Role reversal: Flyer unravel in third and blow late lead in shootout loss to Islanders

Role reversal: Flyer unravel in third and blow late lead in shootout loss to Islanders

The theme of the Philadelphia Flyers’ recent play has gone like this: fall behind early, comeback in the third period to win or send into overtime or maybe a shootout for at least a point.

Monday afternoon on Long Island, the Flyers’ fortunes were reversed, but not in a good way, and they left Long Island without an extra point in the standings they probably should have had.

The Islanders scored twice in the third period to tie the game then eventually defeat the Flyers in a shootout by a score of 4-3.

Matt Read, who scored twice, and Wayne Simmonds had the Flyers’ tallies in regulation.

Philadelphia got on the board first when Read led a shorthanded rush and flicked a beautiful backhander over the glove New York netminder Anders Nilsson for his 12th goal of the season.

Islanders would tie on a John Tavares power-play goal but the Flyers responded when Simmonds cut to the slot, found his own rebound and poked it underneath Nilsson for his 17th goal on the year.

It was Simmonds 12th goal in his last 17 games. In fact, Simmonds is tied with Tavares – a Canadian Olympian – for the most points in the league over the past five weeks with 22 each.

Just before the end of the second stanza, Read blew past an Islanders defenseman and roofed the puck over Nilsson for his second goal of the day and to give the Flyers a 3-1 lead. It was Read’s 10th goal against the Islanders in 14 career games against them. That’s what you call ownership.

But that’s where all the warm, fuzzy feelings ended for the Flyers as the wheels came off in the third period.

The Islanders came out in the third and totally outworked and outhustled the Flyers at basically every turn. The Islanders carried the play in the period as the Flyers returned to their bad habits of sloppy play, turnovers and bad penalties that seems to keep rearing their ugly head at times over the past few weeks.

New York got a goal from Brock Nelson midway through the period to cut Philadelphia’s lead to one. And then the inevitable occurred when Steve Downie – who lost his hearing aid at one point in the game – took an awful holding call with just under five minutes left in the third.

Kyle Okposo would cash in on the ensuing power play and knotted the game at three a piece. The game would go to overtime.

After both teams had a flurry of chances in the overtime period, the shootout was in order.

Both Claude Giroux and Read scored in the shootout but I’ll let you take a guess at what happened.

Frans Neilson, Tavares and Opokso all beat Ray Emery and the Islanders got the extra point.

Stupid shootout.

You can’t blame Emery for this loss. He made 40 saves and was under siege throughout most of the afternoon. This was more about the Flyers not being able to keep up with and work as hard as the Islanders. It was also more about the Flyers sitting on that third-period lead and not forcing the play enough.

The even worse news coming out of this game was that Jake Voracek left in the third period and didn’t return after taking a slash on the left hand from New York’s Cal Clutterbuck.

Voracek, who is third on the team with 35 points, will be reevaluated on Tuesday in Philadelphia but will obviously be a big loss if he has to miss any time.

The Flyers will be back in action tomorrow night when they host the Carolina Hurricanes at Wells Fargo Center, weather permitting.

What do shootouts and snow have in common? They both stink. A lot.

Yankees 9, Phillies 4: Cameron Perkins comes out swinging

Yankees 9, Phillies 4: Cameron Perkins comes out swinging

TAMPA -- The Phillies’ bats were slow getting started in the Grapefruit League opener Friday afternoon. The Phils did not have a baserunner through the first six innings in a 9-4 loss to the New York Yankees at Steinbrenner Field.

“First game, I’m just happy we got at-bats because the pitching is always ahead of the hitting this early,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said afterward.

Outfielder Cameron Perkins had the Phillies’ first hit, a single up the middle in the seventh inning. He added a solo homer in the ninth inning.

Perkins, 26, was the Phillies’ sixth-round pick in the 2012 draft out of Purdue University. He graduated from Southport High School in Indianapolis, the same school that produced Phillies great and Hall of Famer Chuck Klein.

A right-hander hitter who eschews batting gloves, Perkins hit .292 with eight homers and 47 RBIs at Triple A Lehigh Valley last season. He is not on the 40-man roster but was invited to camp for a look-see. He is considered a longshot to win a spot on the Phillies’ bench, but will certainly improve his chances if he keeps swinging it like he did Friday.

“I don’t think about it,” Perkins said of his bid to make the club. “All I can do is what I did today -- get my opportunity and make the most of it.”

Brock Stassi, another candidate for a job on the Phillies’ bench, also homered.

On the pitching side
Right-hander Alec Asher, who projects to open in the Triple A rotation, started for the Phils. He pitched two innings, allowed a home run to Didi Gregorius and struck out two.

Asher made big strides with his sinker last season. He’s added a cutter now.

