Minor League Update: 12/4-12/10

The Adirondack Phantoms may have lost two games this week, but the club managed to gain three points in the standings by taking part in three one-goal games.

After having only one one-goal loss in a regulation or overtime result in their first 21 games this season, the Phantoms have suffered three one-goal losses in their last four games. Unfortunately for Adirondack, their next two games are with teams against which they have gone just 1-3-0.

To start the previous week, the Phantoms lost 1-0 in overtime on the road against the Hamilton Bulldogs (the Montreal Canadiens’ affiliate) Tuesday night.

Saving the first 27 Hamilton shots of the game, Michael Leighton allowed an Aaron Palushaj shot to go in with only 45 seconds left in overtime. Former Islander Nathan Lawson had a 34-save shutout in the teams’ first meeting of the season. Dany Masse had the primary assist and T.J. Fast had the secondary assist in a game where the Phantoms out shot the Bulldogs 20-5 in the third period. Shane Harper had five shots for the Phantoms, while Jason Akeson had four shots as Adirondack was shut out for the first time this season.

Returning home after a three-game road trip, the Phantoms lost 2-1 to the Portland Pirates (the Phoenix Coyotes’ AHL affiliate) on a late goal Friday night. After Cullen Eddy scored his first goal of the season, as well as the Phantoms first goal of the week, in the first minute of the third period to tie the game at one, Ethan Werek scored his first goal of the season shorthanded with just 19.2 seconds left in the game to win it for Portland.

Leighton had a strong performance saving 35 Portland shots on a night his team was out shot 37-24. Portland’s first goal of the game was scored by Brock Trotter, who potted his fourth of the season 2:15 into the game. Werek’s goal marked the second time in three games the Phantoms lost on a goal scored in the last minute.

Ending their three-game skid, the Phantoms beat the visiting Rochester Americans (the Buffalo Sabres’ AHL affiliate) last night 3-2 in overtime. Ben Holmstrom scored the decisive goal on the power play two minutes into the extra frame as Rochester’s Drew Schiestel was in the sin bin with a double minor for high sticking.

Denis Hamel led all Phantoms in points with two assists as Leighton denied 29 shots in the victory. Harper registered his fourth goal of the season in the first period and Garrett Roe notched his third with 6:54 left to tie the game at two goals apiece. Evan Rankin had a two-goal night for the Americans as Adirondack’s penalty kill stopped Rochester’s power play twice in the final 5:22 to force overtime.

The most recognized roster move of the week was Johan Backlund being shipped down to the Trenton Titans. Fortunately for Backlund, he was called back up to the Phantoms later in the week.

The second roster move of the week was having Andrew Rowe loaned to Adirondack from the Flyers. Rowe’s first game back with the Phantoms was on Friday, as he provided no points, no shots, and no PIM with an even rating in the loss to the Pirates.

As for the upcoming games for the Phantoms, the club has off for the next five days before playing back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday.

On Friday, the Phantoms hit the road to take on the Binghamton Senators (the Ottawa Senators’ AHL affiliate). The next day, the Phantoms travel to New York to take on the Syracuse Crunch (the Anaheim Ducks’ AHL affiliate).

Moving on to the Titans, the Flyers’ ECHL affiliate is hoping a couple days off will turn things around for the club. Trenton has yet to win a game at home in December and they dropped three of their four games this week. Fortunately for the Titans, they only face one team in the upcoming week and it’s the team sitting at the bottom of the North Division.

In their first game of the week, the Titans dropped a 2-1 decision at home to the Elmira Jackals (the ECHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators) in a shootout on Sunday.

Dustin Cameron scored his fifth of the season before Elmira’s Mike Radja scored to tie the game in the third period. As neither team scored in overtime, Artem Demkov and Jack Downing scored in the shootout for the Jackals as Brian Stewart denied all Titans’ shooters for the Elmira victory. Mitch Versteeg, J.S. Berube, and Peter Lenes each provided four shots for the Titans as Trenton failed to convert on any of their three power plays on the night. Playing in his first ever ECHL game, Backlund had 24 saves in regulation and two saves in the shootout.

Hitting the road, the Titans lost a 3-1 decision to the Wheeling Nailers (the ECHL affiliate for the Penguins and Canadiens) in Trenton on Wednesday.

Mikael Bedard scored the game-winner 9:09 into the second period for the Nailers as the teams combined for 54 PIM. Randy Rowe provided the Titans’ lone goal on the night registering his eighth goal of the season with only 1:04 left in the game. David Caruso recorded the loss with a 31 save effort on 33 Wheeling shots as Chris Barton had an empty-net goal with only 43 seconds left in regulation. In his last game for the Titans this week, Mike Banwell had 17 PIM due in large part to his fight after the final whistle with Wheeling’s Scooter Vaughan, who also had 17 PIM on the night.

Getting back into the win column, the Titans pulled off a 3-2 overtime win on the road against the Reading Royals (the ECHL affiliate for the Bruins and Leafs) on Thursday night.

Ryan Hayes scored the game-winner with only 19 seconds left in overtime to cap off an extra frame that saw Trenton out shoot Reading 5-0. Matt Germain scored his second of the season in the last minute of the second period and Andy Bohmbach scored his 13th of the season early in the third period to round out the scoring trio for the Titans, while Brad Phillips had 19 saves in the victory. Reading’s Matt Schepke led all skaters in points for as he provided an assist on both of the Royals’ goals.

To conclude their week, the Titans lost their second game of the week against the Nailers with a 2-1 loss in Wheeling last night.

Corey Syvret (Danny’s little brother) scored his first goal as a Titan late in the second period. Caruso put forth quite the effort making 40 saves for the Titans, but it wasn’t enough as Wheeling’s Zack Torquato scored late in the first period and Patrick Johnson scored only minutes before Syvret’s tally. Berube may have had two of Trenton’s three minor penalties on the evening, but it was Syvret’s tripping call late in the second period that proved crucial as Johnson netted the game-winner with the Trenton defender in the box. Adam Presizniuk and Germain registered assists on the Titans’ only goal as the team fell for a fifth time in their last seven games.

The Titans made a handful of roster moves this week, starting with the transferring of defenseman Stephen Mallaro from the Danbury Whalers, of the Federal Hockey League (FHL), to Trenton. Taking part in all four of Trenton’s games this week, Mallaro had 6 shots and a plus-1 rating in his first days as a Titan.

As stated earlier, Backlund was moved down from the Phantoms to the Titans briefly earlier in the week.

After leaving his mark with a 17 PIM performance, Banwell was recalled from his loan and returned to the Albany Devils (New Jersey’s AHL club). In his two games with the Devils this week, Banwell had three shots and a plus-1 rating.

On Friday, the Rochester Americans signed Rob Bordson to a professional tryout. In his first two games with Rochester, including a match-up against the Phantoms last night, Bordson went pointless with four shots on net.

On Saturday, the Titans signed defender James Sanford, who had most recently played for the Dayton Gems of the Central Hockey League (CHL). Sanford’s first game with Trenton was last night in  Wheeling, where he went pointless with six shots on net and a minus-1 rating.

Another move completed on Saturday was defenseman Jordon Southorn being loaned to the Providence Bruins (the Boston Bruins’ AHL affiliate). Playing for the Bruins in Connecticut against the Whale (the New York Rangers’ AHL affiliate), Southorn had a minus-1 rating on the night.

Looking towards the next seven days for the Titans, they enjoy a light one-game schedule with their lone game being at home on Saturday against the Toledo Walleye (ECHL affiliate for the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks).