Sometimes weekday games can be a little unpredictable. It's hard enough sometimes for the home team to get the energy ramped up or keep it ramped up for an odd game night, even if it's Thursday instead of Friday. This can mean a smaller crowd and just a slight break from the routine. This goes double for the visiting team, road legs are just a little tougher to shake off. Maybe that explains the way the first two periods went last night, leading into an exciting third frame and eventual overtime and shootout.

The Sioux Falls Stampede came to town and took a little while to show up at the game, everyone except for goaltender Jeremy Swayman. The Phantoms came out and had the energy in the first period. The played a good physical game with some very aggressive forechecking, trapping the neutral zone well and the offense was definitely in attack mode. Despite outshooting the Stampede 12-4, Swayman held the Phantoms off the board and both teams went to the lockers scoreless. In the second frame, the Phantoms seemed to lose a little of the momentum and the Stampede managed to find some defense. Shots were 4-4 and again neither team found the back of the net. I had predicted special teams wouldn't be too big of a factor and both sides had a few powerplay chances through two periods. It looked like I was going to be right on that prediction for the evening. The third period would prove me all sorts of wrong.

Things would escalate quickly in the third. Ivan Kulbakov bobbled a rebound after a routine glove save. As he dove to his right to cover it, a good bit outside his crease, Stampede forward Jack Doremus plowed through him sending him to the boards. Doremus was issued a charging penalty but Kulbakov remained on the ice for several minutes. We're getting pretty used to seeing this, Kulbakov sometimes milking the situation for a penalty or rest. Since he already had the penalty and was down quite a bit longer than usual, this was a scary moment for the fans. Emergency netminder Nathan Reid, a 2000 birth year, was even starting to put on his mask and looked ready to come into the game. Kulbakov recovered and the Phantoms went to work on the powerplay. Coale Norris took a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle though traffic to break the shutout deadlock at 3:01 of the frame. A few moments after the ensuing faceoff and the Phantoms were in the box and 1:27 after the Phantoms goal Eric McAdams would get his own rebound off a blocked shot in the slot and fired it past the glove of Kulbakov.

Things can get a little weird and chippy when the Bloomington Thunder come to town. In the Thunder's now two and just a bit over a half season in the USHL, these two teams have had more than their share of rough and contentious games. With both teams playing a normal home weekend schedule, you would think things would be a little tamer on an early Monday afternoon. Maybe, but there were still plenty of big hits and a few goals scored in a 4-1 Phantoms victory.

The Phantoms got things rolling on the powerplay in the first. Alec Mahalak took a shot or pass from the point. A Thunder defender got a stick on the puck causing it to flutter through the slot where Austin Pooley was able to give it a little help on the backhand and behing Thunder netminder Logan Halladay at 7:24. The Phantoms would add to that on the oddest play I've seen in a while. Eirc Esposito carried the puck into the attack zone and was given a rough ride into the boards by Marco Raifenberger. Esposito got right back up as Noah LaLonde dislodged the puck from Wyatt Kalynuk. Esposito grabbed the puck and just as Vladislav Dzhioshvili stepped up into him, Esposito centered the puck to the crease. No one was there to really take it but the puck hit Halladay in the crease and tipped in. The Phantoms took the 2-0 lead into the lockers after the first, shots were 10-8 in favor of Bloomington.

The Phantoms would grab a 3-0 lead in the third with their second powerplay goal. Chase Gresock would have a shot blocked in the left faceoff circle but the puck sat their for him to take a second chance shot with and he burried it at 12:38. Bloomington would outshoot the Phantoms 10-7 in second. The Thunder would finally crack Ivan Kulbakov in the third on a 5-on-3 powerplay. Thunder defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk just threw a simple wrist shot from the middle of the ice, half-way from the top of the faceoff circle and the blueline and it just found a hole in at 8:46. The Thunder would continue to push but the Phantoms defense held well as did Kulbakov and Austin Pooley would add an empty net goal to solidify a 4-1 win. Shots were 8-4 in the third and 28-19 overall in favor of the Thunder.

They say one definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. I guess hockey is a little crazy because last night the Phantoms faced the same team as the night before and both teams pretty much played the same game. The outcome was the same through 60:00 but the ending was indeed different. 

Once again, the Sioux City Musketeers took the lead in the first. With their netminder, Matiss Kivlenieks, pulled on a delayed penalty call Eeli Tolvanen took a shot from the right side half boards just outside the bottom of the faceoff circle. Ivan Kulbakov made the save but the rebound popped to the left side for the extra attacker, Marcel Godbout, who tapped home an easy goal at 11:29. Like the night before, the Phantoms turned their game up a notch after giving up the first goal. The shots were 7-6 Phantoms after the first period. 

The Phantoms would once again answer in the second frame, with the same player and line getting the goal. Max Ellis would start things off by jumping in on the forecheck immediately after coming on the ice during a change. He dispossesed veteran defenseman and former Phantom Carson Vance of the puck in the corner and skated behind the Muskies net and attempted a wrap around that found it's way to the stick of Tommy Apap just on top of the other side of the goal crease for the tap in, time of the goal 4:49. Much like the night before, all three forwards on the time were down low, Marshall Moise was just outside the crease as well. The Phantoms would start to shut things down after that, much like the night before. Shots were 10-2 Phantoms.