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Norfolk 2, Phantoms 1: ?The chances were there?

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  • Norfolk 2, Phantoms 1: ?The chances were there?

    When you score as little as the Phantoms do, the margin for error is impossibly slim. In many regards, the Phantoms played well Saturday night. The defense gave up very little — a goal through a screen and a shorthanded goal sparked by an offensive zone turnover — and the offense created 37 shots. It was kind of the flip of Friday, when the Phantoms were outshot 29-19 but won, 2-1.

    But it’s the quality of the chances that matters more than the quality.

    “We were a lot of perimeter,” Phantoms coach Greg Gilbert said. “We werenít getting pucks to the net and getting greasy second and third opportunities outside of a few chances.”

    A few notes to come out of this that I touched on in my game story:

    – Trent Daavatilla was sent to Kalamazoo after the game.* Defenseman David Sloane and the injured Josh Beaulieu won’t make the trip to Rochester.

    – This was the second time in a week (Rochester on Sunday) that the Phantoms allowed a shorthanded game-winning goal.

    – Of the Phantoms first 46 games, 24 have been decided by one goal, 15 of those at home. That’s a ridiculous amount of one-goal games, but that’s what happens when you can’t score.

    – Five teams entered play in the East Division Saturday night within five points of each other. The Phantoms are now in a tie for third with Norfolk. The third spot will likely be the last playoff spot in the conference. Norfolk, which has won five of its last six and has a six-game point streak, has moved from last to third on its current road trip.

    – Of the two new players, defenseman Denis Bodrov and forward Mika Pyorala, Bodrov was much more impressive. Bodrov is a flashy skater and made a couple of brilliant pivots to keep the puck in the zone on a 4-on-4 in the first period. He also set up Marc-Andre Bourdon for a good chance. I didn’t notice Pyorala much. Here’s Gilbert on their debuts:

    On Bodrov:* “Denis Bodrov looked real good. Heís got real good hockey sense and vision. He made some real good plays on pinches and keeping pressure in the offensive zone and keeping the puck in. The way he played tonight is very good for someone who hasnít played in a long time.”

    On Pyorala:* “Mika, I think he was getting some of the rust off. He hasnít played in four or five weeks (actually since Jan. 14).*Throw him in the action and hopefully heíll be better tomorrow.”

    Pyorala has one shot and was minus-1. Bodrov has two shots and played even.


    – That veteran Sean Curry and fan favorite Matt Clackson were the two who sat to make room for the new guys?

    – The great shift by the checking line of Garrett Klotz, Ryan Dingle and Rob Bellamy that led to Norfolk taking a penalty 4:32 into the game?

    – That the Phantoms fell asleep on the first shift and allowed a tremendous chance? John Grahame made a great save but the shot never registered on the scoreboard.

    – That Grahame again got no goal support? This was the fifth time in his nine starts the Phantoms scored one goal or less for him.

    – That linesman Rich Patry had a tough weekend? Patry got hit in the head with a puck Friday and was ran over by two players on a faceoff on Saturday.

    – That Logan Stephenson made a terrific, sliding play to break up a 2-on-1 breakaway?


    Greg Gilbert

    On Justin Keller’s shorthanded goal:

    “We had three guys and they were outbattled by two. You donít win the battles youíre not going to win the war. They found a way to get a shorty and thatís twice in the last week where a shorthanded goal beat us. We have to be a lot better.”

    On the Phantoms’ chances in the 6-on-4 power play to end the game:

    “I think the one we probably could have made a better decision was that wide shot, I donít know who shot it, that went out of the zone. We had them tired and under pressure and it gave them time to make a change, get fresh legs out there and regroup. We had chances. We had point-blankers and couldnít finish. Hopefully theyíll start going in for us.”

    On not being able to finish chances:

    “We had opportunities. The chances were there and we just couldnít bury them. Tokarski came up with some big saves. We had spurts of activity, but consistently period-to-period-to-period and shift to shift we didnít have a whole lot of penetration five-on-five. We were a whole lot of perimeter. We werenít getting pucks to the net and getting greasy second and third opportunities outside of a few chances. You have to play the same game every night and we just didnít get those little things done tonight.”

    Justin Keller

    On Norfolk’s 5-0-1-0 record since Jim Johnson took over as coach:

    “I think guys are just willing to play for him. I think anytime things get changed up and shaken up like that everybody realizes how valuable there job is and how easily it can be taken away. So Jimmyís a great guy, heís preaching the right things and weíre all buying in. I think it was more of an attitude thing that anything. We maybe changed one or two things systems-wise, but as far as the attitude goes around here itís definitely changed a lot from him taking over.”

    On his short-handed goal:

    “There was kind of a turnover down in our end and it got caught up in some skates and grabbed it. I was skating down with (Mark) Parrish, and I think I was going down with Mormina, and I donít know if he thought I was going to pass or what. I got in and just fired it low blocker and luckily it went in.”

    On the competitiveness of the East Division:

    “I think definitely in this division itís always tight. I think we went from seventh to third on this road trip in six or seven games so far. Itís tight. One weekend you can be up, the next you can be down and every point, whether itís an overtime point or a shootout point, you need every single point.”

    What did you all see?

    – Tim