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Phantoms weekly rundown: First road trip edition

A trip down South, now back again.

Heather Barry / SB Nation

Where we are

Oct. 22 - Oct. 29

GP W L SOL Standing in Division Points Percentage
GP W L SOL Standing in Division Points Percentage
2 1 0 1 5th 2nd

News

More roster movement, folks! Matthew Strome, Gerry Fitzgerald, and James de Haas were recalled to the Phantoms on Monday. Then yesterday, Philippe Myers, German Rubtsov, and Carsen Twarynski were recalled to the Flyers, while Mikhail Vorobyev was loaned to the Phantoms, and Samuel Morin loaned to them on a conditioning stint.

Also, and not to be overlooked, the Phantoms (and I) got to hang out with puppies this week. For your dose of wholesome content.

Leaderboard

week deux.csv

Player GP Goals Assists Points CF% Controlled Entry% Controlled Exit%
Player GP Goals Assists Points CF% Controlled Entry% Controlled Exit%
Morgan Frost 7 2 4 6 52.42 80.95 76.47
German Rubtsov 7 1 5 6 44.55 66.67 58.33
Joel Farabee 4 3 1 4 69.14 68 72.22
Mikhail Vorobyev 5 2 2 4 58.65 68.42 57.89
Andy Andreoff 6 2 2 4 53.91 45 61.54
Philippe Myers 6 0 4 4 59.89 36.67 63.93
Maksim Sushko 6 3 0 3 42.05 72.73 62.5
Nicolas Aube-Kubel 7 2 1 3 58.97 75 68.97
Greg Carey 6 1 2 3 47.31 41.18 35.29
Isaac Ratcliffe 6 1 2 3 50.48 71.43 33.33

You can check out the full points, shot metric, and transition leaders here.

Three standouts

1. Maksim Sushko

Sushko has been something of an unsung hero for pretty much the whole of the season—he had a solid preseason up with Philly and has been picking up steam still through his first six games in Lehigh. He’s tied for the team lead in goals with three, and has provided a nice bit of consistency in scoring, playing in a depth role. And that’s important—with all of the roster changes, it’s nice to see that there are players already showing signs that they’ll be able to bring a bit of stability. Sushko’s game hasn’t been perfect, as we’re still hoping he can bring those shot attempt numbers up, but his transition numbers are good, and he’s showing some promise, and still standing out against some of the bigger names.

2. David Kase

If we, for some reason, were putting together an award for “most improved from week to week,” it would go to Kase. He made his return to the lineup the weekend before last, and it definitely looked like it was his first game back, after missing the first few games of the season. But last weekend, after a few good practices and placed on a line with Morgan Frost and Greg Carey, he looked much sharper and more engaged. We saw him doing more flying around and being disruptive, closer to what we’ve come to expect from him as a player.

As we noted with Sushko, we’d like to see him pull those underlying numbers up some, but he’s only played three games, so we won’t get too worked up about that yet. If nothing else, he’s taking steps in the right direction.

3. Alex Lyon

I want to be clear here, before we get rolling—both Lyon and J.F. Berube looked solid in their starts on the weekend, and even though we’re not highlighting Berube here, we’re still feeling good about his play.

But Lyon had the bigger workload on Friday, facing 38 shots, which is the most the team has allowed in a single game all season. The Phantoms had to rally back in this one, and looked a little out of sorts at times, struggling against the Checkers’ aggressive forecheck, and Lyon had his work cut out for him, keeping the team in it. But he held steady and played a solid game, giving the skaters as much space to work with to make their late-game push. He’s been good through the whole of the season, but it was nice to see him excelling with a more difficult workload.

Two loose observations

1. On driving play

Big news folks: we like the Phantoms’ start because they’re playing well, but also because they’re getting the results while still posting a sound underlying process. On the season, the Phantoms have averaged a 52.16 CF%, a 46.27 Controlled Entry%, and a 54.90 Controlled Exit%. The Phantoms are getting the better of the shot attempt share, generally speaking, while also doing well to move the puck up-ice in transition with possession. And these are both things that we know tend to lead to more offense generated. So this is all to say that, unlike last season, we don’t have to feel like the positive results early in the season are just a fluke and that the wheels are bound to come off eventually. It’s all working well together.

2. What do we do now?

The Phantoms have their first big challenge ahead of them, with these changes to their lineup that have come over the last week or so. it will be nice to have Vorobyev back, but it’s hard not to get a little worried about what the losses of Joel Farabee, Myers, and Rubtsov will mean for the rest of the team. The good news is that this team does have a lot of talent, top to bottom, and this shouldn’t break them, but they are going to have some work ahead of them. The lines and pairs will need to be shuffled a bit, and that means it’s going to take some time for chemistry to be built up. We’re hoping that they can pull it together quickly, but we’ll also acknowledge that it may well take a bit of time for everyone to get settled.

What’s on deck

The Phantoms are back in town tonight against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for their second meeting of the season, where the Phantoms will be looking to pull further ahead in the season series, after nabbing a 4-1 win in their first meeting.

And then after that, the Phantoms are off to Bridgeport for games on Saturday and Sunday to complete the three-in-three. The Sound Tigers are off to a rough start, sitting at last in the division, but they’re a team that’s given the Phantoms some trouble in the past, and they’d do well not to look past them.