Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Hell on Noel -- and goalies

Coach praying, stoppers rotate, one pops groin

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PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - The Jets downed the Flyers 9-8 in an unorthodox victory that saw them use both goalies.

Winnipeg started the game with goalie Ondrej Pavelec, but he was yanked at 6-6 and replaced by Chris Mason. Mason, however, didn't last long and left with what the team is calling a strained groin.

"He popped a groin, but I think he's OK. I haven't checked, but I don't think we need to bring someone in," coach Claude Noel said.

WEIRD SCIENCE: Noel and a number of players were calling this game the oddest they'd ever taken part in.

"It's the strangest game I think I've been a part of. I was in one where we were down 8-1 and came back and won 9-8, but this has to be the strangest," Noel said. "We did some good things -- we got on the board, we got unclogged offensively and we managed some things pretty well, and then it looked like it was one of those nights where you're not sure what you've got. This was like an NFL game."

NO GOAL: The Jets thought they scored the first goal of the night when Jim Slater redirected a pass from the corner, where Chris Thorburn battled and won the puck. Slater put the disc on net and it appeared to get past Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. The referees ruled no goal and the war room in Toronto backed up the call. The puck could not be seen across the line prior to the referee killing the play. However, it did cross after the whistle when Tanner Glass jabbed at the goalie's pads.

LACK OF PRODUCTION: Winger Blake Wheeler has no goals and three assists through nine games, and that cost him his spot on the Jets' top line. He skated with Tim Stapleton and Kenndal McArdle on Thursday night. Wheeler picked up three assists on the night.

LAST TIME HE WAS HERE: Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has both good and bad memories of Wells Fargo Center. Cheveldayoff won a Stanley Cup in this building when Patrick Kane scored in OT to lift the Chicago Blackhawks over the Flyers. But the GM also lost a Calder Cup in the building when Mike Richards and Jeff Carter came right out of junior hockey to lead the Philadelphia Phantoms to a title over the Chicago Wolves, where Cheveldayoff was also GM.

TWEET OF THE NIGHT: "The '80s called and they want their Flyers-Jets game back." Pierre LeBrun, ESPN columnist.

RELIGIOUS ARTIFACT OF THE NIGHT: "I had the rosary beads going. I had it all going tonight," Noel said.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 28, 2011 C4

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