Ivan Prosvetov stares down a shooter in his first game after injury.Ivan Returns to action! - Ivan Prosvetov stares down a shooter in his first game after injury.
It was a night that should have been an easy going, somewhat celebratory night. The Eastern Conference leading Phantoms playing the leagues bottom ranked team and netminder Ivan Prosevetov returning from injury, we should have had a lot different tone to a Thursday night game coming off a week and a half long break. However, sloppy play and less than stellar goaltending (from both netminders) put a huge damper on things and more issues with the Ice Zone might have helped kill the mood. I won't comment (much) on the latter part of that.

The game was pretty evenly played. The Phantoms giving up early chances to the Capitols, but Madison not able to take advantage of a few Phantoms defensive zone turnovers and other mistakes. The Phantoms grabbed the lead late in the third on a powerplay, defenseman Julian Kislan hustling to cut off a puck heading out of the zone and moving it onto the corner. Kislan made a nice play keep a pair of Caps defenders from possesing the puck until Max Elis and Curtis Hall could get there and dig the puck out. Hall put a nice cross-crease backhand pass to the stick of Tommy Parrottino who burried it behind Caps goalie Dryden McKay at 17:00. Madsion had a 1 shot advantage in the first, 11-10.

The Phantoms celebrate after a Mike Regush goal.Celebrate Good Times! - The Phantoms celebrate after a Mike Regush goal.
Well, better late than never. Computer issues and having to work from home some on the weekend killed my time to write up Friday's recap. After winning a tight game against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders the day before, the Phantoms just ran out of gas and fell flat, dropping the game 3-1. It wasn't a very eventful game, this will be a pretty quick recap.

The 'Riders took the lead in the first on a powerplay when Marek Valach used a unusually passive Phantoms defender as a screen and wristed a shot beating Wouter Peeters at 10:46 of the frame. The 'Riders would push the lead to 2-0 with 0.1 seconds left in the second, again on powerplay. 'Riders center Marc McLaughlin would win a big faceoff in his offensive zone and kicked the puck over to winger Steven Agriogianis who immediately put if back to the point for defenseman Ikya Sushko to one-time. Peeters made the initial save but McLaughlin managed to stuff home a rebound. I had a good eye on the puck and the clock on the scoreboard, I will say I thought the clock had expired. Also Peeters may have clipped by a 'Riders player trying to make the second save, but the ref did not see it either way.

The Phantoms would get one back when Chase Gresock would relive McLaughlin of the puck trying to skate it out of the 'Riders end. Gresock quickly laid the puck to Mike Regush who put a backhand from the left faceoff circle just inside the near post to halve the lead and ending netminder Blake Pietila's shutout bid. the 'Riders did a good job of shutting down the game and the Phantoms never really got good chances to tie the game and the 'Riders added the empty net goal to seal it.  Shots were 17-16 in favor of Cedar Rapids.

Wouter Peeters stares down Marc McLauglin in a shootout as the Phantoms pick up a 2-1 win over Cedar Rapids.Wouter Peeters triumphs in the shootout. - Wouter Peeters stares down Marc McLauglin in a shootout as the Phantoms pick up a 2-1 win over Cedar Rapids.
Well, I've been busy with work and other 'real life' obligations lately and haven't had a lot of time to put together articles. With the World Junior A Challenge going on and teams missing key players from lineups, it's hard for me to put together previews without time to do a little more research. I might have even skipped recapping yesterday morning's tilt against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders but with so few witnesses to the event, I thought I had to post something. Yesterday was the "kids day" game where schools bus kids in for a fun morning off to see some hockey and we get to pad the attendance stats. That's the plan least, yesterday did not go according to plan. With a few inches of snow falling overnight, the schools opted for an overabundance of caution and canceled. The official attendance was 145 people.

The game itself was an even, mostly defensive match. The Phantoms had the early edge in shots. They would get a couple powerplay opportunities midway through the first frame but it would be the 'Riders capitalizing on the second one. Off the faceoff, Mike Regush would take the puck and lay a soft pass to Michael Joyaux, too soft a pass. 'Riders forwaed Marc McLaughlin would intercept the puck in between them, poking it off the boards to the neutral zone and raced around a flatfooted Joyaux on a breakaway. McLaughlin would pick up the puck and go off on a break away. The Phantoms netminder Wouter Peeters came out to the top of his crease but did not even flinch as McLaughlin put a laser shot from the left faceoff circle over his shoulder popping the water bottle at 10:02 on the 'Riders 5th shot of the game. Shots were 13-7 after the first period.