Is the glass half full or empty? Saturday's tilt against the Muskegon Lumberjacks was one of those games that leave you asking questions like this. There are also some much more specific questions to be asked but I'll get to those later. For right now, we at least got our first point at home but just couldn't get that second point.

The Phantoms were banged up heading into the game. We did not even have enough healthy bodies to dress the full 21. Both teams played a sluggish first period. Shots were even at 8 side and no one had a clear advantage. The 'Jacks started to take over in the second. In addition to starting to double up on the shots, they also started the scoring off just over the mid-way point of the frame when Matej Pekar took off from the 'Jacks end on a 2 on 1 with Donovan Ott. Julian Kislin defended it well but both Andrew Petrillo and Alex Barber moved to try to pick up Ott, leaving Wyatt Bongiovanni more open than he should be trailing the play for a one-timer that the Phantoms netminder, Wouter Peeters, only managed to throw a chicken wing style elbow at. Barber should have been the forward to pick the trailer but the shot was stoppable as well. Peeters was not square to the shooter at all, he may have been expecting the pass to go to Ott. Just over 3:00 later Egor Afanasyev managed to split Jake Gingell and Zach Metsa in the slot to deflect a Bobby Kaiser shot that tipped off Peeters to push the lead to 2 goals. By this point, things seemed pretty bleak, Petrillo had moved to forward, presumably due to injuries.

The Phantoms would get back into it with 4:56 left in the second on the powerplay. Metsa would take a shot from the slot with the rebound bouncing to the left of 'Jacks netminder, Adam Brizgala. Gianfranco Cassaro managed to pop the puck up and over the sprawled goaltender into the crease where Curtis Hall would get a final stick on to put it across the line. This built up to one of the more exciting periods of hockey played at the Covelli since the playoffs last season. The Phantoms really went to work, grinding and getting pucks to the dirsty area and finally, with 2:23 left in regulation, a bouncing puck landed in the slot right on the stick of Petrillo, still playing forward, and he fired it home. Both teams would have glorious chances in the 3 on 3 OT, the Phantoms hitting a pair of posts, but no one would score.

The Phantoms seem to be developing a pattern at home. Score the first goal, then go down and not come back. At least is was (mostly) a lot more respectable against the Gamblers, the score anyway. It was a 2-1 game that could have easily been the other way around. 

The first period was uneventful. The Gambers outshot the Phantoms 10-5 but no damage was done. The Phantoms ratcheted up the offense in the second while the Gamblers struggled to even get a shot on the net for most of the frame. As mentioned earlier, the Phantoms struck first. With Gambler's Michael Vukojevic in the locker room on a head contact major, Matthew Thompson got his third goal, another powerplay tally, on a shot from the point through traffic at 9:18. The Gamblers wouldn't even get a shot on net until well after the 15:00. However, a lose puck in the crease and a horde of bodies trying to poke it every direction lead to Nolan Moyel getting credit for poking it under the Phantoms netminder Ivan Prosvetov with 1:29 remaining in the period. Shots were 10-4 Phantoms in the second.

Te thrd period was a little more action filled. Both teams traded a few good chances but it was the Gamblers that finally capitalized.After winning a puck battle in the corner behind Prosvetov, the Trenton Bliss put a pass to the low slot where Josh Dunne was behind Gianfranco Cassaro. Prosvetov stopped one shot but Dunne continued to poke at it until it went in. That would do it. Final shots were 14-10 in the frame and 28-25 total in favor of Green Bay. Things didn't exactly end at the final buzzer though. Just after time expired, Max Ellis and Noah Prokop exchanged some pushes. Ellis followed Prokop to the Gamblers celebration and laid a high crosscheck to the Green Bay forwards face. The refs quickly contained it but Prokop was down for a few minutes and Ellis was eventually given a major and game misconduct. 

After losing a tough one Saturday night, the Phantoms were looking to bounce back on a early Sunday evening. Everyone was hopeful a few minor changes to the lineup would give the Phantoms the boost they needed. The bad news is, it didn't work. The good news is... well, I'm still looking for the silver lining. I guess it's that it's only the first week of the season and we have plenty of time.

Things got off to a good start once again. The Phantoms looked to have a good jump in their step and took the lead a little over midway through the first frame. Curtis Hall, drfting from the high slot to the back of the left faceoff circle to create a little space, ripped a big slapper that beat Aces netminder Kris Carlson. Drew Elser would tie it back up just :32 after, on a rush up ice he let one fly from the right side that beat Phantoms netminder, Wouter Peeters this time, cleanly. Like the night before, the Aces would grab the lead late in the first. Max Andreev would carry the puck behind the Phantoms goal line and center to Matt Gosiewski, who wandered right through and behind the Phantoms defense. Peeters would stop the intital shot but Gosiewski would get his own rebound and poke that past Peeters with 2:23 left in the opening frame. To add to the issues, Max Ellis and Marco Riefenberger got tangled up late. Ellis gave what appeared to be a spear to Riefenberger. Play continued with Riefenberger apparently no worse for the wear and both teams possessing the puck. With about :12 left in the period and the first whistle after the altercation, there was a lengthy discussion and Ellis was given a major and game ejection. As far as I can tell, it must have been reported by the linesman.

The Phantoms would draw a penalty on the Aces early in the second, negating some of the major, when Eric Esposito was hauled down by Charlie Raith a stride away from having a shorthanded breakaway. Moments after the 4 on 4 expired, and with Phantoms defenseman Steven Holtz stickless, Gosiewski would get the puck on his stick in the slot for his second goal of the game to extend the lead to 3-1. Later on an Aces powerplay, Wouter Peeters would try to direct a harmless misdirected dump in hard around the back of his own net. However instead of a hard around and up the far side boards, he just bounced it softly off the boards to lie behind the net. Gosiewksi centered the pass to the other side where Max Andreev easily put it in for a 4-1 lead. The Aces would add another powerplay goal early in the third when Sebastian Diriven took the puck up the left side boards and laid a pass over to Jakub Lacka, who skated to through slot without much of a look from the Phantoms defenders, and Lacka put home an easy one-timer.