Well, it wasn't the energy game we were hoping for the week after beating the U17s in an OT thriller. Last nights loss to the Tri-City Storm was a pretty lackluster performance for the Phantoms in general. In particular, with Trevor Kuntar suspended for the evening the offense seemed to sputter and the Phantoms fell 4-1.
Mitchell Miller got the Storm on the board first, just 1:35 into the game. Miller just launched a wrist shot from near the blueline while Nick Portz skated in front of the Phantoms netminder, Colin Purcell, for a screen with Georgi Merkulov engaged with Portz. Purcell probably did not even see the shot until it was by him. This was just the second shot of the game for the Storm
The Phantoms answered back quickly. Jayson Dobay took a Garrett Dahm pass off the boards and blasted it from well above the left faceoff circle and by Storms goaltender Todd Scott at 4:45. That was it and the Storm outshot the Phantoms 14-7 in the first period but we were still tied going into the second.
Despite being outshot, the Phantoms were still hanging in towards the end of the second. A failed powerplay and an icing call set up a defensive zone faceoff for the Phantoms. The Storm won it and Miller got a shot on goal. Purcell was unable to control the rebound and a scrum of players crashed the front of the net and the puck went behind Purcell off of Colby Ambrosio's stick at 17:14. Miller would add another off a backhand from the slot on the powerplay with 0:13 left in the period to make it 3-1 late in the period. Shots were 13-6 in the middle frame.
Dominic Basse would start in net for the Phantoms in the third. The Storm would add one more when Jayson Dobay missed an interecept attempt in the neutral zone giving Joseph Berg a breakaway. Nikolai Jenson was closing but Berg shot before he could get his stick within reach to block and he beat Basse clean at 6:36. Shots were even a 6 a side in the third and overall in favor of the Storm 33-19.
There are two things to track in the injury column. The first was Colin Purcell, who got up stretching one of his legs after the scrum leading to the Ambrosio goal. He did not appear to be moving properly on the second Miller goal and Basse replaced him going into the third. The other looked more serious with Reilly Funk laying a big hit on Chase McLane midway through the third. Funk immediately had trouble getting back up and skating and went back down in a heap. McLane skated towards the bench but collapsed as he got to the boards. Both were attended to by the trainers taking several minutes before being helped off the ice and they had to scrape up some blood off the ice.
The Phantoms never got the offense rolling. I somewhat expected that with the Storm but we were not able shut down their offense to counter. Trevor Kuntar will be back tonight but we may be without Funk. We'll see about Purcell but I suspect Basse would start regardless of injury and unless it's real bad, I doubt we'll call up an emergency netminder on this short notice.
It was a good crowd, 1,534, but they got the wind taken out of them and weren't a big factor. We'll be back at it tonight and I suspect we'll see a little grittier game, not that there wasn't enough friction last night. Anyway, here's the highlight. You can probably guess who.
Jayson Dobay blasts home a goal!