The Phantoms didn't win at the Fall Classic but still played hard.The Phantoms at the Fall Classic 2018 - The Phantoms didn't win at the Fall Classic but still played hard.

Well, I'm back - sort of. After a few things came up midway through last season, including a big change in my work schedule, I was unable to maintain things here. Hopefully I'm in a better position to keep up on the blog now. In any event, I was able to catch all 4 days of the USHL Fall Classic. I'd like to say the Phantoms dominated at the event but we lost both games. It was good hockey but we came up short. Unfortunately, this season the games count for the season making 0-2-0-0 to start.

The Phantoms kicked off their season against Tri-City. They came out with a lot of energy and looked sharp the first few minutes. However, the Storm would quickly take some of the air out of our sails with the first goal. Newcomer defenceman, Aiden Gallacher found himself in the penalty box and the Storm took advantage on the PP. Storm defenceman Zach Jones sent a shot from the blueline, that was stopped by goaltender Jon Mor. Jake Crespi tried to poke it in on Mor's right side but Mor was able to hold it out with the leg pads but the puck bounced to his left and Brad Morrissey was able to swipe it in at 5:02, Mor not able to get over to stop it. The Phantoms would get it back on a PP of their own, Gianfranco Cassaro rifling a point shot on net that was saved by netminder Jake Barczewski but the rebound quickly found it's way to newcomer Liam Robertson who wasted no time putting it back in at 10:11. The Storm would take the lead again when Joe Berg hit Conner McMenamin with a pass at the top of the faceoff circle to Mor's left. The winger put a shot on goal that sneaked in short side at 15:56. The Phantoms outshot the Storm 10-6 but would trail by 1 after 1.

Ivan Prosvetov stares down a shooter in his first game after injury.Ivan Returns to action! - Ivan Prosvetov stares down a shooter in his first game after injury.
It was a night that should have been an easy going, somewhat celebratory night. The Eastern Conference leading Phantoms playing the leagues bottom ranked team and netminder Ivan Prosevetov returning from injury, we should have had a lot different tone to a Thursday night game coming off a week and a half long break. However, sloppy play and less than stellar goaltending (from both netminders) put a huge damper on things and more issues with the Ice Zone might have helped kill the mood. I won't comment (much) on the latter part of that.

The game was pretty evenly played. The Phantoms giving up early chances to the Capitols, but Madison not able to take advantage of a few Phantoms defensive zone turnovers and other mistakes. The Phantoms grabbed the lead late in the third on a powerplay, defenseman Julian Kislan hustling to cut off a puck heading out of the zone and moving it onto the corner. Kislan made a nice play keep a pair of Caps defenders from possesing the puck until Max Elis and Curtis Hall could get there and dig the puck out. Hall put a nice cross-crease backhand pass to the stick of Tommy Parrottino who burried it behind Caps goalie Dryden McKay at 17:00. Madsion had a 1 shot advantage in the first, 11-10.

The Phantoms celebrate after a Mike Regush goal.Celebrate Good Times! - The Phantoms celebrate after a Mike Regush goal.
Well, better late than never. Computer issues and having to work from home some on the weekend killed my time to write up Friday's recap. After winning a tight game against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders the day before, the Phantoms just ran out of gas and fell flat, dropping the game 3-1. It wasn't a very eventful game, this will be a pretty quick recap.

The 'Riders took the lead in the first on a powerplay when Marek Valach used a unusually passive Phantoms defender as a screen and wristed a shot beating Wouter Peeters at 10:46 of the frame. The 'Riders would push the lead to 2-0 with 0.1 seconds left in the second, again on powerplay. 'Riders center Marc McLaughlin would win a big faceoff in his offensive zone and kicked the puck over to winger Steven Agriogianis who immediately put if back to the point for defenseman Ikya Sushko to one-time. Peeters made the initial save but McLaughlin managed to stuff home a rebound. I had a good eye on the puck and the clock on the scoreboard, I will say I thought the clock had expired. Also Peeters may have clipped by a 'Riders player trying to make the second save, but the ref did not see it either way.

The Phantoms would get one back when Chase Gresock would relive McLaughlin of the puck trying to skate it out of the 'Riders end. Gresock quickly laid the puck to Mike Regush who put a backhand from the left faceoff circle just inside the near post to halve the lead and ending netminder Blake Pietila's shutout bid. the 'Riders did a good job of shutting down the game and the Phantoms never really got good chances to tie the game and the 'Riders added the empty net goal to seal it.  Shots were 17-16 in favor of Cedar Rapids.