- Written by Justin Irwin
- Category: Game Recap
- Hits: 123
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.
- Written by Justin Irwin
- Category: Game Recap
- Hits: 108
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.
- Written by Justin Irwin
- Category: Opinion and Editorial
- Hits: 124
Well, hockey season is fully underway and the Phantoms are back at home after picking (1-2-1-0) up their first points of the season on the road. In Fargo we managed to battle the Force to an OT loss last Friday and a shootout win the next day. The big story out of the weekend was the emergence of goaltender Ivan Provletov, but I'll get to that later. This week we have a pair of games against Eastern conference rivals. First up is a morning game against Green Bay (2-1-1-0) and then a typical Saturday evening game against Muskegon (1-3-0-0).
Green Bay comes into town looking to score a little payback for being edged out of last seasons final playoff spot by the Phantoms with a 1 point margin. This season their off to a pretty decent start by all 4 games they've played have been decided by 1 point, half in overtime. Forward Noah Prokop is highly touted, a 00 born center who made the All-American Prospects Game roster and earned a C rank in the NHL's CSS report. Other than him I like Nicholas Nardella, a winger who played in Tri-City last season. On defense, I thought Michael Bevilaqua played well last season and in preseason and should be a solid defender this season. Also on defense Michael Vukojevic was a big body '01 born blueliner with good skating ability who could mature into a real powerhouse. In net is a returning netminder, Maxim Zhukov. Zhukov split the duties with David Hranek last season but this season he clearly looks like a number one. I was not that impressed with him last season but he's progressed a bit over the off season. He's played all 4 games this season posting a 1.99 GAA and a .924 SV%. I doubt we'll see backup Jake Begley. He hasn't played this season but posted a 3.22 GAA and a .848 SV% in preseason.
Then Muskegon comes in for a visit. The last few years they've had high powered offenses with names like Rem Pitlick and Andrei Svenchnikov. Those players have been gone on to other leagues leaving the Lumberjacks with holes to fill and they seem to have filled them. On offense, Jachym Kondelik is back for a second season and in preseason he looked like he could be a league leading scorer and the NHL's CSS put him in at a B rank. He's posted 2g and 1a so far this season. Also rakning on the CSS was Emilio Petterson. In preseason, I also liked the play of Mikael Hakkarinen, Wyatt Bongiavoni and Anthony Del Gaizo. On defense Travis Mitchel and Marc Del Gaizo both pulled C ranks on the NHL's CSS report, both earned it at the Fall Classic. Like the Gamblers, last season the 'Jacks goaltenders split duties. Kieth Petruzzelli has moved on but Adam Brizgala is back. Brizgala was decent last season, though I thought he did not fully live up to his billing. His numbers to start this season seem very similar, 2.50 GAA and a .914 SV% and in preseason he seemed to be picking up right where he left off. His backup is Matt Vernon who only played a period this year against the NTDP U18s where he let 4 goal in before being replaced to start the second period in a 7-0 routing. His preseason stats were a 3.45 GAA and a .875 SV%.
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