The Phantoms drop game one of the USHL American Cup to the Green Bay Gamblers.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 referee signals no goal after a frantic scramble in front and behind Kyle Chauvette.The Phantoms started a 4 game point streak at the Covelli a couple weeks ago with a win over Cedar Rapids, a team that handed us a few losses earlier. We still had another outstanding debt to pay this season, a check payable to the Madison Capitols. That bill came due last night.

Jaden Grant got things going early. After an earlier powerplay was cut short due to the Phantoms taking their own penalty, the Phantoms second attempt at the man advantage was successful when Adam Ingram found Grant in the slot. Grant had just enough space between defenders to backhand the puck behind Caps netminder Marino Ramirez 4:52. The Phantoms added another powerplay goal late in the period, Grant assisting this time with a nice pass from the left halfboards to the slot where Morgan Winters deflected the pass in behind Ramirez for his first USHL goal at 17:32. Shots were 12-9 Phantoms who had a 2-0 lead.

Any thoughts that the Caps were going to just roll over and go down without a fight were extinguished quickly into the second frame. An early powerplay for them lead to Nick DeSantis snapping a shot through traffic, beating Kyle Chauvette who was well screened on the play at 0:48. A bit after the 5:00 mark, the Caps thought they had tied it. A loose puck near the crease lead to a mad scramble of players, Tyler Catalano laying on the goal line across the goal mouth, Chauvette somewhere in a pile of players, and the Caps trying to shove the whole mess into the goal cage. The puck somehow went across the line, the goal light went on, and the Caps celebrated but the ref immediately waived it off. The best guess is the puck had been deemed covered by a Phantom player and the ref was in the process of blowing the whistle.

Some Phantoms work the corner in a Sunday grinder against the Steel.Sunday afternoon games are sometimes hard for players and fans to get up the energy for. Couple that with both teams playing games the previous two evenings and you would expect a low key game on the ice. Then, add in the fact that it was Halloween and many people were busy with that (or a competing big NFL game) and you would expect the stands to be pretty low key as well. You'd be right on both accounts. With the defending champions and current league leading Chicago Steel coming to town, we were hoping the Phantoms could find a little sugar rush in their candy bags.

The Steel gave the Phantoms a treat early when the puck took an unexpected bounce off the side boards during a routine Phantoms dump in. As the Steel netminder, Gibson Homer, went behind the net to stop the puck, it instead took a hop towards the slot. Homer managed to dive back to the top of the crease to try to stop the puck, but Kyle Bettens came streaking in and got enough of the puck that it trickled through the floundering goaltender just 0:48 into the game.

The Phantoms held the momentum for most of the period, not really dominating but clearly keeping their pace just above the Steel. Kyle Chauvette, starting his second game in less than 24 hours, made several stellar saves as the period progressed. As the first neared it's end, Tyler Catalano dislodged the puck from the Steel's Michael Emerson following a dump in. The puck went straight to the stick of the Phantoms Grant Porter in the high slot, who wasted no time snapping home his first USHL goal with 0:38 left in the period. The Phantoms took the 2-0 lead to the intermission with the shots 10-9 in favor of Chicago.