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Phantoms' Worse Loss of Season Termed "Disgusting"

Friday, December 13, 2002

By David W. Unkle
SJSports Staff Writer

If you wanted to compare his personality to former Flyers coaches, the names of Roger Neilson or Terry Murray might pop into your head instead of Mike Keenan or Pat Quinn. John Stevens is soft-spoken and does not use the fire and brimstone approach to win hockey games. He knows what it takes to win have served as Captain on the Phantoms Calder Cup winning team a few years back. After tonight's 6-1 loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Stevens displayed emotion rarely seen in the last two seasons.

This is probably the only game (of the season) that we did not have a chance to win, said Stevens, with his stronger sentiments yet to come. It was disgusting for whatever reason, we didn't compete they way it was necessary to win a hockey game's the guys inside the locker room who are going to have to start winning some hockey games...if we're looking for someone else to help us here, we're all in big trouble. It's up to each one of us to be better and to come to doesn't matter how skilled you are, if you have skill and you don't work, you're lost.

After spotting Philadelphia a 1-0 lead early in the first period on Ben Stafford's power play goal, the Penguins came out to play in the second period. Erupting for five unanswered goals in the second period sent Phantoms' starting goalie Matt Yeats to the bench and the game out of reach before the third period began.

Matt Murley (2PPG, 2A) and Shane Endicott (2G) did the most damage from the Penguins’ side of the red line but the Phantoms' undisciplined style of play tonight primarily accounted for the loss.

I think we started the game the way we wanted to but we seemed to lose focus and took way too many stupid penalties...we basically gave them the game...they didn't beat us, we beat ourselves, said Kirby Law.

The usually steady penalty-killing unit of the Phantoms failed tonight, surrendering four power play goals (all in the second period). Coming into the game, the penalty killing units were 24 for the last 28 (85.7%) and 144/170 (84.7%) on the season.

The Penguins ravaged the Phantoms for four second-period power play goals and were 4-9 on the night.

At the end of the first period, we got away from our game plan and tried to do too much in the neutral zone, said defenseman Peter Vandermeer. Pucks weren't going in the nets and guys were trying to do too much themselves and it ended up costing us instead of helping really cost us tonight.

However, it was the overall work ethic of this team that had Stevens frustrated the most. Whether its even strength, penalty kill, or power play, you've got to be hungry for loose pucks. When there's a loose puck up for grabs and time and time again it comes up with a black jersey (Penguins player)...that's usually an indication of your work level compared to the other team and we were severely out-worked by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton hockey team.

I was embarrassed as to the way we competed; I was embarrassed as to the way we lost our composure. That's not what we're about here...we're a blue-collar hockey team that always puts work in front of what we're about and that didn't happen today.


Matt Murley and Shane Endicott of the Penguins and Peter White of the Phantoms were chosen as stars of the game by David Unkle of WNJC 1360-AM/South Jersey Sports On-Line.

Prior to tonight's game, the Phantoms' penalty killing was 24/28 over their last six games.

Photos by Pedro Cancel

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