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Phantoms 3, Lowell 2 (SO): ?A huge win?

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  • Phantoms 3, Lowell 2 (SO): ?A huge win?

    It’s a small sample, but over the past two nights the Phantoms have played as if they learned something on Wednesday night. It’s amazing the difference a couple of days and a couple of wins cane make in such a tightly-packed playoff race.</p> Pat Maroon took some heat for saying he believed the Phantoms would still make the playoffs, but this team is very much alive. With 60 points, they trail Wilkes-Barre/Scranton by two for the fourth spot in the East. More importantly, the fifth place team in the Atlantic, Bridgeport, lost its second game in a row. They have 63 points. If the fourth place team in the East has more points than the fifth place team in the Atlantic, then no cross over occurs. Imagine the good shape they’d be in they held on against Syracuse?

    If the Phantoms do make the playoffs, they can thank the Atlantic Division. The Phantoms are 11-7-1-1 against Atlantic teams.

    Notes

    – What do you make of Jon Matsumoto jumping Tim Sestito at the end of the first period? One hand, have to love that he stood up for Joonas Lehtivuori. On the other hand, a bad time to get a penalty you’re already on the penalty kill, especially with Lowell being on of the top power play teams in the league (3rd rank).

    – Johan Backlund made his fourth straight start. Expect the Phantoms to really try and ride him to the finish. He’s been spectacular the last two nights.

    – There probably aren’t too many hockey players from St. Louis, but two of them met in the shootout when Pat Maroon scored on Mike McKenna. Maroon’s uncle actually coached McKenna. Jared Ross told Maroon to go five-hole, but Maroon had a different thought process (which you can read about in my game story), or below in the quote section.

    – The Phantoms will be auctioning off the Olympic jerseys they wore this weekend on EBay starting Wednesday. Although, after two wins, you wonder if maybe the Phantoms want to keep them around a little longer?

    QUOTES

    Pat Maroon

    On backing up his words, so far, that the Phantoms would make the playoffs:

    “Like I said before, if we keep playing like this I don’t think any team can stop us right now. We just have to keep playing the way we’re playing, just get the pucks in, play hard and keep the game simple. We make the game so hard on ourselves. We shouldn’t be doing that. We have such a good team. If we just keep the game simple, we win games like that.”

    On how badly the needed the two points:

    “That was a playoff atmosphere right there tonight, a playoff game basically. We had to win that game, and we did. I’m glad our team battled through, it was a hard-fought game.”

    On his thought process on the shootout goal on his hometown buddy:

    “Jared ross told me to go 5-hole. I know Mike Mckenna real well. He’s from st. louis, my hometown… He’s a big goalie in net, so i figured if I deke, he’s going to go down low, so I just shot it high glove. And sure enough, it went in.”

    Greg Gilbert

    On the team’s overall play:

    “I think we still quicken some things up, especially our puck movement at times. But I thought the guys competed real hard, they battled hard. Both teams battled hard. It was a playoff game out there. Not so much end to end, but tight-checking and both goalies played well.”

    On Matsumoto’s penalty:

    “We shouldn’t have taken that penalty, probably. “It’s a plus and minus thing. Matsy was there to defend a teammate, but at the wrong time. It happens. We had a little mistake on that 5-on-3 and they found a way to exploit it.”

    On playing against the pace and style of the Devils:

    “It’s one up, four back and you have to try and penetrate that box in the neutral zone. You try to create some speeds and get pucks moving in behind to catch two guys and three guys up. We found a way to get behind them and create some stuff, but not as much as we’d like.”

    LINEUP

    Same as Friday.

    Scratches: Injured — Krys Kolanos, Denis Bodrov. Healthy — Rob Bellamy, Ryan Dingle.

    Lines: Maroon/Matusmoto/Legein; Pyorala/Ross/Laliberte; Nodl/Kalinski/Ward; Klotz/Beaulieu/Clackson.

    – Tim





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