Friday, April 22, 2005

The Phantoms' first playoff game of the season is in the books. We defeated the Norfolk Admirals, 3-1. This was the first game of a best-of-seven series. We have home ice advantage, but the games will be played in a 2-3-2 pattern. Tomorrow night is our second game, so we had BETTER focus on winning it. The last thing this team needs is to head to Norfolk for the next three games with the series tied 1-1.

I'm very proud of how the team came back to win after falling behind 1-0. They really, really buckled down. Not that they gave a less than full effort during the regular season, mind you, but tonight their full effort seemed several notches more intense.

I give the Phantoms the edge in this series, but in order to win, we're going to have to bring our A game every night. We had a more successful season and we're healthier overall [KNOCK WOOD] than Norfolk, and IMO those factors skew the odds in our favor a bit.
But I guarantee you that Norfolk is not going to go away quietly. So we're going to have to EARN wins in this series -- Norfolk's certainly not going to give any ground without a battle.

The winner of this series will have to face either Binghamton or Wilkes-Barre. Ugh. Those two teams BOTH gave us fits all freakin' year. I hope they have a 7-game series with multiple OTs every freakin' night. ;o) Or shall I say that I wish them the same sort of physical first round that we had last year (vs. Norfolk, incidentally), that left us all kinds of worn down when we faced our next opponent. And may we be the team that's fresher and healthier going into the second round, this year, instead of the exhausted, black-and-blue, walking-wounded team. That's not asking too much, is it? ;o)

Somehow, I have a feeling that even if Bingo and W-B wallop the living daylights out of one another, our own path to the next round will involve compiling an impressive collection of bruises of our own. Norfolk is a physical team, and so are we. Beating them will mean withstanding whatever they can throw at us. That will be no mean feat.

Go, Phantoms -- win on Saturday, too! :o)

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