The Phantoms and USA NTDP U17s engage in some pushing along the boards in the second period.Scrum Together - The Phantoms and USA NTDP U17s engage in some pushing along the boards in the second period.
The Phantoms finished out November a little better than the previous month. After a 2-1-1-1 start the Phantoms went 9-1-1-0 putting themselves in a tie with Chicago for top spot in the East. With only a Friday night game on tap, the Phantoms really wanted to put up another win at home and add points in the standings. This was going to be an interesting challenge against an offesivly charged NTDP U17 team that beat the league leading Fargo Force 6-3 the night before.

For something that was supposed to be an offensive showcase, it wasn't. There was a lot of up and down action but defenses and goalies did their jobs well. The Phantoms outshot USA 12-6 in the first but neither team found the twine. It wasn't until the 11:10 mark of the second that someone would score and it was the Phantoms with the first strike. Alex Barber would intercept an exit pass from NTDP defenseman Drew Helleson at the blueline before they cleared it. He sent a pass to Chase Gresock in the left faceoff circle who rifled it past NTDP netminder Spencer Knight. The Phantoms would be outshot 11-5 in the frame leaving the total shots even at 17 all at the end of 2. 

Wouter  Peeters dives to stop a second chance goal in the second period 11/22/17.#36 Wouter Peeters makes a sprawling save - Wouter Peeters dives to stop a second chance goal in the second period 11/22/17.

Well, you know we couldn't just skate into the Thanksgiving holiday without a little drama. With a player being put on the IR and a new acquisition being announced, it seemed like the big story of the week being behind us. As soon as the players took the ice for warmups it became apparent that this wasn't the case. Goaltender Ivan Prosvetov did not take the ice, instead Wouter Peeters took the net with an emergency netminder, Hunter Robbins of the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite U16. I had said I thought Peeters needed another starting chance and this was going to be the night apparently.

The first period was a lot of hit, shots on goal, and some decent scoring chances but no scoring. The Lumberjacks outshot us 15-9 but I thought the Phantoms had the better chances. The second frame was a lot more eventful. After both teams had an abbreviated powerplay with some 4-on-4 in the middle, the Phantoms would get on the board first. On the first shot of the period for the Phantoms, Alex Barber would send in a wrist shot from well above the left faceoff circle that would find a seam through traffic at 4:42. Curtis Hall would be denied shorthanded by Adam Brizgala a few minutes later, something only worth mentioning since this was his only save of the frame. The next 4 shots from the Phantoms would find the twine behind him.

The Phantoms looked to bounce back after a wild 8-5 loss to the NTDP with the defending Clark Cup champs and current Eastern Conference leaders, the Chicago Steel. Everyone knew this was going to be a tough game and we would need our players to elevate their game. 

The Phantoms scored the only goal in the first, Alex Barber's first USHL goal on a hard wist shot from long range that blew the Steel's netminder Oskar Autio at 14:03. Barber used a defenseman in the slot as a screen making it hard for Autio to track. Shots were 9-9 going into the intermission. 

The Steel came out of the lockers ready to even things up. Behind the Phantoms net, Steel forward Baker Shore lifted the stick of Jake Gingell forcing a turnover. Chicago defenseman Matteo Pietroiro got a shot on Ivan Prosvetov who was unable to corral the rebound. Shore nicely backhanded the rebound in to tie the game 0:15 into the second. However 1:18 later, Jake Malone would send a shot into traffic and Tommy Parrottino tipped it by Autio.

The teams would trade goals again later in the second. On the penalty kill, Max Ellis would strip Tyler Gratton, a forward dangling the puck on the PP near the blueline, and skate up ice for a breakaway goal. Ellis had used a similar move before in shootouts, nice stickhandling to freeze the netminder and going backhand to forehand around them for open net at 8:12. However, moments after the Phantoms were back to full strength the Steel's Jordan Seyfert laid a nice pass to Robbie Stucker all alone in front of Prosvetov, the Phantoms defense blowing the coverage massively,  and Stucker put on a skick handling clinic in front of the Phantoms netminder before popping the puck over him at 8:49. Things would get chippy after that and both sides would have good powerplay opportunities, but 3-2 was the score after 40:00 with the shots 10-6 in favor of the Steel in the period.