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Postgame: Phantoms 2, Toronto 0

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  • Postgame: Phantoms 2, Toronto 0

    If you had to pick an MVP for the Phantoms 15 games into the season, it’d be a toss up between Jon Matsumoto and Johan Backlund. Figures that they both factored into this win.

    Matsutmoto has scored seven of the team’s league-low 34 goals. No one else has more than three (Stefan Legein has five combined with his time in Syracuse).

    How do you have a winning record (8-6-1-0) when you’ve scored just 34 times in 15 games? By only allowing 37. Backlund and Nic Riopel have been strong in goal and the young defense that has seen a lot of turnover — three of the seven from opening night are gone — has fared well.

    For more number crunching on the defense and Backlund’s strong play, see the game story. The Phantoms killed the nine penalties and four different two man advantages (two 5-on-3 power plays, a 6-on-4 when they pulled their goalie late, and the usual 6-on-5 when they pulled their goalie in the final minute).

    Did you notice?

    – Both times the Phantoms have lost back-to-back games this season, they’ve responded with back-to-back wins.

    – Josh Beaulieu played on the right wing of the Krys Kolanos/Jared Ross line. Jason Ward was scratched for the third straight game. Gilbert said he’s banged up, but that it was a coach’s decision. As for using Beaulieu in that spot, which has been a revolving door between David Laliberte, Stefan Legein, and Jason Ward:

    “I wanted a guy who is going to go in there and bang and crash. (Jared) Ross isn’t a banger and crasher, even though he competes, and neither is Krys (Kolanos). I tried to put someone in there that was going to go into the corners, go into the dirty areas and scrim out the pucks for them.”

    Beaulieu has played on every line this season except the top one with Matsumoto. He’s centered the checking line and now played winger on a scoring line. Look for more on his role and versatility in Saturday’s paper.

    – Other than his goal, Matt Clackson made another great hustle play. Toronto had a two-man advantage in the first period and Clackson was one of the guys in the box.*When his penalty ended,*he raced from a loose puck and made a diving clearing attempt up the boards to relieve pressure after a long Toronto stay in the Phantoms end.

    – A good chunk of the Dineen family was in attendance. Gord Dineen is an assistant with Toronto. Pete Dineen, a scout for Columbus, was in the press box and their father Bill watched from the catwalk. For you Philadelphia readers, Bill is a legend in Glens Falls — coached the Adirondack*Red Wings for a decade and won two Calder Cups.

    – Christian Hanson, son of former Red Wing and Slapshot hero Dave Hanson, plays for Toronto. He earned a double-minor for spearing Kevin Marshall near some sensitive places.* Dave Hanson played two seasons here between 1980-1982.

    – Nice crowd for a Wednesday night in November. The*attendance was a season-low 2,823, but second-highest of the eight games in the AHL Wednesday (Abbotsford was still going on when I wrote this). Here are the figures from around the league:

    Manchester: 3,614
    Adirondack: 2,823
    Houston: 2,603
    Worcester: 2,271
    Albany: 2,101
    Rockford: 1,795
    Springfield: 1,737
    Hartford: 1,731

    Adirondack is 17th in the league in average attendance with 3,820. The only New York team with more is Syracuse (4,678). Rochester, despite having the second-most points in the league, is 25th in attendance (2,511). Binghamton is 19th (3,557) and Albany is 22nd (3,336).*

    You can check attendance on the AHL site by clicking here.

    – Tim