Welcome to Rochester. The first game of the USHL American Cup came without much fanfare and then went, mostly the same way it came. This might be a good thing since the Phantoms seemed to show up a little late and never fully recovered.
The Gamblers got on the board quick, just 0:26 into the game, Jarred Crespo parked in front of Kyle Chauvette, redirected a shot by Damien Carfagna from the point. A too many man penalty lead to the Gamblers taking a 2-0 lead, Ethan Straky falling as he shot a laser through traffic and over the glove of Chauvette at 11:53. The Phantom's halved the lead at 17:44, Kenta Isogai winning the puck on the boards behind the net to Stivin Sardarian, who set up Winter Wallace in front for his second goal of the season. Shots were 8-7 Phantoms after the first but the score was 2-1.
The only goal of the second was for the Gamblers at 6:37. Phantoms defenseman TJ Schweighardt had carried the puck in deep but lost possession to the Gamblers who hurried up ice. Kenta Isogai was forced to defend Cameron Lund in a 1-on-1 situation and Lund managed to beat him and then Chauvette cleanly. The Phantoms outshot the Gamblers 11-4 in the middle frame.
The Phantoms finally seemed to push back in the third. Hard work on the boards during a Gamblers powerplay by Trey Taylor and Jaden Grant sprung Winter Wallace on a 2-on-1 with Schweighardt. Gamblers defenseman Kent Anderson sprawled out to take away the pass but Wallace seemed to be thinking shot anyway, and he nabbed his second goal of the game at 3:29. Adam Ingram kept his scoring streak alive, 13 games, dangling the puck east and west along the blueline before firing a shot in from the left faceoff circle at 6:32 to tie it at 3 a side.
That was all we had and the Gamblers had one more. A failure to clear the zone lead to Will Staring firing a one-timer from the left faceoff circle that found a crack in Chauvette to squeeze through. Shots were 10-9 Phantoms in the third and 29-20 overall but the score was 4-3 Gamblers after the buzzer.
What went wrong? First and foremost, we did not win as many battles as Green Bay. The 50/50 stuff on the boards and loose pucks went to them more than us. We also got a little cute and sloppy, defensemen cycling low. Add to that a lot of missed opportunities, shots wide and out of the zone and plays that just did not get executed as planned. Chauvette missed a couple that I think he would want back, especially that last one.
And that was it for the first day of the USHL American Cup. There was not really much of a buzz as we filed out of the Bill Grey's Regional Ice Plex. It's hard to gauge what the reaction to the event was, we'll have to see going forward, but for the Phantoms this was just another road game and one more to go on the weekend.
Winter Wallace one-timer for a goal!
Winter Wallace snipes a goal!