Owne Bartoszkiewicz moves the puck out of harms way in a 3-0 shutout of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.The hope going into Saturday's game was that we'd be getting back some played from Covid protocol after playing shorthanded on Friday, dressing three '05 affiliates and an emergency backup goalie. Well, we got back Kenta Isogai and Evan Werner, but out went Justin Varner and Tomas Machu. To top it all off, the two Pens Elite affiliates had to go back, leaving Skogen Schrott as the only affiliate. Net result, we only had 18 players dressed last night - 11 forwards, 5 defensemen, 1 goalie, and the EBUG. It looked like it was going to be a rough night, but the Phantoms pulled it together for more than just a simple win. It was a shutout.

The Phantoms started it off in the first. RoughRiders defenseman Eric Pohlkamp, turned the puck over to Ryan Alexander just inside the 'Riders blueline as Evan Werner made himself available in the slot. Alexander one-touched the puck to Werner who dragged the puck forehand to backhand across the top of the crease before roofing a backhander over the glove of 'Riders netminder Connor Hasley at 6:35 of the first. Shots were 7-7 in the first.

The second period was Adam Ingram's time to score. A 2-on-1 with Winter Wallace quickly turned into a breakaway on net with Ingram using his speed to walk around 'Riders defenseman William Brenner. Ingram went from left to right across the crease, making Hasley open up the five hole, much as he did in the second period the night before. Time of the goal was 14:12. Shots were 18-10 Cedar Rapids in the second.

Owen Bartoszkiewicz celebrates his first win at home as the Phantoms start off 2022 with a 3-1 win over Cedar Rapids.The Phantoms returned to the Covelli to kick of 2022. But with the new year comes a new wave of Covid virus issues. Last weekend it hit the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, who had to postpone a couple games while the Phantoms played somewhat shorthanded to finish out 2021. The good news for the Phantoms was players like Trey Taylor, Adam Ingram, and Ryan Alexander were cleared to play this week. The bad news is that Jaden Grant, Kyle Bettens, Bayard Hall, Kyle Chauvette, and several others were added to the list leaving the Phantoms scrambling to call up enough players to hold the game. The good news is that we managed to fill enough gaps and the 'Riders still had issues of their own. The result was a great game and a big win for the Phantoms.

It was the 'Riders who scored first. Martins Lavins nabbed his first of the season and USHL career at 11:04 of the first, throwing a harmless looking backhander at a sharp angle from the left faceoff circle. Owen Bartoszkiewicz seemed to have the post well defended, but the puck seemed to roll up off him and in as he lost his footing, falling backwards trying to handle it.

The Phantoms tied it later in the period on the power play. Trey Taylor danced around the 'Riders perimeter defense from the blueline to behind the goal where he threw no-look behind-the-back pass to Shane LaChance who fired a one-time cannon beating 'Riders netminder Geno Pichora. The Phantoms took the lead 1:14 later. Pichora went far out of his crease, almost between the face-off circles, to clear a dump-in away from the oncoming 2-on-1 Phantoms rush. The puck hit a body and instead went to the corner where Justin Varner retrieved it. Varner, without a second thought, threw the puck towards the crease and the back sliding Pichora, and the netminder's right skate deflected the puck into the net.  Shots were 10-8 Phantoms in the first period.

The Phantoms drop the second game at the Amercan Cup.Game two of the American Cup, the USHL's first foray into the Rochester, NY area was pretty much the same tone as the first - something random. We hoped the Phantoms would wake up a little after a slow start and overall dull performance in the first game and it seemed like that was the case... until it wasn't.

The Gamblers outshot the Phantoms 11-9 in the scoreless first but neither team really had much going in the opening period. The Phantoms opened the scoring at 5:31 of the second when Gamblers netminder Aaron Randazzo stopped Evan Werner on a breakaway but was prone and unable to stop the rebound from Adam Ingram, who tied the Phantoms all-time point scoring streak at 14 games. TJ Schweighardt made it 2-0 a little less than 3:00 later at 8:29 when TJ Schweighardt blasted a point shot on the powerplay and Randazzo had no idea because Winter Wallace was parked directly in front of him.

The Gamblers responded shortly after. A Phantoms offensive zone turnover on a 2-on-1 lead to a quick transition by the Gamblers and a Ryan Greene breakaway that he deked and went around a sprawling Kyle Chauvette at 10:05. Greene tied it at 14:20 when he was left alone in the slot, between two Phantoms defenders, and Matt BeBoer centered a pass to him for a easy one-timer. The Phantoms retook the lead late when Evan Werner got his first USHL goal. Taking advantage of the Gamblers losing possession of the puck exiting their zone, Werner stole the puck from behind the Gamblers in the high slot and went forehand to backhand and roofed the puck over Randazzo at 19:40. Shots were 11-9 Phantoms in the second period and the score 3-2 going into the third.