Minor League Update: 1/23-1/29

With a trio of losses this week, the Adirondack Phantoms extended their losing streak to five games. Over their five-game losing streak, the Phantoms have been out scored 20-7, as the team has suffered two four-goal losses. The Phantoms hope the AHL’s All-Star break will end their misery as of late, as they have a three-game home stand over the next several days.

For their third straight loss, the Phantoms dropped a 5-1 decision at the Verizon Wireless Arena to the Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles Kings’ AHL affiliate) on Wednesday night. Jordan Nolan posted the game-winner 11:31 into the middle stanza with his ninth goal of the season, while Brandon Kozun had a two-goal night for the Monarchs in their third win in January. Marc-Andre Cliche had his 13th goal of the season to open the scoring and assisted on J.D. Watt’s second period goal for a two-point night, while Linden Vey had two assists in the win. Former Phantom, and Flyers’ prospect, Stefan Legein had an assist for the Monarchs, as Manchester won their third straight game after they opened 2012 with a seven-game losing streak. Down 5-0, Mike Testwuide put home his eighth of the season 6:26 into the third period on assists from Ben Holmstrom and Blake Kessel. Michael Leighton suffered the loss, as he stopped 11 shots and allowed four goals against for a second time in a three-game span. Jason Bacashihua finished the game with 12 saves on 13 shots, while Jeff Zatkoff had 28 saves in his 12th win of the season.

For their second consecutive four-goal loss, the Phantoms were dominated 6-2 by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (New York Islanders’ AHL affiliate) in Adirondack on Friday night. After Tom Sestito’s ninth goal of the season late in the first period to open the scoring, the Sound Tigers scored four straight for a three-goal lead early in the third period. Jon Landry’s first goal in the AHL was the game-winning goal 4:53 into the middle period, while Casey Cizikas posted a goal and two assists for his second straight three-point game. Justin DiBenedetto had a goal and an assist, while Steve Oleksy had two assists, as 10 Sound Tigers had at least one point in the win. Kevin Poulin had 51 saves in the win to set his career-high for saves in an AHL game, as the Phantoms out shot the Sound Tigers 53-36 in the loss. Harry Zolnierczyk scored early in the third period for the Phantoms’ second goal, as Leighton allowed a season-high six goals against in a 30-save effort. The loss gave the Phantoms their first losing streak of at least four games this season.

To cap off their horrible week of hockey, the Phantoms lost 3-0 to the Albany Devils (New Jersey Devils’ AHL affiliate) in New York on Saturday. A Sestito had the game-winning goal, but unfortunately for the Phantoms it was Tim with his fourth goal of the season at the six-minute mark of the second period. Peter Harrold and Jacob Josefson each had a goal for the Devils, as Keith Kinkaid had 30 saves in his third shutout of the season. Holmstrom and Jason Akeson each had five shots on net in the loss, while Bacashihua made 18 saves on 20 shots. Bacashihua’s performance was the second time in his last three decisions where he made less than 20 saves (18 saves in Phantoms’ 3-2 win against Devils on 1/20). The loss dropped the Phantoms to 21-21-1-1 after 44 games to be fifth place in the tightest division across the league, as the Sound Tigers lead the Northwest with 49 points.

Four players rejoined the Phantoms’ roster this week, three of which came from Philadelphia.

Zolnierczyk, Holmstrom, and Sestito were all assigned to Adirondack, as the NHL endured their All-Star break this week.

Zolnierczyk, who will most likely be on the Flyers’ roster following the NHL All-Star break, had a goal on 12 shots and two PIMs while going minus-1 in the Phantoms’ three games.

Also taking part in all three Phantoms’ games this week, Holmstrom had two assists, 13 shots on net, and a fighting major while posting a minus-2 rating.

Sestito had a goal on six shots and registered six PIMs in Adirondack this week. In addition, he posted a minus rating in all three games (minus-6 overall) to extend his streak to six games with a minus rating. He has a minus rating in 10 of his last 11 games with the Phantoms.

Cullen Eddy also returned to the Phantoms’ squad this week. After he spent last week with the Greenville Road Warriors (New York Rangers’ ECHL affiliate), Eddy played had an uneventful game against the Devils on Saturday.

Taking the exact opposite action of Eddy was Andrew Rowe, who was assigned to Greenville by the Phantoms. Rowe played in two games with the Road Warriors, as he put a shot on net and went minus-2.

