The Phantoms entered the weekend red hot, but they weren’t able to continue that success. They lost to the Toronto Marlies in a shootout and the Rochester Americans to pick up one of four possible points.
Friday, Jan. 5th, 2018 @ Toronto Marlies (3-2 SO loss)
The Phantoms came from behind to take a 2-1 lead into the third period, but Toronto was able to tie the game and win in a shootout.
The Marlies started the game with a goal just 49 seconds in. It was as lucky as a goal can be; Kasperi Kapenen’s shot was stopped by Alex Lyon, but Miro Aaltonen was able to get his body on the puck for the goal. T.J. Brennan did a good job at keeping Aaltonen from being able to use his stick, but sometimes a weird bounce can go against you, and that’s exactly what happened to the Phantoms here.
In the second period, Alex Krushelnyski blocked a shot from the point by Andrew Nielsen and earned himself a breakaway. Krushelnyski settled a rolling puck, slowed down as he got closer to Toronto goaltender Garret Sparks, and faked a move to his forehand before shooting it into the open net on his backhand.
Sparks was pulled out to his left by Krushelnyski with a nice move. By the time Sparks realized he was way too far out, it was too late. He tried to cover the puck, but Krushelnyski pulled the puck closer to his body and buried it.
Oskar Lindblom scored the second goal for the Phantoms. His initial shot from the bottom of the circle was blocked, but he got his own rebound and slotted the puck home from behind the goal line for his 12th goal of the season. Sparks again was pulled out of the net, but it’s hard to fault him for anything on the play.
Lindblom smartly banked it off of Sparks and in.
It was Lindblom’s third-straight game with a goal, and fifth goal in his last six games.
Chris Conner had a chance to put the Phantoms up 3-1 just four minutes after Lindblom’s goal, but he wasn’t able to lift the puck into the air which allowed Sparks to make a fantastic save.
The Phantoms held the lead until there were under four minutes left in regulation. Brennan gave the puck away to Colin Greening in the Phantoms defensive corner to the left of Lyon, and Greening just threw the puck on net. It bounced off of Lyon and through a small crack between his skate and the post for the game-tying goal.
In the shootout, Aaltonen and Kapenen scored, and Conner and Lindblom couldn’t convert, giving Toronto the 3-2 shootout win.
Saturday, Jan. 6th, 2018 @ Rochester Americans (3-1 loss)
The next night, the Phantoms traveled to Rochester. Their weekend started off poorly with a shootout loss, and it only got worse with a regulation loss to the Americans.
The Americans scored first on the power play as Kyle Criscoulo sent a cross-crease pass that seemingly fooled Dustin Tokarski, who seemed to be expecting the puck to go all the way across the ice and not to Kyle Smith in the slot. Smith scored on the open net and put Rochester ahead 1-0
Five minutes later T.J. Brennan scored on a wrist shot from the top of the circle. Rochester goaltender Linus Ullmark was screened by Matt Tennyson and Casey Nelson and wasn’t able to see where the puck was going.
In the second period, Kevin Porter beat Dustin Tokarski with a one-timer on a two-on-one and put the Americans on top, 2-1. Rochester would score again courtesy of Seth Griffith on the empty net and won, 3-1.
Dustin Tokarski saved 32 of 34 shots in the loss.
Stars of the week
Alex Lyon was awarded the third star of the game against Toronto. Both goals Toronto scored weren’t his fault; the first goal came on an odd bounce and the second goal was off a turnover right near the net.
Dustin Tokarski came up big many times against Rochester. In the third period, with the Phantoms still down by only one goal, Tokarski came up big multiple times, including these three saves in which he had to pull out his inner-Dominik Hasek.
He stopped a point shot then got across for a pad save.
He absolutely robbed a man with a sliding save here.
Then he stacked the pads for another great save.
The Phantoms were without Tyrell Goulbourne this weekend, as the scrappy forward was called up to the Flyers earlier in the week. He returned on Sunday, as the Flyers’ next game is Saturday and the Phantoms play on Friday. If he does get called back up, he will at least have one more Phantoms game to play in before returning to Philadelphia.
T.J. Brennan and Danick Martel were named to the AHL All-Star Classic. This will be Brennan’s fifth-straight appearance and Martel’s first.
The Phantoms fell to third place in the Atlantic after the weekend, behind Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in second and Providence in first.
- Friday, 1/12 vs. Springfield Thunderbirds
- Saturday, 1/13 vs. Hershey Bears