Last nights game was almost a metaphore for the Eastern Conference. Two teams in almost a dead heat in the middle of the standing met and slugged it out in a 2-1 match. Fortunately, the Phantoms were the team that scored 2 as they met the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. And fortunately for me, this will be an easy recap.
The Phantoms got things rolling early. Just 1:12 into the game, off a good faceoff win by Craig Needham, Steve Holtz took a pass from Trvor Kuntar in the right corner of the 'Riders zone and sent a pass through the crease for Needham to tap behind the 'Riders netminder, Troy Kobryn.
The Phantoms would have a bit of a lull in their game, with Cedar Rapids taking control of the offense after the early goal wake-up call. A penalty to Liam Robertson set up a quick powerplay strike for the 'Riders Nathan Smith, putting a shot top shelf over Christian Stoever's glove and just behind the crossbar at 6:53 to tie it. The Phantoms continued to struggle in the first, not registering a shot on goal for about 12:00 after their opening tally. Shots on goal would be 12-4 in favor of the 'Riders at the end of the first.
The Phantoms would get another early period goal in the second, this time shorthanded with Steve Holtz in the box on a penalty carrying over from the first. Gianfranco Cassaro cleared the puck down to Kobryn who quickly turned the puck back up ice. Cassaro had jumped up into the neutral zone and intercepted the Kobryn pass and carried it into the attack zone and fired a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle that beat Kobryn cleanly at the 0:49 mark of the second.
Shots on goal for the second were 9-4 in favor of the Phantoms, the third was 10-7 in favor of the 'Riders and the total was 26-20 in favor of the 'Riders. Stoever stopped 25 shots for the win. We'll meet the RoughRiders again this evening in a 5pm game that has been hastily moved up to try to beat the weather. My camera malfunctioned on the Needham goal so I don't have any highlights. Also, no attendance figures were published for the second straight home game.