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Phantoms weekly rundown: Injury bug season strikes early

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Please... enough....

Heather Barry / SB Nation

Where we are

Nov. 9 - Nov. 14

GP W L OT/SOL Standing in Division Points Percentage
GP W L OT/SOL Standing in Division Points Percentage
3 1 1 1 6th 3rd

News

We haven’t had much movement this week, and that’s probably for the best. James de Haas was called up from Reading on Saturday, but that’s about it.

Leaderboard

Player GP Goals Assists Points CF% Controlled Entry% Controlled Exit%
Player GP Goals Assists Points CF% Controlled Entry% Controlled Exit%
Morgan Frost 14 5 7 12 55.72 74.29 80.77
Greg Carey 12 5 5 10 46.94 40.91 40.74
Kyle Criscuolo 13 4 3 7 49.04 46 63.16
Andy Andreoff 10 3 4 7 56.19 45.71 57.14
Andy Welinski 8 2 5 7 50.34 25 67.74
Cal O'Reilly 13 1 6 7 47.09 45.83 62.5
Mikhail Vorobyev 11 3 3 6 54.97 61.11 61.29
Maksim Sushko 13 3 3 6 46.91 64.71 61.54
German Rubtsov 11 1 5 6 46.43 66.67 58.33
Nicolas Aube-Kubel 14 4 1 5 49.79 30 69.05

Full team points, shot metrics, and neutral zone numbers here.

Three standouts

1. Mikhail Vorobyev

It’s been something of a rollercoaster for Vorobyev over the last couple of week, with all of the up and down between the Flyers and Phantoms. He was sent back down in time for Saturday’s game against Hershey, and if we were expecting that we might take a bit of time to adjust again, we’d be wrong. In the first period he stripped an opponent of the puck on the penalty kill and started off on a breakaway for a goal. You can watch it for yourself, because it was pretty spectacular.

We’re not just making him our first standout because of one very flashy play, we should note, he had a solid week across the board, settling right back in and keeping to his usual defensively sound game more than anything. But to demonstrate a high-skill play like that one immediately after being sent down is kind of a great tone setter—Vorobyev isn’t getting down after the demotion, he got right back out there and kept doing his job and pointed out very clearly for everyone “look what I can do.”

2. Kyle Criscuolo

Criscuolo picked up a goal in Sunday’s game against Hershey for his fifth point in his last six games. He seems to have been picking up some steam down this last stretch of games, and we’re seeing him skating well and as such looking even more dangerous on the rush, and doing well to generate some very nice chances. We would have liked to see him rewarded for more, but one goal is a start.

As the season wears on, and we continue to see injuries and call ups throwing wrenches in the offensive works, we’re going to be talking more and more about consistency, and who’s able to produce even when the team in general seems to be looking for its footing again. And it looks like we might be getting our first indication that Criscuolo could be one of those players.

3. Greg Carey

Remember last week when we said it looked like, after a bit of a slow start, Carey was getting himself back on track and into old form? Well, it really seems to be happening, folks.

Wednesday’s game felt like a bit of a blast from the not so distant past--the end of last season--while the team in general struggled to generate offence, Greg Carey came in clutch with a goal to keep them in the game. He had a strong offensive week, in general, picking up points (two goals and an assist) in his last three games. This brings him up to 10 points in 12 games, and just like that, we’re back to the consistent production that we’ve pretty much come to expect.

Two loose observations

1. The penalty kill picks up steam

The Phantoms’ penalty kill had themselves a solid week, going 11 for 12 on the week (which included killing off a double minor) and bringing their season average up to 80 percent. We’ve more or less come to expect that the Phantoms will have a strong penalty kill, with the coaching staff’s emphasis both on good defense up and down the lineup, as well as just due to the aggressive system that they run on the PK. It allows for more disruption, and that exactly what we saw this week--on the whole, their opponents didn’t have a lot of time to set up once they were in the offensive zone, if they were able to get a clean entry in the first place.

It’s been slower goings for them to pull that average way up, despite their overall good efforts, because they’ve also been shorthanded the second fewest times in the division. It’s the same thing we saw last season, but if they keep with this sound process, the numbers will reflect that eventually.

2. A moment to contextualize

We like to chance every couple of weeks to sort of pull back and look at the full picture of what’s going on with the team. Things are a little weird right now. They’re still in the mix in the middle of the division, in the area that will eventually turn into the hint for a playoff spot, as the season goes on. The offense has cooled off a bit, but they’re still picking up some standings points. They’re also a little beaten up right now--beyond all of the roster movement that keeps players coming and going between Lehigh and Philly, they’re dealing with a handful of injuries--Connor Bunnaman, Mark Friedman, and Chris Bigras (presumably)--that could see players out for an extended period of time. It’s injury and call up bug time, folks!

It’s going to take a bit more time for things to get settled again, and even if the process wasn’t perfect over a stretch of games like these three, it’s important that they were still able to salvage half of the available points, when it was all said and done.

What’s on deck?

We’ve got something of a normal weekend coming up. The Phantoms are on the road for a back-to-back tonight and tomorrow. They’ll kick things off up in Binghamton against the (ahem) last-in-the-North Devils for their first meeting of the season.

And then they’re in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday! Yes, those guys again! They’ve passed the Phantoms in the division standings, but Lehigh Valley has taken wins in two of their three meetings so far, and picked up a point still in the third. So we’re hoping that this matchup stays good to them.