Minor League Update: 11/27-12/3

The Phantoms started off the week with a pair of wins before finishing with a one-goal loss. The loss was the Phantoms’ first loss since last Thursday and the game concluded violently. The Phantoms have one more road game before returning back to Adirondack for a pair of home games on Saturday and Sunday.

After having three days off, the Phantoms grabbed a 4-3 win at home over the Syracuse Crunch (the Anaheim Ducks’ AHL affiliate) on Wednesday to extend their winning streak to three games. Scoring the game-winning goal with only 5:12 left in regulation, Jason Akeson had a two-point night as he also assisted on Tye McGinn’s power-play goal in the second period. Tom Sestito scored his eighth goal of the season and Ben Holmstrom registered his fourth as the Phantoms held on for the one-goal victory despite being out shot 26-13 in the final 40 minutes. The Phantoms’ penalty kill played a huge role in the win as they successfully killed off all six of Syracuse’s power plays (three of which came on Cullen Eddy minors). Michael Leighton had 33 saves in the win.

Two days later, the Phantoms won their fourth straight game by beating the visiting Norfolk Admirals (the Tampa Bay Lightning’s AHL affiliate) 5-1. McGinn had a two-goal night as Holmstrom had the game-winner at the 7:23 mark of the second period and had the primary assist on McGinn’s first goal on the evening. Denis Hamel scored his 325th AHL goal late in the third period to put him tied for 12th on the all-time AHL goal scoring list with Glenn Merkosky. Dan Jancevski recorded his second goal of the season 4:09 into the third period as the Phantoms held the potent Admirals’ offense to only one goal during the game. Norfolk’s only goal came from Carter Ashton, who is second in the AHL with 13 goals on the season.

To conclude the week, the Phantoms allowed a pair of goals in the final 7:14 to lose 2-1 in their second game against the Admirals in as many days. Akeson had the Phantoms lone goal at the 5:01 mark of the second period, while Eddy and Hamel provided the assists. For the Admirals, Tyler Johnson had a pair of goals scoring the game-winner with only 30 seconds left in the game. Frustrated with the goal late in the game, the Phantoms started a late game line-brawl which included Admirals’ goalie Dustin Tokarski getting involved. The loss ended the Phantoms’ four-game winning streak.

To start the roster moves this week, the Phantoms were loaned defenseman Andy Thomas from the Trenton Titans earlier in the week. After posting two assists in 18 games with the Titans, Thomas recorded two shots on net and went plus-2 in his first two games with Adirondack.

In addition to adding Thomas, the Phantoms also added defenseman Brandon Manning this week. Manning was sent to Philly’s AHL affiliate and played this weekend, registering 17 PIM in last night’s loss.

The two other transactions this week are well-known, as both Matt Walker and Brayden Schenn were moved to the Flyers’ roster.

The Phantoms end their three-game road trip by playing the Hamilton Bulldogs (the Montreal Canadiens’ AHL affiliate) on Tuesday night. Returning home later in the week, the Phantoms host the Portland Pirates (the Phoenix Coyotes’ AHL affiliate) on Friday and the Rochester Americans (the Buffalo Sabres’ AHL affiliate) on Saturday.

The Trenton Titans had a week almost opposite of the Phantoms as they lost their first two games before finally winning last night. Since both of their losses were by one goal this week, the Titans have either won or lost each game by one goal dating back to November 9 (6-2-3).

In their first game of the week, the Titans lost 4-3 at home to the Chicago Express (the Columbus Blue Jackets’ ECHL affiliate). Dave Caruso should take full blame for the Titans’ loss as he made seven saves on 11 shots, while Chicago’s Rob Nolan made 26 saves on 29 Titan shots. Rob Bordson had a strong performance as he scored twice and assisted on the Titans’ other goal, while also posting five shots on net with a plus/minus of plus-1. Andy Bohmbach scored his 11th goal of the season with his power-play goal in the second period as Trenton went 2-for-5 with the man advantage overall. Bobby Robins had two goals for the Express including the game-winner one second before the one-minute mark of the third period.

Dropping their second game in a row, the Titans lost 5-4 in a shootout to the Jackals (ECHL affiliate for both the Ottawa Senators and Anaheim Ducks) on Friday night in Elmira. Artem Demkov had a goal in regulation and had the deciding goal in the shootout to give the Jackals their third straight win. Bordson played great for a second straight game posting two goals, an assist, and a plus-2 rating as his second goal helped the Titans erase their two-goal deficit in the third period. Randy Rowe gave the Titans a point by tying the score at four goals apiece with only 23 seconds left in the game. Bohmbach had a power-play goal and an assist as he led all Titans with six shots in a game where the Titans converted on one of their nine power-play opportunities. J.S. Berube provided three assists for Trenton, one of which was the primary assist on Rowe’s game-tying goal in the last minute.

Powered by a two-goal night from Berube, the Titans finished their week with a 5-3 win last night in Wheeling against  the Nailers (ECHL affiliate for the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Montreal Canadiens). Adam Presizniuk, Mitch Versteeg, and Bordson each had a goal as Caruso made 41 saves in the win. Caruso made up for his performance against the Express earlier in the week winning a game for Trenton where they were out shot 44-20. Nailers’ netminder Peter Delmas allowed four goals on 19 shots, not making a single save in the third period as the only shot he faced in the period turned out to be Presizniuk’s tally.

In terms of player movement, several of the players who were mentioned last week were moved again this week.

For one, Eric Swanick was picked up as an emergency backup goaltender by the Express earlier in the week week. Swanick dressed in the Express’ game against the Titans on Sunday.

Anthony Felice, who was signed as an emergency backup netminder early last week, was released earlier this week.

Presizniuk, who was loaned to the Providence Bruins of the AHL last week, was returned to the Titans after his tryout with the Boston Bruins’ affiliate.

A new name to the roster moving mix is Patrick Kennedy, who signed a contract with the Idaho Steelheads (the Dallas Stars’ ECHL affiliate) in the middle of the week. Playing in one game with the Titans earlier this season, Kennedy scored a goal in his first game with the Steelheads.

Looking ahead, the Titans first game of the week takes place in a couple of hours as they host the Elmira Jackals today at 4 PM. On Wednesday, the Titans host the Nailers before traveling to Reading the next day to take on the Royals (ECHL affiliate for the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs). Trenton concludes their week by playing the Nailers for a second time, this time in Wheeling on Saturday.