The Phantoms opened the New Year with a wild tilt that had them explode in the second period with 5 goals to down the Sioux City Musketeers. Okay, the Musketeers were missing their top two scorers, Martin Pospisil and Bobby Brink, but the Phantoms dominate performance was still impressive none the less.
The first period started slow with a good amount of chippiness (is that even a word? EDIT: Yes) between a pair of teams who haven't played each other since February of last year. The Musketeers would draw first blood. With Joseph Abate in the box already for a hooking call, a bad line change with a pair of Phantoms going off and a trio coming on lead to a too many men on the ice penalty and a 5-on-3 powerplay late in the period, at 19:36. The Musketeers quickly capitalized. Parker Ford won the faceoff back to Marcus Kallionkieli who skated around between the high slot and the blueline through a slew of players and a Jordan Steinmetz screen to take a 1-0 lead just 5 seconds after the faceoff. Shots were 8-7 Phantoms after the first.
Jack Malone would waste no time in the second to equalize the score. With Matthew DeMelis just coming out of the box from the previous periods bench minor, Malone would scoop up a puck at center ice and weave through a few Musketeers defenders, deked and put the puck through Muketeers netminder Ben Kraws 5-hole at 1:46. Much of the rest of the second period would be played evenly until the damn broke on the Musketeers late, unleashing a torrent that they would not recover from.
To start things off Malone would strip defenseman Jack Babbage in the neutral zone and Brett Murray would carry the puck in with Malone flanking him on the 2-on-1. Murray would put a saucer pass over a sliding Musketeers defender and Malone would chip a bouncing puck over a stretching Kraws at 14:59.
Malone would quickly return the favor when, after Connor MacEachern won a faceoff in the attack zone, Malone ended up circling behind the Musketeers net and and putting a pass to the crease where the stick of Murray waited to deflect it in at 15:24.
At 16:06, Craig Needham would tip a point shot from Jayson Dobay for a goal, chasing Kraws from the net for Jake Sibell.
Jack Malone would complete his hat trick at 18:16, with the Musketeers short handed after a too many men penalty of their own. Brett Murray would put a puck from behind the Musketeers net to Malone in the slot and the hats rained down. Shots were 11-5 for the Phantoms in the second frame.
The Musketeers would get some of it back in the third scoring 2 goals on the powerplay. A suspicious cross-checking penalty to Abate wuld lead to a Kallionkieli half-slapper from the left faceoff circle for his second of the game at 3:52.
Sioux City would get to within two on a Liam Robertson holding call when Jordan Steinmetz put a pass from below the goal line to the slot for a wide open Parker Ford at 9:00. That was as close as it got.
Phantoms netminder Christian Stoever made the play of the game late, sweeping an Aaron Grounds shot off the line before it crossed. At the next stoppage, Musketeers Head Coach Luke Strand visibly argued for a goal or at least a review in one of the most comically animated displays I've seen from a bench boss in quite a while. After consulting the goal judge, it was still no goal. The Phantoms held on and took a 5-3 win. Shots were 8-7 in the final period and 27-19 for the game, both stats in favor of the Phantoms.
The crowd of 827 was a little better than we've seen the past few weeks but still that's a pretty poor attendance number. We're back at it tonight against the same team. It's possible that Martin Pospisil could make it to Youngstown to help out the Musketeers, which would make it a little more interesting. I have no highlights since all 8 goals were scored at the far end. Maybe tomorrow I'll have some. In the meantime, here's a line brawl from 2015!
2015 line brawl!