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Postgame: Hershey 5, Phantoms 1

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  • Postgame: Hershey 5, Phantoms 1

    Maybe it’s the injuries, maybe it’s the callups, maybe it’s any number of things, but what you saw Friday night was the gap between an elite team in the AHL and where the Phantoms are right now. And that’s not particularly good — last place in the East Division.

    My weekly column/notebook takes an extended look at the scoring woes — they’re last in the league by far — so I won’t detail it all again in this space, but here’s the gist: the Phantoms have scored seven goals in their last seven games just more than two per game for the season.

    Why? Coach Greg Gilbert says no one is going to the net: “When the pucks go there, there’s nobody there. We’re allowing ourselves to get pushed out of that area.”

    In a quote I used in the game story, Gilbert called it “a soft game.”

    Perhaps harder to swallow is the question of effort. Are the Phantoms giving enough? It’s not for me to say — though I do notice Rob Bellamy and Stefan Legein noticeably play every shift hard — but here are some quotes from Gilbert to chew on:

    On the need for someone to make an impact during a time when five regulars are injured or with the Flyers: “I’m still waiting for people to step up. Some guys compete hard, other guys I don’t know what they do out there.”

    Commenting on the hustle of Joonas Lehtivuori, who was out with an injury: “He’s probably the smallest kid in our room outside of Legein and he competes his back side off. He’s fearless. It’s unfortunate that some other guys with bigger bodies don’t have the same mentality.”

    More than anything, I sense Gilbert is frustrated that the same things we’ve been talking about for 20 games — turnovers at the blue line, defensive zone lapses, etc. — *don’t seem to be any closer to fixes. Gilbert said, “We’re not a smart team because we keep making the same (mistakes) over and over.”

    Notes:

    – On the bright side, terrific, loud, standing-room-only crowd of 5,148. *That’s the third SRO of the season. Phantoms VP Mike Thompson said advance is looking good for other upcoming games.

    – Any momentum the Phantoms had when Krys Kolanos cut the Hershey lead to 2-1 was killed when Logan Stephenson took a penalty on the next shift and the Bears converted the power play.

    – Danny Syvret cleared waivers and joined the team from the Flyers. He was a minus-3 Friday, but he hasn’t played in almost two weeks. He’s an offensive defenseman, and all-star in the AHL, and will be a big addition. He lost his Flyers job as former Phantom Oskars Bartulis emerged.

    – Injury update: Lehtivuori is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Josh Beaulieu is out 7-10 days with an upper-body injury.

    – Not a bad debut for Tyler Daavettila. He played even and had one of the best chances of the night, a breakaway nicely turned aside by Michal Neuvirth. Much more on him later this week: basically, this time a year ago, he was playing in an amateur league.

    – The Jon Matsumoto line, great all year, had a rough couple nights. Matsumoto is minus-7 the last two games, Stefan Legein is minus-5 and Pat Maroon is minus-3.

    – Defenseman Joey Mormina is minus-6 the last two games, but he’s seen an incredible amount of ice time. With Lehtivuori leaving after the first on Thursday and Stephenson getting a game misconduct in the second period, the Phantoms finished with four defensemen against Binghamton.

    – Tim



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