Same old story - the Phantoms fail to win a game they at least had a good chance to win. After a valiant effort to tie the game up twice, a bad penalty at the end of the 3rd period sets up a quick exit in OT, just 0:10 into the frame. Colin DeAugustine, sporting a name on his jersey for the first time in front of the Covelli crowd, made a ton of excellent saves but the first shot of the OT eluded him.
The Steel opened the scoring in the first wit Alec Vanko getting open on the back door of a Chicago powerplay. With less than 4 minutes to go, they made it 2-0 on a Robbie Payne re-direction from the point. Then in the second, the Phantoms began their push and ties it up on a pair of JJ Piccinich goals. The first came on a 4-on3 powerplay where Piccinich put home a rebound shot off a Kyle Connor shot. Just over 5 minutes later he knotted it up at 2 a piece on another Kyle Connor assist, this time Connor drawing all the attention to himself on an awesome up-ice rush and, with the Steel defense falling over themselves to keep up with him, made a sharp cross-crease pass to Piccinich for the goal The Steel wouldn't stay down though and tied it up with less than 2 minutes in the 2nd on a Connor Yau goal powerplay goal.
The Phantoms played hard in the 3rd and just over the halfway mark of the period Kyle Connor tied it up on a wicked wrist shot that eluded Chicago's netminder, Chris Nell. The two teams would battle it out for most of the rest of the period. The Phantoms would have one powerplay opportunity during the stretch but failed to capitalize on it, going 1 for 8 on the night. As the clock was winding down to the final few minutes and looking like OT, the Phantoms made one final mistake. With the puck going around the boards behind the Phantoms net, Connor Lemirande checked and pinned a Steel skater to the boards after the puck went by. This elicited a 2 minute interference minor with just 1:45 left. The Phantoms killed the regulation penalty time and went into OT with just 0:15 of the penalty to carry-over and the Steel tallied the 3rd PP marker of the game on their 5th pp opportunity.
That's it. Just a point in the standings and a lot of hard work down the drain. It's getting too late in the season to look at the single point as a positive. Not against the only conference rival worse than you in the standings. The Phantoms need to find the discipline and will to stop blowing it late in games. We're facing the U18 NTDP team tonight, we need to step it up a notch and come out dominating early. We need physicality combined with discipline for 60 minutes.