The first period of the Phantoms/Monarchs game was pretty evenly matched… first. Nic Riopel the 21 year old goaltender who started his Phantom career on a shutout victory gave up 2 goals within 20 seconds of each other. It was really bizarre to watch, in an attempt to write notes about the game I was startled by the quick wrap around goal by Clune moments after the first by Holloway. In defense of Riopel, his teammates didn’t offer him much defense, it was completely collapsing. The game was tied 0-0 until the last 3 minutes of the game. Tired legs to blame? No excuse they were switching players out regularly and not only that I felt at the most inconvenient times as well. One minute left to play the Phantoms are on a break away guarded by 3 Monarch defenders and the coach calls to switch out players? Really? If they had men on the ice and not a lone solider maybe a play could have been executed and maybe a goal! That in my opinion would have been fantastic incentive for the team and a positive end to a lousy last couple of minutes in the first period. Shots on goal for the Phantoms 8 and for the Monarchs 15.

Three seconds into the second period FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!!!! Anyone that attends a hockey game loves a good brawl. The gloves go, helmets, and sticks fly and its on! The best part is the refs standing watching these guys go blow for blow. They are smart actually because if you do attempt to break it up they are likely to get socked with a left hook themselves. Usually a fight is officially over when someone is knocked off their feet or drilled up against a wall. All and all, clearly the Phantoms had some frustration that needed some attending to after the first period. The refs for the most part let the players play and minimal penalties were called unless they were blatant. Four minutes into the second period the Phantoms get a power play opportunity. Again the defense collapsed into submission of the Monarchs offense and they paid dearly for it. Goal 3 scored by Nolan. The Monarchs capitalized on what should have been an advantage for the Phantoms and with the next 5 minutes 3 more goals were scored on Riopel. Yes, 3 more goals. It was a bad second period for the Phantoms as well as Riopel. Shortly afterwards there was a goalie change from Riopel to Brian Stewart. Stewart sparked new life into the Phantoms defense as well as the offense. The man to man coverage worked in the Phantoms favor and Eric Wellwood scored the first goal for the Phantoms. Finally some life was added to the team and the defensive hustle picked up. But regardless of that or even player transition for the Monarchs they seamlessly lined back up on defense, much better than the Phantoms had the entire game. Even their puck handling skills were much superior as well. They made it look way to easy. Shot on goal for the Phantoms 16 total (another 8 for the period) while the Monarchs had 28 total.

The third period brought about more key goaltending from Stewart. The opponents goaltender faired very well also (Jones). He would taunt the Phantoms by slapping his stick on the ice, kinda like anytime now I’m ready for you. This entire game was first of a game of catch up for the Phantoms and second off strictly defense due to the lack of opportunity for a breakaway or shut down of the Monarchs defense. With 8 minutes left Greg Moore scored the Phantoms second goal. With 5 minutes to go the Monarchs had a huge advantage on the ice. It was 3 on 5. With the way the Phantoms defense had played all game, I think everyone was holding their breathe. Again Stewart saved the day deflecting shots and catching a racing puck to his net. Great display of goalkeeping on his part. The Phantoms managed the rest of the game without any other goals scored against them or without any more goals scored by them.

The new head coach Joe Paterson has his work cut out for him, but the Phantoms have a remarkable fan base within the Glens Falls community. The team does have heart and drive, they showed it throughout the game even with a 6 goal deficit, they never gave up.

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