The Phantoms dropped a third straight game last night after putting up nearly 30 shots on goal. This time they managed to take it to an overtime period and grab a point in the standing out of it. Their opponent was the Western Conference leading Sioux City Musketeers, who they face again tonight.
The Musketeers got on the board first. Phantoms defenseman Michael Karow attempted to skate out from around his own net and Musketeers winger Sampo Ranta swept the puck right off Karow's stick and into the net for a surprising goal at 5:25 of the first period. The Muskies had pushed the play to this point, out shooting the Phantoms 4-1. The Phantoms picked up the pace and finished the first period outshooting their opponents 11-6.
The Phantoms would strike back in the second. Alec Mahalek would send a shot from the point on net with a lot of traffic in front. I originally thought Max Ellis put the rebound in, the initial credit went to Marshall Moise but was eventually awarded to Tommy Apap. This goes to show how much traffic the Phantoms had down low on the play. Shots were 9-4 in the frame in favor of the Phantoms and the score was tied after two periods.
There was no scoring in the third frame. The Phantoms had the first powerplay of the game with 9:32 left but were unable to capitalize. With 0:27 left Austin Pooley was ticketed for a hook. The Phantoms managed to close out the period and earn the point. The Phantoms outshot the Muskies 9-3 but would start the OT down a man. The OT would only last 0:27 when former Phantom Carson Vance laid a pass from the left facoof circle to the right for Kristain Pospisil to one-time past Ivan Kulbakov. Shots were 2-0 Sioux City in the OT frame.
The Muskies netminder, Matiss Kivlenieks, did not get a start of the game. That's stunning part. The Phantoms put a lot of rubber his way as well as playing a good physical game. Both teams have some sort of issue with the backup goaltender. The Musketeers just calling up Todd Scott from the NAHL and the Phantoms Britt League was scratched due to illness, Jon Mor called up from the Chicago Young Americans U16. I'm not sure if Mor is fulfilling a normal backup spot or is classified as and emergency goalie, the latter he would be unable to play unless Kulbakov could not continue the game due to injury. I think he's on the affilate list so there is a chance he could start a game if needed. Either way, since Kulbakov only faced 15 shots last night, I'm sure the Phantoms are planning to start him again. Kivlenieks played well but the Musketeers play in Chicago tomorrow and Kivlenieks faced 29 shots. He stopped most of them but the Muskies need to be thinking about fatigue. The Phantoms at least get a day off before their next game.
The point in the standings may seem like a consolation prize but it puts us back into fourth place in the Eastern conference, moving us past Green Bay. We're only a little past the halfway mark of the second half of the season but it's not too early to remember that fourth place position means a playoff spot. These two teams meet again tonight, and I expect a big crowd and a good game. No highlights, the only goal the Phantoms scored was at the wrong end at a bad angle. Maybe tonight...