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Phantoms weekly rundown: Not ideal!

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The losing streak lives on.

Heather Barry / SB Nation

Where we are

Nov. 15 - Nov. 19

GP W L Standing in Division
GP W L Standing in Division
2 0 2 6th

News

The roster moves never stop, apparently! Morgan Frost was called up to the Flyers on Monday, and Carsen Twarynski was sent back down. Additionally, yesterday the Phantoms announced that they’d recalled Pascal Laberge from Reading.

Leaderboard

Leaderboard

Player GP G A P CF% Controlled Entry% Controlled Exit%
Player GP G A P CF% Controlled Entry% Controlled Exit%
Greg Carey 14 5 7 12 48 40.91 40.74
Morgan Frost 16 5 7 12 53.47 57.14 80.77
Andy Welinski 10 3 5 8 52.21 25 67.74
Cal O'Reilly 15 1 7 8 47.6 45.83 62.5
Mikhail Vorobyev 13 4 3 7 53.3 61.11 61.29
Kyle Criscuolo 15 4 3 7 48.12 46 63.16
Andy Andreoff 10 3 4 7 56.19 45.71 57.14
Maksim Sushko 15 3 3 6 45.83 64.71 61.54
German Rubtsov 13 1 5 6 50 66.67 58.33
Nicolas Aube-Kubel 16 4 1 5 60.08 59.52 69.05

Full team points, shot metrics, and transition numbers here.

Three standouts

1. Andy Welinski

The Phantoms had a bit of trouble generating offense during their last two games, and what makes all of that feel even stranger is that a good bit of the offense they did generate came from an unlikely source. Welinski picked up one of the Phantoms’ only two goals of the weekend on the power play on Friday. He had three shots on the weekend, and hit the post twice as well on Friday, and his offensive game seemed to have some jump. The defensive side was sound as well, no complaints there, but in a stretch like this one where offense is hard to come by, we’re appreciate of his efforts on that front, as well as some of the work he’s done to stabilize the power play. Good stuff.

2. J.F. Berube

It feels a little weird to award a standout spot to a goalie who only saw one start on the weekend and had it end in a loss, but that really isn’t an indication of Berube’s efforts in that game. We’ll be talking more about this later on, but the Phantoms really struggled, particularly early, in Friday’s game with turnovers and giving up quality chances, which means that Berube really had his work cut out for him. Despite these breakdowns, they made it out of the third period scoreless when it really could have been closer to 3-0. The Phantoms were in it through much of that game, even after the Devils took the lead, and that was the true testament to Berube’s game. He kept it from being over before it really even started.

3. Cal O’Reilly

We’re kind of breaking our own rules here, putting O’Reilly in this section, because he’s actually had a pretty quiet start to the season. He’s standing out in our brains by not standing out on the ice? Sure.

Given his track record (67 points in 67 games last season in Iowa), we know that he can generate offense and do so pretty consistently, but this season it feels more like I can go a whole game and only really notice him doing something a couple of times. It’s not that he’s been bad, just somewhat unremarkable, which doesn’t really jive with the expectations we had for him, coming into the season.

Two loose observations

1. Trouble in transition

We’ve talked about it probably ad nauseum by now, but we’re here to talk about it just a little more. We’re just going to look at the numbers for Friday’s game, because that’s all I have tracked right now (I’m doing my best out here, folks). The Phantoms have been having a bit of trouble getting the puck up-ice, but not quite in the way that we’re used to.

Looking at their numbers from Friday, the Phantoms were controlling 51.35 percent of their exits, which is pretty good! They were breaking out with possession pretty consistently. The trouble, then arose once they hit the neutral zone. The Phantoms generated 30 more exits than they did entries, and too often found themselves either being cleanly denied an entry or losing the 50/50 type battles for possession in the neutral zone and being turned around and sent right back into their own end.

Additionally, they were only controlling 42. 59 percent of their entries into the offensive zone, which is below their average for the season. And this is obviously a small sample that we’re looking at here, but what it suggests is that the Phantoms may not have been as attentive to their details as they could have been. The possession play which makes generating offense wasn’t there. These issues all seem to compound each other, and this is the result we get.

2. Giving up too much

We alluded to this when we talked about Berube’s performance in Friday’s game, but it was a tough weekend for the Phantoms in terms of the quality of the chances that were allowed.

Above is the shot map for Friday’s game, but the same concentration happened again in Satuday’s game against the Penguins as well. A few turnovers and breakdowns gave way to some really ugly high danger chances against, but the theme in general was that they just weren’t doing as well to clear the porch, if you will. Five goals allowed on the weekend, then, doesn’t sound quite as bad, considering the number of quality chances they were giving up. So there’s still some tightening up they’ll have to do, defensively. Missing Philippe Myers and Mark Friedman certainly isn’t helping, but we’ve seen them be able to play tighter team defense, earlier in the season. They just have to get back to it.

What’s on deck?

We’ve got three more games coming up this week! First up, the Charlotte Checkers are in town for games tonight and Friday. The last time we saw them was during the Phantoms’ first road trip of the season, when they picked up a win and a shootout loss against Charlotte. They’re still struggling a bit to start the season, sitting three points behind the Phantoms in the standings at seventh.

It’s the same case for the Belleville Senators who are in town on Saturday. They’re 6-3-1 in their last 10 games, but they’re still seventh in the North and averaging 3.88 goals allowed per game. Which is all just to say that, on paper, these are some winnable games, if the Phantoms can work to right the ship.