The Phantoms continued their torrid pace this week as they picked up three of a possible four points with an overtime loss and a win against two tough opponents.
Oskar Lindblom led the way as he continued his great month. He continues to impress at the AHL level.
Wednesday, Dec. 20th vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (5-4 OT loss)
The Phantoms were behind for most of the night, but a comeback was nullified as the Wolf Pack won in overtime.
In the first period, Dustin Tokarski made two great saves early and the Phantoms had 17 shots, but Hartford got on the board first with two late goals off the sticks of Caleb Herbert and Gabriel Fontaine. Both goals were due to defensive lapses from the Phantoms that found Herbers and Fontaine wide open bearing in on goal.
The Phantoms would strike back in the second period with Reece Willcox scoring his second goal of the season, as he received a pass from Matt Read and pulled Wolf Pack goalie Marek Mazanec way out of his net for the easy backhand.
Following a fight that saw Tyrell Goulbourne take down Brandon Crawley, an instigator penalty was assessed to Goulbourne, and the Wolf Pack capitalized as Ryan Gropp scored on an odd goal that saw Steven Fogerty’s shot from the point hit the post and carom right to Gropp.
The Phantoms would score twice before the period ended on goals from Steven Swavely and Greg Carey to tie the game at 3. On Swavely’s goal, Willcox’s shot from the top of the faceoff circle caught Swavely’s stick and flew by Mazanec’s left shoulder. It looked like Mazanec was expecting a shot to his right, which explains why he was leaning to his right before Willcox even took his shot.
In the third period, the Wolf Pack and Phantoms split goals, with John Gilmour scoring six minutes into the period and Oskar Lindblom scoring just 1:26 minutes later on the power play. The game went to overtime, and Anthony DeAngelo scored to win the game, 5-4, on a shot that Tokarski didn’t even move on.
Saturday, Dec. 23rd, 2017 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (3-2 win)
For the fifth straight game, the Phantoms allowed the first goal, but in this version of the Phantoms-Penguins rivalry, the Phantoms came out on top.
Teddy Blueger opened the scoring for the Penguins with a goal coming late in the first period. Zach Aston-Reese’s shot from the point went off of Blueger’s body, who was screening Dustin Tokarski. The shot looked like it was rising over the net, but the deflection of Blueger directed the puck downwards.
Almost a full period later, Chris Conner scored late in the second to tie the game, but the Penguins would score two minutes later off the stick of Ryan Haggerty to retake the lead. Right before Haggerty scored, Steven Swavely had a great opportunity to put the Phantoms in the lead on a breakaway, but Casey DeSmith stopped his shot as well as Danick Martel’s rebound shot.
Midway through the third period, Nicolas Aube-Kubel got himself free near the goal line and Phil Varone, who was behind the net, found Aube-Kubel for an uncontested shot that squeezed underneath DeSmith’s pads to tie the game at 2-2.
Just minutes later, the Phantoms’ forecheck forced a turnover, and after Conner fought his way to the front of the net, he sent a no-look behind-the-back pass to a speeding Oskar Lindblom for the Phantoms’ first lead of the night.
The Penguins pulled DeSmith with well over a minute left in the game, but the Phantoms fought off the Penguins’ attack and won, 3-2.
Tokarski saved 39 of 41 shots as Oskar Lindblom led the Phantoms with three points.
Star of the week
Oskar Lindblom continued his fantastic month with two goals and three assists in two games, including a game-winning goal against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, a game-tying goal in the third period against Hartford, and a second and first star award.
Lindblom started out slowly with the Phantoms, not recording a point in his first six games, but he has since scored 23 points in 26 games. He sits sixth in the rookie points standings.
His good positioning and awareness really showed this week, as his secondary assist on Aube-Kubel’s goal against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was the result of him knowing that Varone was cycling behind the net. Also, he showed his strength on the play by keeping the puck off a bump from Jarrett Burton.
His game-winning goal against the Penguins was also the result of him being aware of Conner’s positioning and ability to play the puck to Lindblom, and his goal against Hartford showed Lindblom’s ability to fill in open holes.
Adam Comrie was released from his PTO on Thursday and sent back down to the Reading Royals. This was Comrie’s second loan stint to the Phantoms this season, and in 10 AHL games, he has recorded 3 points.
Following Saturday’s game against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Phil Varone is third in AHL points with 34 in 32 games. Danick Martel and Greg Carey still sit second and fourth in AHL goals with 17 and 16, respectively.
- Wednesday, 12/27 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
- Friday, 12/29 vs. Charlotte Checkers
- Saturday, 12/30 vs. Charlotte Checkers