Sound Tigers fall 3-1 to Phantoms
Coming off a Game 1 tie on the road in Hartford the Tigers returned home and took their first loss at the hands of the Phantoms.
They were a little sluggish through the first two periods which was accurately represented by the shot totals of 10-6 and 11-7. Dubielewicz gave up an early goal which put them in a hole a minute and a half in. A defensive lapse down low resulted in 3 quick shots which was one too many. The second goal against game with about 5 minutes to go off a back door tip in that Dubie (sorry, I just can't spell that full name more than once per post) never had a chance on.
The Tigers got one back off some pretty power play puck movement that was converted by Rob Collins for his second of the season. The Phantoms regained the 2-goal lead off a very strange play. Randy Jones was sneaking in from the point and Kirby Law tried to find him with a pass. The pass was behind him and Jones had to spin around to reach out with one hand to catch the puck before it slid out across the blueline. He caught the puck and continued his spin sweeping the puck toward the net. It was headed about two feet wide but landed right on the tape of a crashing Peter White who tucked it easily past Dubie. Jones had no possible way of seeing White and could not have been thinking pass at all. It was just a throw it toward the net type play that just happened to become the perfect pass. It was a highlight reel type goal that I'd probably be talking a lot more about if it was scored by the home team.
The Tigers came on in the third played a much more effective period but couldn't find a way to beat Neil Little, who played very well. They carried the play and showed good pressure, effective forecheck and good puck control down low. But couldn't convert the pressure into high quality chances.
Even through two periods, without a lot of shots, they did have some quality chances that got away. A blueline turnover by Seidenberg created what appeared to be a breakaway chance for Derek Bekar but Seidenberg didn't give up on the play and caught Bekar from behind, and swept the puck away without Bekar getting a shot away. Another turnover at the blueline led to a chance for Mapletoft alone in front but he lost the handle before getting away a shot. Those were two of the best chances and they got away without forcing Little to make a save.
Puck movement on the power play looked very good. They only converted once but looked more effective on the power play than this team usually does very early in the season. Never gave up and put forward a strong third period but couldn't cash any in. Team showed a lot of speed, with the notable exception of Brandon Smith who looked very slow.
Could not match or respond to the Phantoms physical play. Defensemen were hammered repeatedly by physical forecheckers. There is no more DiPietro to play the puck and protect those guys and they took a beating they were not used to. Tiger fowards took their own share of pounding and it is a small group that could not deliver a pounding of their own in the offensive end. Timander played well and was their most effective defenseman but I was expecting him to be more dominating than he was.
Manlow didn't play tonight (injured) and he should help. And then there is the matter of Weinhandl. When he is ready to play he'll be the star of this team for as long as he's here. But the Isles need him so he won't be here for long. The question will be who comes here to make room for him on LI.
Great report Isle! I couldn't have said it better myself. It was also a pleasure meeting you and Survivor LI during the intermission. You both are very nice people and I hope to see you both again at upcoming Bridgeport games. I just got back from CT, as my family was visiting there too, so I stayed with them for the night in a hotel. But overlal, the Tigers looked very flat the first two periods and Philly took it to them. It looked like Rob Collins was going to get some life back into the Tigers by netting one in while on the PP making it 2-1, but Philly answered back as Peter White of the Phantoms put them back up two in the second period and they never looked back. The Tigers though had a very strong third period, but Phantoms goalie Neil Little had an even stronger third, stopping all 14 shots thrown at him, which included a 6-on-4 PP in the final minute and a half of the game while Bridgeport pulled Wade Dubielewicz. Dubie had a good start in his first professional regular season game. He kept on making the first save, but due to lack of defense, proceeded to give up the rebound. Here are some post-game comments...
-Concerning the loss, Coach Cronin said, "They (Phantoms) came out like a team that lost a tough game last night, and they were angry and had more of a jump to their step. The first ten minutes, we were watching the game and weren't anticipating anything. It was purely reflective on all three goals...It was too late at the end...Philly dictated the pace tonight."
-On Wade Debuielewicz, Cronin replied, "He was outstanding early. He had no chance on any of the goals."
-Rob Collins: "They (Phantoms) went harder to the net than we did and capitalized opportunities on the second chances."
-Wade Dubielewicz: "We were flat-flooted in the first two periods. We lost a few battles in our own zone. I'm not big enough to sit back in my net, so basically I came out and challenged the guy and he put the pass past me in the open net."
Thanks for the updates, Isle be back and Tom.
Not sure what to expect from the Tigers 2003-04. A veteran team is usually good enough to be competitive but so many of the forwards have changed and with Down and a few other regulars out for now it's still hard to get a read on Cronin and how he is doing with his first coaching job. It may take some time and after Mapletoft (a fifth round pick) and Weinhandl (if he plays for Bgpt) there is nothing in the way of prime top talent from a draft on the roster which is never good.
Any report on the condition of JEremy Colliton's shoulder?
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