Minor League Update: 11/20-11/26

As part of a new weekly article, I’ll be taking a look at all the action that happened surronding the Flyers’ AHL affiliate (Adirondack Phantoms) and ECHL affiliate (Trenton Titans).

The Phantoms went 2-2-0  in their games this week losing both their road tilts before coming home to win a pair. After losing on Sunday, the Phantoms had off from Monday to Wednesday before playing three consecutive nights on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Saturday.

Michael Leighton recorded both of the wins for the Phantoms as the club looks to gain the top spot in the Northeast Division with three games against two East Division opponents over the next seven days.

To start the week, the Phantoms dropped a 5-3 decision on the road to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers(the New York Islanders’ AHL affiliate). Scott Howes, Dylan Reese, and Micheal Haley all registered their first goals of the season for Bridgeport, while Kevin Poulin made 19 saves to record the win.

For the Phantoms, former Kitchener Ranger Jason Akeson had a pair of goals and grabbed third star of the game, while Mike Testwuide led the team in scoring with three assists. Oliver Lauridsen had the other Phantoms’ goal on the night; he also dropped the gloves with Benn Olson. Two of Lauridsen’s three fights this season have been against Olson, both of which were losses.

Four days later, the Phantoms lost 5-2 on the road in a high-shooting affair to the Binghamton Senators in the only game played across the AHL on Thanksgiving. Long-time New York Islander Mark Parrish had two goals on the evening as well as an assist on the Senators’ first goal. Both Nikita Filatov and Derek Grant had a goal and two assists on the night, while former Devil (Albany and New Jersey) Mike McKenna had 37 saves in the win. Tom Sestito netted both of the goals for Adirondack as Brayden Schenn provided an assist in his first game back since breaking his foot in October.

The teams combined for 79 shots overall with Binghamton taking one extra shot for the 40-39 advantage.

Somehow, playing for the second day in a row and traveling in between games, the Phantoms returned home to smoke the Springfield Falcons, the AHL affiliate for the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-1.

Matt Walker scored his first goal as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers’ organization giving the Phantoms a 1-0 lead halfway through the first period. Shane Harper netted his second and third goals of the season in the second period, with Schenn chipping in his fifth goal of the season with only 53 seconds remaining in the middle stanza. Blake Kessel assisted on two of Adirondack’s goals, while Leighton provided a stellar 43-save performance as his team was out shot 44-25.

To cap off their week, the Phantoms finished with a 4-3 overtime winner against their Northeast Division rival Albany Devils. Jon Kalinski earned first star of the game as he provided an unassisted, shorthanded goal early in the third period as well as the game-winning goal in overtime. Garret Roe also had two points in the game as he scored in the opening minute and had the secondary assist on Schenn’s goal in the third period. Dan Jancevski had the primary assist on Schenn’s goal and the secondary assist on Kalinski’s game-winner for a two-assist night.

Leighton received his second win of the week as he made 32 saves on 35 shots, out playing Albany’s Keith Kinkaid, who had 25 saves on 29 shots.

As for transactions other than the news related to Marc-Andre Bourdon, Kevin Marshall, and Schenn, the Phantoms recalled defenseman Cullen Eddy from the Greenville Road Warriors (the New York Rangers’, as well as partially the Flyers’, ECHL affiliate) on Wednesday. 

Eddy made his debut against the Falcons and Devils this week. He was a plus-1 and provided the primary assist on Kalinski’s game-winning goal in overtime last night against the Devils. Eddy, who was born in Hidden Valley, Pennsylvania, played in 47 games last year for the Phantoms posting three goals and seven assists.

Looking at the week ahead, the Phantoms hope to end the month of the November on a positive note as they play the Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday. After a 6-3-1 October, the Phantoms’ November was slightly worse as their record will be 6-4-0, 5-5-0, or 5-4-1 depending on the outcome of Wednesday’s game. Despite the slight drop-off in their record for the month, the Phantoms are only two points behind the Northeast Division-leading Connecticut Whale (the New York Rangers’ AHL affiliate).

They finish the week playing back-to-back games in Norfolk against the Admirals (the Tampa Bay Lightning’s AHL affiliate) on Friday and Saturday night. The Admirals are the only team so far this season to hand the Phantoms a loss past regulation with a 5-4 shootout win on October 26 in Glens Falls.

Moving on the ECHL, the Trenton Titans won all three of their games this week with two of the wins coming on the road. Sadly, the Titans’ three-game winning streak nearly doubled their total wins on the season as they entered the week with a record of 4-9-1.