Luke Pither also left Adirondack this week, as he was loaned to the Trenton Titans. In a pair of games, Pither had an assist, six shots on net, and four PIMs.

After the AHL All-Star break, the Phantoms host the Norfolk Admirals (Tampa Bay Lightning’s AHL affiliate) on Friday and the Providence Bruins (Boston Bruins’ AHL affiliate) on Saturday.

Philly’s ECHL affiliate didn’t do too much better, as the Titans won one of their three games this week. After they won their first game of the week, the Titans dropped their last two games in multi-goal losses to go 1-2-0 on a shortened road trip. In their return to Trenton, the Titans have three straight home games over the next seven days as they try to move up the standings.

On Friday, the Titans started their road trip with a 3-1 win over the South Carolina Stingrays (Washington Capitals’ ECHL affiliate) at the North Charleston Coliseum. Ray DiLauro put home his first ECHL goal with 5:36 left to give the Titans a 2-1 lead before Ryan Hayes tacked on the empty-net goal in the final minute of play. After Greg Stewart opened the scoring early in the first period to give the Stingrays a 1-0 lead, Steve Silva potted his fourth of the season near the midway point of the second period to tie the game at one. Rob Bordson recorded his second straight two-point game, as the forward assisted on the Titans’ last two goals. Dave Caruso had 33 saves in the win, as for a second straight game, and fourth time this season, he allowed only one goal against.

The following day, the Titans were shut out by the Stingrays 2-0 in South Carolina. Brett Flemming scored his second of the season with 58 seconds left in the first period on the power play for the game-winner, as Pierre-Luc O’Brien put home the empty-netter in the final minute of play for the game’s only goals. Caruso had his third straight game with only one goal against or less, but it was the goalie’s first loss this season with only one goal against, as he made 30 saves on the night. Bordson had a season-high eight PIMs, as the Titans handed the Stingrays five power-play chances in the loss. Daren Machesney had 21 stops for the win before he was injured late in the second period, where Philipp Grubauer came in to stop all 10 shots he saw to complete the shutout. The loss was the second time all season Trenton was shut out, with their first being a 3-0 loss at home to the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL affiliate for the Florida Panthers and Nashville Predators) on October 23rd.

The Titans dropped their second game of the week last night, when the Gwinnett Gladiators (ECHL affiliate for the Buffalo Sabres and Phoenix Coyotes) handed the visiting Titans a 4-1 loss. Dustin Cameron gave the Titans their only goal of the night with his 11th goal of the season off assists from Silva and Corey Syvret early in the second to cut the Gladiators’ lead to 2-1. Pat Galivan potted his 17th and 18th goals of the season in the first period, while Cody Brookwell and Chris Clackson scored in the final four minutes of the second period to give Gwinnett a 4-1 lead to start off the final period. Nikita Kashirsky had a pair of assists, as 12 Gladiators finished with a rating of plus-1 or better in their seventh win of the season where they out scored the opposition by three goals or more. Brad Phillips had 18 saves on 22 shots for his second game of the month where he allowed at least four goals against. Out of his 12 decisions this season, Phillips has five games where he has allowed four goals against or more, all of which are losses.

In addition to Pither’s time in Trenton, Andy Thomas also joined the Titans’ squad. In three games with Trenton this week, Thomas had an even rating with one shot on net.

Although two players joined the Titans’ roster, a pair of players were released from their Standard Player Contracts (SPC). Both Anthony Longo and Vinny Geonnetti had their SPCs last less than ten days with the Titans, as they were both let go earlier in the week.

Longo played in three games last week, but didn’t see the ice at all for Trenton over the last few days. In his first three ECHL games, Longo was minus-2.

Geonnetti, just like Longo, played in three games last week for the Titans, but didn’t play at all this week. After he was let go by the Titans, Geonnetti returned to the Thousand Islands Privateers of the Federal Hockey League (FHL). He didn’t stay there for long, as Geonnetti was traded to the Brooklyn Aviators for center Brendan Baumgartner. In his first game with the Aviators, an 8-3 loss to the Danbury Whalers on Saturday, Geonnetti had an assist on Matt Atsoff’s second period goal, three shots on net, two PIMs, and a rating of minus-2.

As for their upcoming schedule, the Titans play a pair of games against the Chicago Express (Columbus Blue Jackets’ ECHL affiliate) in Trenton on Wednesday and Thursday before hosting the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL affiliate for the Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins) on Saturday.

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