Sharks 3, Phantoms 2 2/16
Phantoms coach Terry Murray said it was the match-up the Phantoms wanted. It was the one they had gone with pretty much the entire game, and the trio had done a good job at keeping the line at bay. But Mangene lost the draw cleanly back to their defenseman. The winger, John McCarthy, rolled back to the boards and they got the puck to him. He hit Freddie Hamilton in the slot for a one-timer.
"That's just coverage," Murray said. "That's just a fundamental play."
One that showed just how quickly things can change. One instant the Phantoms are thinking there's a good chance this one goes to overtime and they get a standings point, the next Hamilton is blasting a one-timer off the crossbar and in. Murray said it stinks to lose that that, but that's how things happen.
"They win a face-off and that’s how quickly the game is over. … It looked easy when you watch it, but they made a couple good plays," Murray said. "They made a very good play on the face-off win."
Mangene thought he won the draw. He lost sight of the puck and then saw it appear at the point. He went toward an uncovered player in front of the net. Sort of a mix-up, he said. He thought Scott Munroe was screened and didn't want to do anything to screen Munroe any more, but tried to move a guy out of the way. While all this is happening, Hamilton winds and fires to drill one past Munroe.
“The bottom line is I have to win that draw,” Mangene said.
After that happened, the Phantoms got a lot of chances down at the other end of the ice. But it again came down to winning face-offs. They were looking for a clean win to their right defenseman, Murray said, which would have set up a set play. They never got it, but they adjusted anyway.
"That's a big part of the game," said Phantoms winger Jon Sim, who scored and set up Garrett Roe's second-period blast. "They're battling for their lives too. They want the puck just as much as we do. I thought we did not a bad job recovering the pucks on our power plays and even at the end of the game. We still had a couple good chances. We just have to bear down and bury those pucks."
Sim probably came the closest to tying the score. A puck bounced hard off the end boards and he tried to dig it out and flip it over Alex Stalock's pad, but couldn't elevate it enough. Sim said it was a matter of centimeters there, and I tend to believe him. Would have been something to come back and tie it after allowing a backbreaker like they did so late in regulation, but tomorrow's another day.
Clifton Park native Nick Petrecki, a fourth-year pro defenseman for Worcester, finished scoreless with four shots and a roughing minor. I caught up with him, his father Mark and Worcester coach Roy Sommer before the game. You can read more about Petrecki in Monday's Saratogian.