It wasn't a good start for the Phantoms. An early bad change gave Aces netminder Mitchell Gibson and great oppertunity to send a long streatch pass just outside the Phantoms blueline where Tate Singleton was waiting. Phantoms netminder Christian Stoever cam far out of his crease to challange the shot, which he stopped. The rebound came back to Singleton just as a Phantoms defender got back. The Phantoms player's stick deflected the puck up where it fluttered right into the wide open net just 1:49 in. Most of the rest of the frame saw both teams showing the Monday morning blues until the Phantoms got a quick burst of energy late. First Jack Malone would get a great rebound chance off a Thomas Farrell shot on goal and Malone would put that in at 14:22 for his third goal of the series, one in each game. On the ensuing faceoff, the Phantoms would gain control at neutral ice and Brett Murray would carry the puck in. He would find the tape on the stick of Connor MacEachern, who had got in behind the Aces defenseman Colby Enns and MacEachern would beat Gibson with a backhand inside the far post, giving the Phantoms the lead 17 seconds after tying it. The Phantoms went into intermission up a goal with the shots tied at 6 a side.
The second period would be scoreless with the Aces dominating most of the play, mostly due to the Phantoms taking way too many penalties. Shots were 17-3 in favor of the Aces. The Phantoms would turn that around a little with several powerplay chances of their own in the second but it was the Aces that scored first. Jeremy Davidson deflected a Sebastian Dirven shot what Stoever only got the tip of his glove on and the shot carried into the net at 8:24. The Phantoms would get the last laugh though, with a 4-on-4 expiring just seconds before. Dalton Messina would head strip Lynden Breen, who came out of the box moments before, off on a 2-on-1 with Matthew DeMelis. The Aces almost had evened up the numbers but Messina and DeMelis played a perfect pitch and catch with DeMelis finishing off the play at 15:24. The Phantoms would get some good attack zone time late in the period limiting the Aces chances to pull Gibson to seal the deal. Shots were 11-3 in the frame and 26-20 total, both in favor of the Aces.
Another bad start but another good finish. If we could just get the hang of the first period, we would be in a lot better shape. Stoever played well after giving up the first goal. On that goal, he gambled and lost on an aggressive play well outside his crease. This is the second goal where I've seen him overplay and not be in position on the rebound. Other than that, he's really shown he deserves a chance in net and maybe the number one spot. In the second period he got a little lucky a couple times, puck shot and tipped wide of the cage, but sometimes goalies make their own luck. Both teams struggled on the PP, 0/5 for the Aces, 0/6 for us. I'll chalk up our PP woes to the morning start. The Phantoms PK has been pretty good of late and the Aces only had 1 PP goal in the entire series.
So, this was a "Kids Day" game. I saw maybe 5 schools. This is going to further ding our attendance which is now just above the NDTP for last place. We'll hopefully make that up later in the season. The next two weeks are on the road so we'll discuss that later. Until then, here is a highlight from a higher angle than usual.
Dalton Messina to Matthew DeMelis for the win!