For something that was supposed to be an offensive showcase, it wasn't. There was a lot of up and down action but defenses and goalies did their jobs well. The Phantoms outshot USA 12-6 in the first but neither team found the twine. It wasn't until the 11:10 mark of the second that someone would score and it was the Phantoms with the first strike. Alex Barber would intercept an exit pass from NTDP defenseman Drew Helleson at the blueline before they cleared it. He sent a pass to Chase Gresock in the left faceoff circle who rifled it past NTDP netminder Spencer Knight. The Phantoms would be outshot 11-5 in the frame leaving the total shots even at 17 all at the end of 2.
The Phantoms added an insurance marker at 11:00 of the third when Curtis Hall poked the puck off of Matthew Boldy, who mishandled the puck a little in the neutral zone. Max Ellis would scoop the puck up and streaked into the attack zone and got a little room around defenseman Henry Thrun and shot the puck beating Knight who was not in position, possibly anticipating a pass to the slot and was cheating a little. This extended Ellis's point streak to 8 games. The Phantoms outshot the NTDP 15-7 in the third frame giving them a 32-24 edge in the final shot count. Wouter Peeters would get the Phantoms their first shutout of the season.
This was a great way for the Phantoms to open the month. They not only outshot and shutout the U17s but really put out a solid effort in all 3 zones. The Phantoms made very few mistakes and played a good 60:00 game. Peeters was able to make the saves he had to and the defense did well to make sure he didn't have to do the impossible. Ivan Prosvetov was still out of the lineup and the Phantoms did a great job of minimizing Peeters work, something that helps as much next week as during the game. The NTDP's best chance to score was a Jack Hughes shot, on the rush backing the Phantoms defenders up with great skating, but he ripped it off the crossbar. Joe Abate played for the first time since the trade, teams are allowed to dress an extra skater against the NTDP.
It was a decent crowd, a little over 1,200. It could be better but with the Holidays fast approaching, it could be worse on a Friday night. Next week is on the road, hopefully the only thing I have to write is the preview next week. Until then, here is a Max Ellis goal.
Max Ellis's with some lethal speed for a goal.