Minor League Update: 1/8-1/14

The Phantoms won both of their games this week and are inching their way to the top of the standings. The pair of victories marked the first time the Phantoms had won back-to-back games in regulation since their wins against the Syracuse Crunch (the Anaheim Ducks’ AHL affiliate) on November 30th and the Norfolk Admirals (the Tampa Bay Lightning AHL affiliate) on December 2nd. Adirondack looks to add on to their winning streak with a trio of divisional games this week.

Friday the 13th is usually unlucky, but it proved fortuitous for the Phantoms as they beat the visiting Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal Canadiens’ AHL affiliate) 5-4. Denis Hamel scored his 13th goal of the season and second of the game off a shot that hit Hamilton’s goalie Robert Mayer, then the end-glass behind Hamilton’s net, then the top of Hamilton’s cage, then off Mayer’s back and in for the game-winning goal 5:15 into the third period. Michael Leighton earned his 13th victory of the season as he made 10 saves in relief of Jason Bacashihua, who allowed four goals on 21 shots in the first two periods of the game. Tyler Brown was the only player to score in the first period, as Brandon Manning scored his first goal with the Phantoms in the second period to give Adirondack the 2-0 lead early in the middle stanza. For the Bulldogs, Aaron Palushaj and Louis LeBlanc both had two-goal games, while Phil DeSimone and Andreas Engqvist each had two-assist games in the loss. Adirondack converted on two of their five power-play chances in the game, as they improved to 1-0-1 against the Bulldogs on the season.

Last night, the Phantoms beat the visiting Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles Kings’ AHL affiliate) 5-3. Eric Wellwood deposited the game-winner 7:01 into the second period for his eighth goal of the season. Defenseman Kevin Marshall had a goal and an assist, while Tom Sestito had two assists to provide Adirondack with two multi-point performances. Shane Harper scored his sixth goal of the season and Hamel scored his 14th goal of the season in the first period, while Ben Holmstrom put home his 11th late in the second period as the Phantoms out shot the Monarchs 29-16 in the first 40 mintues of the game. Robert Czarnik had two assists for the Monarchs and was one of only four Monarchs to finish the game plus-1 (Thomas Hickey, Brandon Kozun, and Nick Deslauriers were the other three). Leighton earned the win with 23 saves, as Martin Jones was pulled after allowing five goals on 29 shots through two periods. Jeff Zatkoff made two saves in the third period, as the Phantoms won the first of four meetings between the two clubs this season. 

In roster moves, the Phantoms received defenseman Matt Walker from the Flyers and lost Erik Gustafsson in a call-up to Philly.

Playing in both of the Phantoms’ games this week, Walker had two assists, two PIMs, two shots on net, and a rating of plus-1.

Gustafsson played in the Flyers’ loss to the Predators last night going pointless with an even rating in 12:41 TOI.

The Phantoms’ first game this week is their only Monday game of the season, as they hit the road to take on the Albany Devils (New Jersey Devils’ AHL affiliate) in a matinee game. Heading back to Adirondack for the weekend, the Phantoms host the Devils on Friday and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (New York Islanders’ AHL affiliate) on Saturday.

The Trenton Titans went 1-1-0 this week, as they snapped a long losing streak at home with their win last night. The Titans look forward to a pair of divisional games before taking on the leaders of the North Division to conclude the week.

The Titans dropped their second straight game with a 4-1 loss at home to the South Carolina Stingrays (Washington Capitals’ ECHL affiliate) on Friday night. Chris Doyle had a four-point night for the Stingrays, as he scored his third and fourth goals of the season and assisted on the Stingrays’ other two goals. Doyle had one of the Stingrays’ three goals in the first period, while both Zach Tarkir and David de Kastrozza tallied in the first 20 minutes as well. Mitch Versteeg netted his third of the season with 5:05 left in the second period for the Titans only goal of the night, while Adam Presizniuk and Randy Rowe assisted on the goal to serve as the only players with points for Trenton. Daren Machesney provided the Stingrays with 27 saves in the win, while David Caruso suffered his second straight loss denying 21 saves in the process. The loss was the Titans’ fourth straight at home, as their last win at home came with a 5-3 decision over the Toledo Walleye (ECHL affiliate for the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings) on December 18th.

Trenton snapped their home losing streak last night with a 3-2 win over the Reading Royals (ECHL affiliate for the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs). Matt Germain’s ninth goal of the season 4:35 into the second period was the game-winner, as he led all skaters with nine shots on net. Rob Bordson netted his 10th and 11th goals of the season, as his first tally allowed Trenton to convert on their only power play in the game. Royals’ goaltender Paul Dainton received no help in a 53-save loss, as Trenton out shot Reading 56-25. Five Titans provided five shots or more on net, as Trenton posted a shot advantage of 21-7 in both the second and third period. Tyler Brenner was the only Royal with a multi-point night posting a two-assist game, as the Titans won their second home game in their last nine at Trenton. 

The biggest news related to Trenton’s roster this week was the departure of defenseman Jordon Southorn and forward Peter Lenes to the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL affiliate for the Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins) for future considerations.  

In his first three games with Wheeling, Southorn was minus-1 with five shots on net.

Lenes made his presence felt early in Wheeling, as he scored three goals, provided two assists, and was plus-2 with 15 shots on net in three games this week.

As for players who returned to the Trenton roster, both defenseman Stephen Mallaro and forward Rowe saw the ice this week for the Titans.

After being released from his SPC (Standard Player Contract) last week, Mallaro signed another SPC with Trenton this week. In two games with the Titans, Mallaro had a shot on net and two PIMs.

Rowe returned from the injured reserved and took part in his first games since the Titans’ 6-3 road loss to the Florida Everblades (ECHL affiliate for the Carolina Hurricanes and the Tampa Bay Lightning) on December 23rd. He registered an assist, four shots on net, and two PIMs with a plus-1 rating in Trenton’s pair of games this week.

The Titans’ first two games this week take place in New York, as they play the Elmira Jackals (ECHL affiliate for the Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators) today and Friday night. They return home to take on the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL affiliate for the New Jersey Devils and Vancouver Canucks) on Saturday.