The Phantoms had freshly laid and painted ice for last nights thriller 7-5 win over the Muskegon Lumberjacks.Nothing Like Fresh Ice! - The Phantoms had freshly laid and painted ice for last nights thriller 7-5 win over the Muskegon Lumberjacks.
I had stated before last night that getting into a high scoring game, trading goals against the run-and-gun Muskegon Lumberjacks was a bad idea for the Phantoms and a losing strategy. Well, they did and I'm really glad to have been proven wrong. We saw a total of 12 goals last night and 7 of them went into the 'Jacks net. It was a crazy night with a goal within the first 2:00 and 2 goals in the last 2:00 all 3 periods.

It didn't take long to see how the night was going to play out. The 'Jacks controlled the puck in the Phantoms zone early, Phil Tresca eventually delivering the puck from the blueline to the left faceoff circle where Joey Larson hammered a one-timer passed Kyle Chauvette at the 1:00 mark, the first shot of the game.

The Phantoms buckled down and got the even up goal at 10:36 when Grant Porter took a bad angle shot from the left side boards that evaded 'Jacks netminder Chase Clark. They took the lead late in the first when Justin Varner took a shot off the rush from the top of the faceoff circles that whipped by Clark at 18:13. 

This lead was short lived. Quinn Hutson put his skating skills on full display, taking the puck from below the right faceoff circle, dancing around several Phantoms as he skated out along the blueline and eventually into the left faceoff circle to take a wide open snapshot that beat Chauvette with :51 left in the period. Shots were 10-9 'Jacks in the first and the score knotted at 2 a side.

Some "stuff" happening during a Phantoms 6-3 win over the USA NTDP U17s.Sunday, Funday! - Some "stuff" happening during a Phantoms 6-3 win over the USA NTDP U17s.
After cancelling the game Friday due to a failing cooling system for the ice and an abysmal performance on Saturday, the Phantoms probably were just trying to get out of the weekend without anything else crazy happening at the Covelli and a bounce back win over the NTDP U17s. Well, they got half of that. It was somehow not surprising when I walked into the Covelli Centre on Sunday afternoon to a darkened arena due to a power outage. After an 80 minute delay, the lights were back on and we were able to play, and the Phantoms earned a 6-3 win.

Things started badly for the Phantoms. Just 1:19 into the game the NTDP struck first. A shot rebounded off of newly acquired Phantoms netminder Jacob Fowler as he missed sweeping the puck out of danger. Before he could cover it, William Vote poked it in to open the scoring. The Phantoms struggled to keep up for most of the period. However, a late penalty for USA put the Phantoms on the powerplay, and Trey Taylor notched his first of the night with 1:15 left in the period from near the blueline with Shane LaChance screening the NTDP goaltender Carson Musser. Shots were 8-7 Phantoms in the period.

Taylor got his second of the tilt early in the second. Kyle Bettens skated out from behind the USA net and laid a pass for Taylor to one-time from the left faceoff dot at 4:06. Winter Wallace, fresh out of the penalty, box extended the lead with a shot on the rush that looked to beat Musser stick side at 7:51 - just 9 seconds out of the sin-bin.  Paul Fischer halved the deficit for USA, a point shot through a screen in front of Fowler at 12:13.

Jacob Fowler get gets his first nod in relief of Kyle Chauvette Saturday.Welcome, Jacob Fowler! - Jacob Fowler get gets his first nod in relief of Kyle Chauvette Saturday.
Well, I've been saying the NTDP U17 kids will figure out how to play as a squad someday, and if you don't play a full 60 minutes in a game, you're going to get burned. I'm not fully convinced they've gotten beyond the first part, figuring it out, but the Phantoms proved me right on the second part. They played poorly for most of the game and got handed their first loss by the U17s this season in only their second win in the USHL. This coming after the Phantoms had their first game ever called off after start time, after lingering issues with the ice caused it to be deemed unsafe to play on Friday, an hour past the original scheduled start time.

It started well, at least. The Phantoms came out with a good jump in their step and took it to the NTDP early in the first. Kyle Bettens was the recipient of a Jaden Grant faceoff win in the left facoff circle, taking the puck from the boards to the slot without much resistance where he ripped a snap shot that beat NTDP netminder Ty Augustine five-hole just 2:35 into the game.

The Phantoms let up as the period went on, and the NTDP tied it at 10:15 after Adam Ingram was handcuffed by a pass in his defensive end. Alexander Weiermair stripped the Phantoms forward in the slot, and walked around netminder Kyle Chauvette who was too far out of the crease and went down to play the shot too early. With just 2:38 left in the first, the NTDP took the lead when Beckett Hendrickson wrapped the puck around the net from behind, centering a pass for Salvadore Guzzo to stab home for a 2-1 lead going into intermission. Shots were 10-9 USA in the first.

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