Defensive breakdown and a punchless power play hurt the Phantoms in a 4-1 loss to Syracuse on Friday night.
GLENS FALLS -- Terry Murray's a defensive coach, but his defense was awful tonight in a 4-1 Adirondack Phantoms lost to the Syracuse Crunch. The coverage was atrocious and lackadaisical, and rookie goaltender Cal Heeter, try as he might, couldn't make up the difference.
"The spacing got too big, the support for everybody got further away every shift it seemed like," Murray said after the game. "We saw it in the third period, and I addressed the team after the game, the last 10 minutes of the third period -- from our goal line all the way to the red line, we're behind their defensemen. It's impossible to make those plays."
Lackadaisical is a really nice way to describe the Phantoms game against the Crunch this Friday.
In the defensive end, they were just all over the place. There were unacceptable gaps in coverage, giving the speedy, talented Crunch too much room to work.
"They attack with speed real well and seem to find trailers in the zone," defenseman Danny Syvret said.
It's not necessarily as though the Phantoms can't hang with that Syracuse speed. It's really that they didn't try. Just gave them far, far too much room to work. Three of the Crunch's (Crunches? What the hell?) four goals were unassisted. That's a decent indicator of how much room these guys had to work with all night. The defensive zone coverage was definitely the biggest concern for the Phantoms on Friday.
On the offensive side of the puck, the Phantoms got plenty of chances. They had seven power plays -- and should have expected that considering Syracuse has taken 76 minor penalties in eight games -- and had their opportunities on those power plays, but ultimately just couldn't find the back of the net with enough frequency. Zero-for-seven on the power play is always a losing formula. While they were able to get pucks on net, not many chances could be counted as quality, and the number of giveaways they ceded while up a man was laughable.
Brayden Schenn's game was a big concern tonight, and while we'd like to chalk it up to one bad game, people who have watched the Phantoms all season long thus far have said that he's looked ugly all year. We'll have more on this later in the weekend.
In the meantime, I think this town has beer to drink. For full coverage of tonight's game, keep up with our StoryStream.