Chad Veltri watches a puck go by as the Phantoms defense battles in a tight contest.The Phantoms Deal Out A Winner! - Chad Veltri watches a puck go by as the Phantoms defense battles in a tight contest.

The good news, the Phantoms won again against the Green Bay Gamblers and pulled within a game and a half of the second spot in the Eastern Conference.

The bad news, they had to do it without forward Joseph Abate who was injured in Staturday's game. Abate may miss more than just this one but that'll be a discussion for the next preview.

The Phantoms jumped out on top when Tyler Spott attempted a short pass to Brady Meyer just inside the Gamblers blueline. Matthew Barnaby read the play and picked off the pass and skated into the slot where he ripped a wrist shot in the face of defenseman Xan Gurney that netminder Ryan Ullan was unable to get more than a piece of and it found the back of the net for a 1-0 lead at 7:28.

The Gamblers evened things up late in the first when Jesse Tucker made a nice pass from the top of the right faceoff circle to Austin Heidemann a few feet to the left of the net. Heidemann was able to make the sharp angle shot and Chad Veltri, in net for a sixth concecutive start, was unable to get across to stop it at 17:43.

Chad Veltri celebrates the win against the Gamblers on HFC night.Hockey Fights Cancer in Youngstown! - Chad Veltri celebrates the win against the Gamblers on HFC night.

Hockey Fights Cancer, it's one of those universal hockey themes. If you can't pump a crowd up with that, then do you even play hockey? With over 2,400 in attendance last night for the Phantoms' HFC night, the Phantoms proved they could.

The game started with a couple quick strikes for the Phantoms. Aresenii Smekhnov reversed the puck behind the Gamblers net. Craig Needham was able to pick it up when a Gamblers defenseman, Chase Pilawski, was unable to intercept it. Needham burred the biscuit just 0:24 into the game.

There was a brief delay after the goal, not only to pick up the carnations thrown for the HFC promo, but also to fix some loose glass. Shortly after the delay, the Gamblers picked up a holding penalty which lead to a Liam Dennison wrist shot finding it's way through traffic and behind the Gamblers netminder, Maxsim Zhukov, at the 2:03 mark. The goals came on the first two shots on net by the Phantoms.

The Gamblers weren't going to fold 'em just yet. On a two-on-two rush up ice, Luke Mylymok laid a pass to the top of the crease where Noah Prokop, who had gotten a step on defenseman Jeppe Urup, was able to tap it in behind Chad Veltri at 7:55.

Brett Murray in the celebratory skate after scoring a hat trick against the NTDP U17s.Hats off to Brett Murray! - Brett Murray in the celebratory skate after scoring a hat trick against the NTDP U17s.

Almost every year, I hear people talking about the NTDP U17 squad as not being as good as last season's. Okay, last season was an exception when you have kids like Jack Hughes and a couple others who are obviously heading towards a first round NHL draft position even at age 16. 

This year I can confidently say this years U17 isn't as good as last seasons, or the past several seasons. After the first meeting of the Phantoms and the U17s, I am left unimpressed with the NTDP's younger group.

The Phantoms got things rolling early. On the rush, Matthew Barnaby was unable to take a pass that would have put him in on a breakaway but he was the first to the puck behind the USA net where he centered a no-look behind the back pass to a trailing Trevor Kuntar, who put the puck behind NTDP netminder Noah Grannan at 4:24.

The Phantoms continued to dominate in the first half of the opening frame. The NTDP did not even register a shot on goal until the 8:13 mark of the frame. They tied the score at 1 all when Zakary Karpa hit a trailing defenseman, Eamon Powell, who put a shot high from the high slot stick side on Christian Stoever, who may have been partially screened by one of his own players, at 9:15.