The Phantoms knew they would have to be a little better last night than the night before to earn the full 2 points against Sioux Falls. The good news is, they were just that - a little better. Good enough to earn a regulation win in front of a decent crowd on Hockey Fights Cancer night.
The first period looked a lot like Friday night. The Phantoms came out strong and without some scrambling in net by the Stampede netminder, Grant Adams, could have run up the score pretty quick. They did score first, the first shorthanded goal for the Phantoms this season. The Stampede's Chase Foley misplayed a puck that sprung Matthew Cassidy, who carried the puck with John Beaton on a 2-on-1. Foley left himself in no-man's land, unable to defend the pass or shot, and Cassidy laid the puck onto Beaton's stick. Beaton extended his point streak to 5 games, ripping the puck short side, beating the stick and blocker of Adams at 13:28. Shots were 13-3 Phantoms in the first period and they led 1-0.
Matthew Cassidy got the ball rolling, or puck flying, early in the second. Following a flurry of action in front and behind the Stampede net, Cassidy received a pass from Beaton at the bottom of the right faceoff circle where he snapped an odd angle shot in at the 0:33 mark. The Stampede got one back fairly quick though, Will Dineen fed a pass from the left faceoff circle to the right where Jared Wescott took the puck. Colin Purcell lunged for a poke check or a cover as Wescott dangled the puck but missed and the Stampede forward stick handled the biscuit around the prone netminder for a goal at 5:01. Shots were 8-6 Phantoms in the middle frame and we took the 2-1 lead into the third.
The Phantoms pushed the lead to 2 in the third on the powerplay when Yusaku Ando fed a pass from below the goal line, through several Stampede defenders and to the stick of Trvor Kuntar in the slot for a one-timer at 5:07. The Stampede got a little luck and were back in it at 11:16 when Cam McDonald threw a puck on net from the far edge of the left faceoff circle while holding off Nikolai Jenson. The puck tipped off some part of Purcell's equipment and rolled just inside the far post. That was all for the Stampede, and the Phantoms added a pretty empty net goal, Garrett Dahm banking a pass off the boards as Cassidy sprinted forward to recieve it and tuck it into the open net with 1:26 left. The Stampede outshot the Phantoms 11-8 in the period b,ut the final was 4-2 with the total shots 29-20.
The Phantoms won but despite the stats for most of the game really being tipped in their favor, it didn't look like a dominate win. Grant Adams is a good netminder, without him it would have been more lopsided but you really feel the Phantoms did not play to their full potential. Still, it's 2 points. John Beaton and Matthew Cassidy both had strong games and Colin Purcell stopped 18 of 20 for his 2nd win in 3 games. We took 3 out of 4 points in the standings this weekend, so the glass is 3 quarters full so to speak. With the final 3 games of November and 6 of 7 games in December, 9 of the next 10 games total, all on the road I hope this puts the wind in our sails a little as we gas up the bus.
And it was a good crowd for Hockey Fights Cancer night. Putting the game for a noble cause on the same night as dollar beer doesn't hurt sales either, perhaps a smart move on the managements part. We had 2,072 in the Covelli for this one, not a bad accomplishment for Youngstown in November. With only 1 more home game until 2020, highlights will be a little sparse so enjoy what you got. Here's 2 for today.
John Beaton's shorty!
Trevor Kuntar with the one-timer (with slo-mo).