Phantoms Get Bit By Wolves in 5-1 Loss
Saturday, February 16, 2002
By David Unkle
SJSports Staff Writer
February has been a rough month for the Phantoms with one win in their last six games (1-2-3). Last night's 5-1 loss to the Chicago Wolves at the First Union Spectrum did nothing to reverse their misfortune. In their first game following the AHL All-Star Game, the Phantoms looked a step or two behind the Wolves and their unusually porous defense allowed Chicago too many scoring opportunities. Odd man rushes and players left alone in the slot or at the side of the net were commonplace last night at the Phantoms end of the ice.
Chicago came into the game with a six game unbeaten streak (6-1-3 in their last ten games). The Wolves' Bryan Adams opened the scoring at 7:07 of the first period giving Chicago a 1-0 lead in the first-ever meeting between these two teams. The two teams traded power play goals with Pavel Brendl scoring his 11th of the year on a nice shot in the slot on a pass from John Slaney at 15:15. The Wolves' Steve Maltais scored his 20th of the season on a power play at putting Chicago back up 2-1 with 36.5 seconds to play. Maltais completed his hat trick in the only scoring of the second period. Following a fire drill in the Phantoms' own end complete with blind passes and multiple turnovers to the other team, Maltais banged one home from the high slot for his 21st at 5:59. He completed the hat trick with a high shot to Ouellet's short side at 10:04.
Darcy Hordichuk had an interesting combination for the Wolves; a goal, an assist, and a major penalty. The 6-1, 215 pound left winger was involved in the most excitement the Phantoms generated all night; a six player battle at 11:19 of the second period resulting in game misconducts for the Phantoms' Jim Vandermeer, Craig Brunel, and Francis Lessard and the Wolves' Garnet Exelby and Dan Snyder. The Phantoms were forced to play the remainder of the game with only four defensemen. Hordichuk closed out the night's scoring with his 3rd of the season at 11:59 of the final period.
The Jekyll and Hyde specialty teams of the Phantoms continued last night; the Phantoms killed off 5 of 6 Chicago power plays but scored on only one of four opportunities with the man advantage. Goalie Maxime Ouellet stopped 21 of 26 shots on net and clearly kept the score from resembling a Wings' lacrosse game. "It's not about goalies, it's not about defensemen, it's about...the team playing defense and tonight we just didn't play very good defense...we feel if we work hard that we can beat any team." said Ouellet.
Photos by Pedro Cancel