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Phantoms 2, Penguins 1: Putting Mormina?s season in perspective

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  • Phantoms 2, Penguins 1: Putting Mormina?s season in perspective

    I think at times this season Joey Mormina has gotten a bad rap from commenters on this blog. I’m not saying he’s had a great season — how many Phantoms have? — but I don’t think he deserves all of the ire he’s occasionally drawn.

    With his game-winning goal Sunday against his old team, Mormina set a new career-high with five goals and 16 assists. *That leads all Phantoms defensemen and is eighth on the team. *Mormina had a goal and three assists this weekend. He also blocked a shot in the 4-on-3 penalty kill in overtime.

    As a guy who was a plus-37 a year ago, his current minus-8 is nothing to write home about. But*Mormina sees a ton of ice time. Hamilton is one of the few places that keeps track of that stat and they had him at 32 minutes recently. I assume he’s often close to that. *He’s also playing all the tough minutes against other team’s top lines and killing penalties. When the game’s on the line in the waning minutes, like the 4-on-3 penalty kill in overtime Sunday, Mormina is always on the ice. The coaches trust him.

    I think part of the reason he’s frequently noticed here for mistakes is just because he’s on the ice so much. And at 6-foot-6, there’s no hiding. In the context of the Phantoms season (a minus 37-goal differential) his minus-8 isn’t as terrible as it looks. Only Lehtivuori, who is even, is not in the negative among Phantoms defensemen.

    He’s also an intelligent guy and a good voice in the locker room that isn’t filled with vocal guys.

    Anyway, just a thought. I’m not nominating him for the all-star team, just trying to give some context to his season. If nothing else, we can agree he likes that part of the ice. His game-winner, by the Penguins bench, was nearly identical to where he pumped in one against Hershey this season.


    – The Phantoms scored five power play goals in three games this weekend to move from the bottom of the league rankings.

    – David Laliberte and Denis Bodrov were both out with injuries and are day-to-day. Laliberte has an oblique strain.


    One of the benefits on an afternoon game is getting to spend more time talking in the locker rooms and getting more in-depth stuff. I think there’s some revealing stuff in here.

    Joey Mormina

    On the Phantoms’ playoff chances:

    “We had a goal to win every game this weekend, and you know, fell short Friday night. But it’s never too late. From here on out we play a playoff team almost every night. So if you beat them it’s a four-point swing. We’re just trying to play well. Everything has something to play for whether you’re in the playoffs or not. Guys playing for contracts, playing for callups, whatever it is, but everybody’s got something to play for.”

    On things getting test against his old teammates:

    “It’s just a big game for both teams, kind of chasing each other out there. Friends off the ice, enemies on the ice kind of thing. I still have some friends on that team but it’s important for us to win.*It felt pretty good. I kind of had a bit of a side bet with one of their guys about who was going to score the winner. Turns out I won five bucks.”

    Johan Backlund

    On building off this weekend:

    “Like they say, it was a must weekend for us to get some points or else the chance of playoffs would have been gone. We knew we had to win at least two or three games. So it was huge for us. I hope we can build on this. We’ve been in this situation before where we won two straight and then we lose so, hopefully we can get together Tuesday and talk about it. We have to win now to make the playoffs.”

    Greg Gilbert

    On the power play’s improvement:

    “We’ve been working on it a little bit. We haven’t been working on it a whole lot lately because there’s other things we have to work on, more so the five-on-five. But the guys have been getting better. We’re moving the puck quicker, we’re handling it a little cleaner. And we’re starting to run the options we’re looking for. We’re staying with the plan and the problem we get into early in the season is guys are on their agenda. Three guys thinking one thing and two guys thinking another. And now we’re running options and looking for situations and the guys are starting to capitalize on the chances they create.”

    On Mika Pyorala, who scored a power play goal:

    “He’s been outstanding. There’s a reason he’s a plus-7. It’s a great learning tool for the other guys on the team. He works just as hard, if not harder, without the puck then he does with the puck. That’s why he’s a plus-7 and not a minus. He goes into every confrontation or battle with a plan of either a) how to eliminate the opposition player or b) how to eliminate him and get the puck at the same time. That’s what good hockey players do and he’s a very smart hockey player. He’s got those numbers for a reason. It’s not by luck. It’s because he knows the game, he does the little things well and he excels at it.”

    On the physical play of Sean Curry and Rob Bellamy:

    “I thought for the most part Currs played pretty hard. He looked a little slow at times but I think that’s just the wear and tear over playing so many games. Rob Bellamy did the same thing. He banged some bodies. I know some guys came away from those hits a little sorer than they were before.”

    On Mormina’s blocked shot in overtime:

    “That’s what wins you hockey games. It’s those little things, those details. Matt Clackson blocked one on the five-on-five situation earlier in the period. That’s part of the game, you have to do it. You have to be committed to sacrifice your body for the rest of the team. Those guys did, especially Joey on the 5-on-3. That’s what it takes to win. That’s what breaks the will of the opposition.”

    On taking five out of six points this weekend:

    “It could have been six if we finished off Hershey like we should have. It was a battle. Three tough teams coming in and we played pretty hard and found a way to get five points out of the six. We’re proud of the guys. They battled and they’re in a tough situation. That’s the way we have to play the rest of the way in. It’s a good weekend for us.”