I'll just say this, the Phantoms can't seem to catch a break against this team. Last nights tilt went 65 Minutes plus a shootout but you can boil down the loss to a 3 minute lapse in the third and add insult to injury from Matthew Tkachuk which has my blood boiling, but I'll get to that later. All in all it was our best performance on the past couple seasons against the NTDP U18 kids, but we still left a point out there we could have had. Despite tweets from the USHL that coach Anthony Noreen was suspended, we had a full compliment of staff on the bench, including our sometimes wound too tight head coach. Carson Vance also returned giving us 6 dressed defenseman. And with Chris Birdsall facing Luke Opilka in net, the USHL's only 2 NHL CSS"B" ranked goalies would be dueling it out. Needless to say, it was an exciting game none the less.

The Phantoms started out the night flying. Trey Bradly would open the scoring just 2:15 into the game. Bryan Lemos would hit the young forward with a nice outlet pass coming up the middle of the ice. Bradley would fake a shot coming down the slot before shifting the puck to his backhand and roofing a beauty over the sprawling Opilka. Taylor best would find a loose puck in the low slot traffic jam and fire it home to make it 2-0 late in the frame. Bradley would add his second of the night and fourth in four games less than 2:00 into the second. The 3-0 score would carry into the third where Ryan Lomberg would tally his third shorthanded goal, wristing one past the USA netminder from the faceoff circle just 3:10 into the third frame.

Hockey at 10:15am with 3,000+ screaming kids. This is Phantoms hockey! Yesterday marked the second and final Kids Day Game of the season and this was the turnout we needed. Oh, and there were hockey scouts in attendance, including the head of the NHL's Central Scouting, Dan Marr. Despite an early start time, this was one both teams would want to be ready to go for. Neither side would be disappointed.

Chris Birdsall has had the hot glove for the Phantoms and would be tapped for the start, his third straight. Cale Morris, who beat the Phantoms twice at the Covelli earlier in the season, would start for Chicago. Morris was also recently named to the USA Jr. Select team for the Junior A Challange along with Kyle Connor. The tournament starts later this month. Once again, the Phantoms would be without a couple key blueliners, Tommy Parran and Carson Vance. I'm assuming Vance is injured and Parran was suspended 3 games for leaving the bench during an altercation in Muskegon. He'll be eligible to return for Saturday's game. This left the Phantoms with only 5 defensemen dressed for the second straight game.

OK, I'll start yet another article off with an apology for slacking off. I did not get any updates in on last weekends pair of games in Bloomington or a preview of this weekends home-and-home against Muskegon. I've been a little under the weather, nothing serious or contagious, and a lot overworked at my job. I also had to take a couple days to calm down and keep this a PG(13) rated page. I'll go into that later.

The Phantoms began a three game road trip in Bloomington on 11/21 and kicked it off in typical Phantoms fashion, scoring three goals in the first, chasing David Jacobsen from net with 2 goals in 6 shots.  Logan Halladay gave up a quick goal to Ryan Lomberg, his second of the night, just 0:07 into the second and the phantoms seemed to be cruising. But that's when Bloomington seemed to turn the corner on their slump. To condense this down for time and space, 0:53 seconds after the Lomberg goal the Thunder would rattle off 5 goals in the period, all on Collin DeAugustine, to go into the final frame with a 5-4 lead. This included a penalty shot awarded to the Thunder on a Phantoms PP, Josh Melnick being the only one back had to haul down Ryan Siroky who converted his chance. Some late heroics by Melnick, who is relishing the his role as a clutch player this year, tied it up with 5:06 left and Max Letunov scored just 0:18 into the OT period. In addition to a high scoring affair, it was extremely physical tilt and the Phantoms went 2-7 on the PP and Bloomington 0-3. The biggest issue for the Phantoms was the 1 game suspension handed to Ryan Lomberg for interference. Initially he was only assessed a single minor but it looked like slamming his stick into the glass earned him a 10 minute misconduct for unsportsmanlike conduct, his second call for that in the period with the first being a separate minor penalty. Coach Noreen left DeAugustine in the whole tilt and he came out with a 6-5 win.