francois Bouchard.

    I asked Kevin Marshall, whose first career goal won it, what he liked about Backlund. Calm and focused, Marshall said.

    The Phantoms only got one chance to turn around their power play, which was a dismal 1 for 17 coming in. But they made the most of it, scoring to take a 1-0 lead and spoiling the Bears perfect 17 for 17 mark on the kill.

    Even more importantly, the Phantoms killed five Hershey power plays.

    Marshall’s game-winner in the third was as crazy as you’ll see. Jason Ward fired a puck that the Hershey goalie deflected behind the net. Chaos ensued as suddenly five guys in two separate collisions hit the ice, including Hershey’s Greg Amadio, who went off injured.

    The puck drifted out to the slot and Marshall calmy rifled it over all the carnage to score.

    Lines: Kaspar/Kalinski/Beaulieu; Maroon/Matsumoto/Laliberte; Nodl/Ross/Ward; Klotz/Matsumoto/Clackson. Defense: Bourdon/Jones; Bartulis/Curry; Marshall/Mormina w/Ratchuk sliding around.

    Bottom line: Backlund + improved special teams = best effort of the season. I’m still waiting for this team’s offensive firepower to show itself. These guys can do better than 15 shots.

    What did you think?

    Check back tomorrow afternoon for a brief Albany preview.

    – Tin