On the bright side, with only one game remaining in November, the Titans have improved their play this month going 6-3-1 after a poor 1-6-0 October to start the season.

The first game in the Titans’ winning streak came on Sunday, as they headed into West Virginia and handed the Wheeling Nailers (the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens’ ECHL affiliate) a 3-2 loss.

Adam Presizniuk scored the game-winning goal with only 4:15 left in regulation. Ryan Hayes led all Titans in scoring with three assists as both Rob Bordson and Chase Langeraap had a goal and an assist. Brad Phillips was snubbed as he should have earned the honor of being first star of the game saving 31 shots in a game where his team was out shot 33-14. Nailers’ netminder Patrick Killeen had a terrible night, giving up three goals on a meager 14 shots.

Putting an end to their three-game losing streak with a win last Sunday, the Titans started moving in the right direction by winning their second straight with a 5-3 win in Elmira over the Jackals (the Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators’ ECHL affiliate) on Friday.

Hayes recorded the game-winner 8:34 into the third period as ECHL rookie Denny Kearney had two assists in the win. The Titans needed another amazing goaltending performance to pull off the victory as Dave Caruso came through for Trenton. Facing 15 shots in each period, Caruso allowed only one goal in each to keep the Jackals to three goals on 45 shots. Jean Bourdeau had a goal and an assist for the Jackals, while former Phantom netminder Brian Stewart had the underwhelming performance of 26 saves on 31 shots; he allowed two goals on only nine shots in the third period.

Returning home after a successful 2-0-1 road trip, the Titans defeated the Chicago Express (Columbus Blue Jackets’ ECHL affiliate) 3-2 in overtime. Andy Bohmbach scored a goal in both the first and second period to give Trenton the 2-0 lead before the leaders of the North Division scored a couple of goals in the third period to force the game to overtime. Just past the halfway mark of overtime, Bordson registered his fourth goal of the season to give the Titans the win. Kearney had another strong performance as he provided the primary assists on Bohmbach’s second period goal and Bordson’s overtime tally.

Eric Baier, Jordon Southorn, Randy Rowe, and Dustin Cameron all pitched in an assist while Caruso earned his second win of the week with 20 saves. For the Express, Evan Stephens and Chaz Johnson scored in the third period to earn their team a point in the standings, while netminder Rob Nolan denied 37 shots in the loss.

Other than being occupied with three games this week, the Titans were also busy when it came to the movement of roster spots. 

To start the week, Harry Zolnierczyk was technically on the Titans’ roster for a few days, although he never actually went to Trenton due to the latest in a never-ending series of salary-cap emergencies not foreseen by the Flyers’ front office.

After the brief and flirtation with Zolnierczyk, the Titans signed Eric Swanick as an emergency backup goaltender on Tuesday. The netminder, who has yet to play a single game in the ECHL, was released by the Florida Everblades (the Tampa Bay Lightning’s and Carolina Hurricanes’ ECHL affiliate) almost exactly a month before the day he was signed by the Titans. Unfortunately for Swanick, he was signed by Trenton in the AM and released by the club later in the day.

Within the same day, Presizniuk, who scored the game-winning goal in the Titans’ game last Sunday, was loaned to the Providence Bruins. So far with the Bruins, Presizniuk has played one game, which came last night in the team’s 3-2 road loss to the Admirals. Presizniuk had an invisible stat line as he went pointless, was even in plus/minus, didn’t take any shots, and didn’t rack up any PIM.

On Wednesday, Trenton added forward J.S. Berube and emergency backup netminder Anthony Felice, while signing forward Tyler Shelast.

Berube, who was picked 205th overall by the New Jersey Devils in 2008, was sent to the Titans by the Albany Devils. He has two assists in eight games with the Devils this season.

Felice has been going back and forth between the Albany Devils and the Titans quite often this season. Despite the constant shifting between teams, Felice has yet to play a single game in the ECHL this season.

Shelast went pointless in two games for the Stockton Thunder (the San Jose Sharks’ and Edmonton Oilers’ ECHL affiliate) earlier this season before being assigned to the Greenville Road Warriors in mid-October. He has yet to suit up for the Titans since he signed the contract. 

On Thanksgiving, the Titans traded forward Blair Yaworski to the Utah Grizzlies (the Calgary Flames’ ECHL affiliate) for cash considerations.

Looking ahead to the Titans’ schedule this week, they’ll host the Express for a second straight night tonight before leaving Trenton for back-to-back road games. After visiting the Jackals in Elmira on Friday night, the Titans head to Wheeling to take on the Nailers on Saturday night.