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Postgame: Phantoms 3, Bridgeport 2 (SO)

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  • Postgame: Phantoms 3, Bridgeport 2 (SO)

    Now, that’s more like it. Getting the win was great for the Phantoms — and much needed to stop a two-game skid — but even more important was the way they played: with passion, heart, and like they were finally heeding the words of their coach to let the puck rip.

    The question is, as Greg Gilbert put it after the game, “Why can’t we bring that every game?”

    Nearly everything the Phantoms did poorly on Friday they corrected Saturday. 52 shots vs. 21. Zero forecheck vs. a team willing to go in the corners. And so on.

    My game story focused on Nic Riopel’s first pro win and the excellent play of Phantoms old friend Scott Munroe (the Phantoms goalie for parts of four seasons in Philly). *Cool that Riopel got to do in front of his mom, girlfriend and grandparents.

    Munroe (50 saves) was terrific. Pat Maroon, who got the shootout winner, said it was weird to shoot on him. But he plans on giving him grief about falling for his deke. Maroon said he always went backhand in practice, so he changed it up and went forehand.

    Did you notice?

    That Riopel was the first player to notice that the Phantoms may have scored on Andreas Nodl’s shootout attempt that was ruled not a goal? Riopel quickly grabbed the referee and gestured that it went through the net. From upstairs, we all thought it went over. But after the game, someone in the Phantoms locker room showed me a cellphone picture of a puck fitting through a hole in that net. Hmm.

    – Speaking of that, when Riopel spent those couple of minutes protesting, I feared he’d lose his composure. Nope. He made the last two saves. He’s composed for a 20-year-old. You can see why he was the MVP of the Quebec Major Junior League last year.

    Nine of the team’s 13 first-period shots were taken by defenseman. Thanks to Connecticut Post scribe Mike Fornabaio for that one. Defenseman Sean Curry led the team with seven shots. Joonas Lehtivuori, Kevin Marshall and Joey Mormina each had four.

    The Phantoms 52 shots were a season high. They equaled their total from Friday (21) before 10 minutes were gone from the second period. As Gilbert said, it opened up some big rebounds and second chances.

    Bridgeport had a goal disallowed when Jesse Joensuu kicked one in the net. As Forabaio tweeted, would have been a hell of a goal in soccer.

    John Kalinski lost his helmet twice in the game. Maroon once.

    I support fighting in hockey. OK, more than support: I love a good fight. But I’m not a fan of premeditated, staged fights off the first faceoff like the one Maroon and Matt Martin had. They just don’t have the juice of a fight that comes from real anger, like after a cheap hit. I think the premeditated fights — they had the gloves off as the puck was dropping — are the ones that give fighting in the whole sport a bad name. I *had family at the game who are big time sports fans but not as into hockey. They had no idea why that was necessary or what was happening. *What do you all think? Does it matter that those fights may turn off casual fans?

    – I do, however, appreciate the message Maroon was trying to send. Someone needed to show life and he did. Funny quote from Maroon about the fight: “The fight went the opposite way.”

    – Tim