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Phantoms weekly rundown: The penultimate edition

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Nearing the end here, gang.

Casey Liberatore / SB Nation

Where we are

Week of Apr. 4 - Apr. 9

GP W L Standing in Division
GP W L Standing in Division
3 3 0 5th

We’ve got a lighter group than we did last week, with only three games to talk about instead of five. The Phantoms kicked off this stretch with their last of their approximately four thousand meetings with the Penguins on Saturday. It’s been a tough season series, but the Phantoms took the last game, as they came out with some jump and took the early edge in scoring, with goals from Tyrell Goulbourne and Cole Bardreau in the first period. The Penguins got one back late in the period, but the Phantoms responded with two more (another from Bardreau and one for Byron Froese). The Penguins looked to rally, putting up one more in the third period, but the Phantoms held them off.

And then Sunday’s game... I didn’t watch all of that one live. I checked the score early when I was out, saw that the Phantoms were down 2-0 in the first minute, and felt sad about how things were going. And then I made it home for the third period and they were up 7-3. After that rough start, the Phantoms rallied back in a big way. Before the third period, the Phantoms gave up one more goal, but got goals from Greg Carey, Chris Conner (x2), Connor Bunnaman, Corban Knight, Carsen Twarynski, and Nic Aube-Kubel. And then early in the third David Kase got a goal as well and then the Penguins scored three in just about three minutes and we started to get a little nervous. But no need, Twarynski was awarded a penalty shot (which he converted on) and Colin McDonald got the empty netter and the Phantoms sealed things off. That’s ten goals in one game, for anyone counting.

We had a quick turnaround, and the Phantoms were at it again on Tuesday up in Hershey, closing out their season series, as well. This one started out quietly, with a pretty even first period that saw exactly zero goals scored. And then things got sort of symmetrical—the Phantoms scored two goals (Twarynski and McDonald, hello) in the first half of the second period and we coasted to intermission. And then the Bears scored two goals to tie things up in the first half of the third period and we kept things even for the rest of the period. And the Phantoms won in overtime! Bunnaman was the hero! They swept the week! Wow!

News

We’ve got one more brand new face joining the team! Well, not quite brand new. but new this season. Anyway. Felix Sandstrom has joined the Phantoms and should be getting in for one of the games this weekend. Welcome, pal.

Also Mark Friedman made his way up to the Flyers to make his NHL debut (and Phil Myers was sent down that same day) and now he’s back again! And so is Corban Knight, who was also sent down after the Flyers’ last game. The gang’s all back.

Leaderboards

Points

Player GP G A1 A2 P
Player GP G A1 A2 P
Greg Carey 72 28 18 14 60
Chris Conner 70 16 16 18 50
T.J. Brennan 61 9 14 20 42
Mike Vecchione 67 15 13 10 38
Philippe Myers 51 9 15 9 33
Connor Bunnaman 60 19 9 4 32
Nic Aube-Kubel 52 16 6 8 30
Phil Varone 22 11 9 8 28
Mikhail Vorobyev 42 7 14 5 26
Colin McDonald 67 11 6 9 26

Advanced Stats

Player GP 5v5 iCF 5v5 CF% Avg GS
Player GP 5v5 iCF 5v5 CF% Avg GS
Jori Lehtera 2 4 70.31 1.55
Phil Varone 22 46 51.52 1.17
Nic Aube-Kubel 32 68 51.27 0.52
T.J. Brennan 41 122 49.39 0.7
Greg Carey 49 121 48.85 0.81
Justin Bailey 10 33 48.58 0.66
Mikhail Vorobyev 32 41 48.1 0.5
Philip Samuelsson 49 106 48.07 0.22
Philippe Myers 48 192 48.03 0.56
Colin McDonald 49 118 46.76 0.35

Three stars

1. Phil Myers

It’s probably not much of a surprise that a player who was called up and made it abundantly clear that he’s an NHL player should be able to then come back to the AHL and look pretty dominant. It isn’t hard to imagine. But there’s something to be said for jumping back in with a different team and making an immediate impact, and Myers was able to do that this week. He played three games and picked up four points, all primary assists, and also aided in giving the Phantoms’ transition game a bit of a boost with his puck moving strength. In short, he looked like a guy who was too good to be there, because he is. But since the Flyers’ season is over, we’ll certainly take a couple more games of that.

2. Carsen Twarynski

It was the week of the kids, it seems, as the Phantoms’ youngsters were making their presence felt in this one. Twarynski’s had something of an odd season in that he’s been able to get himself to 12th among his teammates in points, with 24, but he’s just scored them in bunches so the road to that total’s been a little weird. But anyway, Twarynski picked up two goals and an assist this week, and seemed to bring a bit of extra jump to his game. He’s been playing something of an energy guy role this season, and he’s been doing it well, but it’s nice when we have these flurries where he reminds us that there’s some scoring upside going on here, as well.

3. Connor Bunnaman

This was a tough choice, for the last section, because there was so much offense generated this past week and there were a number of guys who deserved a nod. But we had to make the call. This time we’re acknowledging Bunnaman’s efforts, as he’s coming off yet another strong week. He picked up goals in Sunday (a power play goal) and Tuesday’s (the overtime winner) games, and served as a pretty constant offensive force. But really, he’s been doing that for most of the season. He’s still doing his thing out there, and gave the team just a little bit of extra jump to help them put together this nice little winning streak.

Two observations

1. We’re scoring goals now, huh

Remember not too long ago when we were complaining about how the Phantoms just couldn’t seem to score goals to save their lives? Well it looks like that’s over. They put up 17 over their last three games! and that’s a little skewed because, as we said, they put up 10 on Sunday and that’s not exactly a sustainable figure, but the feeling still remains. It was bookended by a four goal game and a three goal game, which is just about back to their season average. The offense was clicking. They went 2/4 on the power play over those three games. They seemed to be getting themselves up-ice better. All of the things they needed to happen were happening, and it’s not too surprising that these were the results they got. They were rewarded for their good work, finally.

2. Injustice

And with all of that said, it feels a little unfair, right? The Phantoms have finally gotten themselves back on track, have been putting together a good stretch of games recently, but it just hasn’t quite been enough. They put up ten goals on a divisional rival and they’re still going to miss the playoffs. And that stings. But this good stretch still needed to happen, if only just to let us know that they had it in them. You want to see them end the season on a positive note, to show a bit of resilience, and they’ve done just that. There are still two games left, but if they can hold steady through them, we can feel pretty good about how they’ve closed things out.

Where we’re going

It’s the final stretch, gang! We’ve made it to the end of the line! The Phantoms will play their final two games of the season this weekend. Up first they’ve got their last away game up in Providence tonight against the Bruins who are probably going to steal that last playoff spot away from the Phantoms. But we’re not bitter about it or anything. Moving on.

And then on Saturday they’re back at home to close things out against the Hartford Wolf Pack, it’s been a while since we’ve seen them, but as a refresher, the Phantoms won their last matchup 5-2 back in February. But it’s the last game of the season! It’s happening! And both teams are out of the playoffs. So we just hope everybody has fun.

All stats via Phancy Stats and theAHL.com