Right-hander Nick Pivetta debuted with two scoreless innings. He gave up a hit, walked one and struck out three. The Phillies acquired Pivetta from Washington from Jonathan Papelbon in July 2015. He projects to open in the Triple A rotation, but first will pitch for Team Canada in the WBC in March.

“It’s a lifelong dream for me, right up there with whenever it is that I get my first start with the Phillies,” Pivetta said.

The bullpen
Mackanin has said he’d like to have two left-handed relievers in his bullpen. The Phillies have just one -- Joely Rodriguez -- on their 40-man roster, although it’s possible that Adam Morgan could be shifted from starter to reliever later in camp.

The Phils have brought two veteran lefties -- Sean Burnett and Cesar Ramos -- into camp on minor-league deals to compete for a job. Burnett made his debut Friday and gave up a triple, a sacrifice fly and a home run in his inning of work.

Luis Garcia was tagged for four hits and three runs in his spring debut.

Up next
The Phillies host the Yankees in Clearwater on Saturday afternoon. Morgan will start for the Phils against right-hander Adam Warren.

A Q & A with Siera Santos

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A Q & A with Siera Santos

What experience had the biggest impact on your life and career in sports and why? 
I’m often asked why I chose to be in sports broadcasting and the answer is not exactly brief. Most people aren’t familiar with my backstory. While I prefer to tell it face-to-face, here it is in a nutshell: Throughout high school, I had a lot of “problems” (that’s the gentle way of putting it). I didn’t graduate and instead got my GED while I was in a treatment center in Utah. That summer when I returned home to Arizona, I needed a healthy distraction and, although I had always been a casual Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Suns fan, I started watching games every day and reading the sports section with my dad over our morning cup of coffee.

When the NBA season started, I begged my dad for season tickets. This was the Nash/Stoudemire/Marion era and tickets were incredibly expensive. While we didn’t get season tickets that year, we went to several regular season and playoff games. Next season rolled around and, once again, I pleaded with my dad to get us season tickets. He finally broke down and bought a half-season package. We went to nearly every other game. I knew at that point that I wanted to go to games for the rest of my life. I enrolled in community college for the spring with my heart set on getting a degree in broadcast journalism. Not only did Suns games change the course of my future, but they also repaired my relationship with my dad. 

Who’s had the biggest impact and why?  
It’s difficult to single out one person. Obviously my parents' unwavering support got me where I am today. If I had to name someone who is currently a mentor-figure in my life, it would definitely be Jesse Sanchez from MLB Network. He always checks in to make sure I’m OK (in both my career and personal life), and he’s given me invaluable feedback and advice. There aren’t many Latinos working in sports media at national level and he encourages me to embrace who I am. 

What are some of the funniest moments you’ve experienced as a woman in sports?
When I tell people I’m a sports broadcaster, the immediate follow-up question tends to be: “Oh, so you like sports?” It’s tough to not respond with something sarcastic so I usually say, “Nope! I hate them!” I just don’t think it’s a question that you would ask a man in sports broadcasting. 

What was the most negative moment you’ve experienced ... the one that got you fired up or perhaps made you think about quitting?
Overall, most of my interactions are very positive and the majority of athletes are professionals. But I did have an issue with one player who was unbelievably disrespectful. He had been inappropriate on two previous occasions and I dreaded having to crowd around his locker to do interviews with him after games. I stopped asking him questions and after one of the scrums, he said: “If you’re not going to ask any questions, move your ass to the back.” My cameraman was still rolling and the mic was still hot. It was caught on video. Eventually, the issue was resolved with the support of my superiors. However, the entire ordeal was embarrassing and made my job more difficult. 
 
Have you had any teachable moments, i.e. someone made an ignorant comment, but had no idea you were offended – until you said something?
Double-checking the pronunciation of names that I’m not familiar with has been a priority. If you slip-up on a name, viewers will crucify you. Most male broadcasters will be forgiven for a mispronunciation, but it’s not necessarily the same for women. 

Any awkward moments?  
Whenever an athlete crosses the line and tries to be flirtatious or ask for a date. It doesn’t happen as often as you’d think, but it’s still uncomfortable. 

What are you most proud of?
I’m often asked “Well, what’s next?” The truth is I’m very happy with where I am. My end goal was to be a team reporter for a regional sports network and that’s exactly what I’m doing. I live in an amazing city and I love what I do. After I dropped out of high school, I never thought I would make it this far, much less graduate college. I’m incredibly grateful to be here and I’m proud of where I am.

A lot of girls look up to you and aspire to be on TV covering sports. What is the most important message you want to send to them?
Be someone that people enjoy working with and being around. Always be open to feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re not 100 percent sure. Oh, and don’t post anything on social media that you wouldn’t want your grandma to see.