After losing a tough one Saturday night, the Phantoms were looking to bounce back on a early Sunday evening. Everyone was hopeful a few minor changes to the lineup would give the Phantoms the boost they needed. The bad news is, it didn't work. The good news is... well, I'm still looking for the silver lining. I guess it's that it's only the first week of the season and we have plenty of time.

Things got off to a good start once again. The Phantoms looked to have a good jump in their step and took the lead a little over midway through the first frame. Curtis Hall, drfting from the high slot to the back of the left faceoff circle to create a little space, ripped a big slapper that beat Aces netminder Kris Carlson. Drew Elser would tie it back up just :32 after, on a rush up ice he let one fly from the right side that beat Phantoms netminder, Wouter Peeters this time, cleanly. Like the night before, the Aces would grab the lead late in the first. Max Andreev would carry the puck behind the Phantoms goal line and center to Matt Gosiewski, who wandered right through and behind the Phantoms defense. Peeters would stop the intital shot but Gosiewski would get his own rebound and poke that past Peeters with 2:23 left in the opening frame. To add to the issues, Max Ellis and Marco Riefenberger got tangled up late. Ellis gave what appeared to be a spear to Riefenberger. Play continued with Riefenberger apparently no worse for the wear and both teams possessing the puck. With about :12 left in the period and the first whistle after the altercation, there was a lengthy discussion and Ellis was given a major and game ejection. As far as I can tell, it must have been reported by the linesman.

The Phantoms would draw a penalty on the Aces early in the second, negating some of the major, when Eric Esposito was hauled down by Charlie Raith a stride away from having a shorthanded breakaway. Moments after the 4 on 4 expired, and with Phantoms defenseman Steven Holtz stickless, Gosiewski would get the puck on his stick in the slot for his second goal of the game to extend the lead to 3-1. Later on an Aces powerplay, Wouter Peeters would try to direct a harmless misdirected dump in hard around the back of his own net. However instead of a hard around and up the far side boards, he just bounced it softly off the boards to lie behind the net. Gosiewksi centered the pass to the other side where Max Andreev easily put it in for a 4-1 lead. The Aces would add another powerplay goal early in the third when Sebastian Diriven took the puck up the left side boards and laid a pass over to Jakub Lacka, who skated to through slot without much of a look from the Phantoms defenders, and Lacka put home an easy one-timer.

The Phantoms looked to kick off the 17-18 season with a win, something we haven't done the past 4 years. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait another season for that. The Phantoms seemed to lack some of the energy we saw in preseason and displayed some of the goaltending issues that were present in Cranberry.

The Phantoms got off on the right foot.Working the puck behind the Aces net, Matthew Barry made a pass to the point to defenseman Gianfranco Cassaro who blasted it past the Aces netminder Zach Stejskal at 9:21. However, the Aces would get it back 1:30 later, with goalie Ivan Prosvetov screened, Jakub Lacka tipped a point shot in from Sebasitan Driven to tie it. Later in the period, with time expiring, Tyler Madden threw a backhander towards the net that may have hit the far post or crossbar and was deflected down and behind a flailing Prosvetov and behind him with 1.0 seconds left in the frame. The puck may have been hit with a high stick but was not called as such. The initial shot seemed to catch the Phantoms goalie off guard. Shots were 9-8 Aces.

The Aces would rule the second frame. A Tyler Madden shot would cleanly beat Prosvetov stick side at 6:40. The Phantoms though they had one back a few minutes later when an Eriks Zohovs shot was gloved by Stejskal , who was then shoved into the nety by a sliding Aces defender. I could not tell you if the refs had considered the play blown dead prior or that the puck did not cross the line, what I can tell on replay it's probably the latter, but the goal was not signaled and not counted after a short discussion. Moments later, the Aces were up ice and Max Andreev tried to tuck one in while going behind Prosveltov's net. He was unsuccessful but Drew Elser managed to poke it in with Prosvletov not able to hold the post at 9:35. Aces would out shoot us 11-5.

And just like that, the series is tied. After dropping the first pair of games to the Steel in Chicago, the Phantoms are right back in it and the series will now be determined by one last game back in Illinois. 

The Phantoms came out dominating once again - out hitting, out skating, and massively outshooting the Steel from the drop of the puck. The Phantoms would be the first to strike on the scoreboard as well, at 14:56 of the first. Michael Karow wuld take a wristshot from the blueline with Asutin Pooley set up shop infront of Steel netminder Ales Stezka. Jake Jaremko was attempting to clear the Phantoms center from the top of the crease but just added to the screen and may have added a little contact with the steel netminder as Pooley tipped the puck in. Shots were 10-1 Phantoms at this point and 12-2 at the end of the frame.

The Phantoms quickly turned their lead from one goal to a pair early in the second, just a minute in. With a lot of neutral zone chaos, Eric Esposito and Jack Badini trading cheap shots, the puck ended up on the stick of Coale Norris in the attack zone. Norris snapped a shot from the right faceoff circle that Stezka probably wants back. The cheap shots would continue all period for both teams as the game got a little chippy. The Steel's Tyler Gratton would take a head contact penalty just about a minute after the second goal. Ivan Kulbakov would get a roughing call on a shot to the back of Derek Daschke later in the frame, moments after a non-call on a trip by Marc Johnstone who hauled down Max Ellis in the neutral zone. There was a moment when it looked like Steve Ruggiero and Johnny Walker might drop the gloves. Shots were a little more even in the second, 9-6 in favor of the Phantoms.