Cobras and pythons: Lehigh Valley postgame

Can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Brent Thompson talk about getting 40 shots a game.

How’s 43? Not enough.

“At the end of the day, we haven’t done enough to bury them,” James Wright said. “We’d be lying if we said the guys weren’t frustrated. … The only way to change it is hard work.”

Worse, they’ve said tonight that Joe Whitney is done for the year. Specifics are yet to be announced and treatment is, apparently, yet to be determined. But they are not expecting him back.

Without him, they put together a couple of dominant periods sabotaged, again, by a couple of shifts.

“If you look at the first period,” Thompson said, “you’d expect us to be ahead 2-, 3-0, not them. It’s obviously very disappointing. Frustrating. At the end of the day, I know the guys at least care. They played hard. They didn’t quit.”

The first 10 minutes, especially, were overwhelmingly Bridgeport’s. They’d had a good shift to draw a power play. They’d had some good chances after that power play. They’d gotten another power play and done some good things with it. The numbers were stark. I had shot attempts at 12-1 before the Phantoms got a couple right before Kevin Czuczman was nabbed for cross-checking Colin McDonald.

The Phantoms scored on the power play. Then 83 seconds later, a penalty shot: 2-0. A fantastic 20 minutes, momentum they could’ve used to get out of this funk: Gone.

“When it rains, it pours. We’ve got to find a way out of it, quickly. They know it,” Thompson said. “The only way to do it is together, a 20-man unit.”


Oh, the header reference: See the gamer. (There may’ve been some intensifiers in Thompson’s statement.)

Looking for positives, Thompson mentioned Ryan Pulock, and yeah, he has had a few good games. “He’s playing a lot of minutes. He’s a key piece of the team right now,” Thompson said. He also pointed out Verhaeghe’s looking stronger.

Bridgeport has lost six in a row in regulation for the fifth time. Three of those streaks came in calendar-year 2011, then one more last season that stretched out to a 10-game losing streak overall.

Was Kyle Burroughs, involved in a couple of first-period bits of mayhem, surprised the game was as testy as it was? “Yes and no,” Burroughs said. “They’re fighting for every little puck bounce. Everyone needs every inch of ice. … That’s why we love the game. No one on our team shies away from that.”

Apparently Jesse Graham lost a contact lens late in the second period. Missed a few shifts. Was looking around for it in front of the Bridgeport net at a promo time out.

Stuff overheard from Bob Rotruck: Jason LaBarbera’s first game here in over nine years, which all at once is “yeah about right” and “holy cro, what?” And Barbs turns 36 on Monday, which provokes similar contradictory thoughts.

Prescout. No John Scott. Two goals for defenseman Morgan Ellis, though.

Team’s off Monday. More Tuesday, unless warranted.

Actually, I’ll leave you with this, mostly because it seems impossible:

Michael Fornabaio