The Phantoms have a fun celebration lap after a 6-3 win over the Lincoln Stars.Celebrate good times, come on! - The Phantoms have a fun celebration lap after a 6-3 win over the Lincoln Stars.

As I said in the recap of Friday's game, Lincoln is a team we should beat without issue, but, if you let up even a little, you'll get burned. I was nearly proven right but a strong third period pulled us out for a 4 point weekend. At times it wasn't pretty, but at this point in the season, that is how things go.

The Phantoms got off to one of their typically bad starts. The Stars opened the scoring at 4:43 of the first with Josh Lopina winning an offensive zone faceoff back to his defenseman, Ryan Carmichael. Carmichael floated a wristshot from well above the right faceoff circle that found a hole through traffic and behind Christian Stoever, who was in net for the second straight night.

Just after the ensuing faceoff, Brett Murray picked up an interference penalty. Dalton Messina won the faceoff back to the corner but the Stars Michael Colella won the puck from Aiden Gallacher along the boards. The puck eventually made it's way around to Tristian Ashbrook at the top of the right faceoff circle for a one-timer that beat Stoever cleanly at 5:23, just 0:40 after the opening goal. Both goals were on the Stars first and second shots of the game.

Christian Stoever makes a save in a 5-2 win over Lincoln.The Phantoms shoot down the Stars. - Christian Stoever makes a save in a 5-2 win over Lincoln.

Well, I'm back... sort of. This will be my first post from my new house. Last night's tilt was against the Lincoln Stars, a team we were supposed to beat. The Stars have already accepted they won't be making a playoff run, and have traded off all of their worthwhile assets to rebuild next season. They are barely noticeable as the team they were to start the season. But, you give a team like that a chance by not playing your best and playing down to their level, and you'll get embarrassed. Fortunately for the Phantoms, that was (mostly) not the case last night.

The game started a little slow. Neither team really generating much in the way of offense early or getting an upper hand territorially.

The Phantoms struck first nearing the midway mark of the period. On a rush up ice, Treveor Kuntar took a short pass from Joseph Abate just inside over blueline and snapped a blistering shot from left faceoff circle that beat Stars netminder Samuel Hlavaj clean over the glove at 9:40. In fact, it was in and out of the net so quickly, it took a moment for some fans to register that it was indeed a goal.

Christian Stoever kicks a puck aside in a 2-1 win against Cedar Rapids.The Phantoms defeat the RoughRiders. - Christian Stoever kicks a puck aside in a 2-1 win against Cedar Rapids.

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.