Minor League Update: 1/30-2/5

The Phantoms ended their five-game losing streak this week, as they went 1-1-0 in a pair of games in Adirondack. Despite a win in their first game of the week, the Phantoms lost their second game to drop their record to 2-7-0 in their last nine games. Adirondack is looking for a pair of wins in the upcoming week, as they play the team they beat this week twice on the road.

The Phantoms ended their lengthy losing streak with a 3-1 decision over the Norfolk Admirals (Tampa Bay Lightning’s AHL affiliate) on Friday night. The newly acquired forward Matt Ford had the game-winning goal 20 seconds into the second period with his first goal for the Phantoms and his 11th goal on the season. Ford also had a penalty shot later in the second period, but was denied by Jaroslav Janus. Tye McGinn had his second multi-goal game of his career with his sixth and seventh tallies of the season to help the Phantoms to their first win since January 20th. Garrett Roe and Jason Akeson each had two-assist games for Adirondack, as Carter Ashton potted his 18th of the season for the Admirals in the loss. Michael Leighton had 27 saves in the win, as he allowed only one goal against for the first time since his loss to the Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal Canadiens’ AHL affiliate) on December 6th. The win improved the Phantoms’ record to 2-1-1 on the season against the Admirals.

The next night the Phantoms recorded a 3-2 loss to the Providence Bruins (Boston Bruins’ AHL affiliate). Jamie Tardif had the game-winner with 2:14 left in the second period for his 11th goal of the season to help extend the Bruins’ winning streak to four games. Brandon Manning had his second goal of the season in the middle of the second period, while Roe had his sixth goal of the season with 7:27 left in a game the Phantoms nearly tied on a desperation-shot at the buzzer. Denis Hamel let go of a shot from the red line with only seconds remaining to beat Bruins’ goalie Michael Hutchinson, but had his goal washed out due to an offsides call. Hutchinson made a season-high 40 saves in the win, as the Phantoms out shot the Bruins 42-28 on the night. Leighton had 25 saves for his fifth loss in his last six games, as the Phantoms dropped the clubs’ first meeting of the season.

Leighton was the lone representative for the Phantoms at the AHL All-Star game, which took place last Monday in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In the Western Conference’s 8-7 shootout win, Leighton made nine saves on 11 shots during the first period, as he allowed goals to the Charlotte Checkers’ (Carolina Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate) Chris Terry and the Chicago Wolves’ (Vancouver Canucks’ AHL affiliate) Darren Haydar.

The most recognizable roster move of the week for the Phantoms was their trade with the Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals’ AHL affiliate). In exchange for defenseman Kevin Marshall, the Phantoms received forward Ford. After posting 28 points in 39 games with the Bears this season, Ford had a goal on nine shots in his first two games with Adirondack this week.

Other moves featured the much anticipated departures of Tom Sestito and Harry Zolnierczyk back to the Flyers. Sestito had four fighting majors in four games with Philly, while Zolnierczyk had three shots in two games this week.

Ben Holmstrom also departed back to Philly, but returned to the Phantoms’ roster early in the week. He had two assists, seven shots, and two PIMs with a plus-1 rating overall for Adirondack.

The Phantoms also had a pair of players who were recently playing in the ECHL return to their roster this week, as both Andrew Rowe and Luke Pither saw ice time for Adirondack.

Rowe, who returned to Adirondack after he had spent time with the Greenville Road Warriors (New York Rangers’ ECHL affiliate), played in the Phantoms’ win over the Admirals this week.

Pither, who had spent time with the Titans, had a shot against the Bruins.

The Phantoms play their first two games of a three-game road trip this week with a pair of games in Norfolk against the Admirals on Friday and Saturday.

In the ECHL, the Trenton Titans continued their losing ways with a trio of defeats to extend their losing streak to five games. This is the Titans’ longest losing streak of the season and their third losing streak of at least four games in length this season. Trenton looks to end their losing streak with a pair of away games and a game at home this week.

In their first game of the week, the Titans fell to the Chicago Express (Columbus Blue Jackets’ ECHL affiliate) 5-4 on Wednesday night in Trenton. Devin DiDiomete started his big week against the Titans with a two-goal performance that featured the game-winning goal with 4:45 left. Anthony Maiani had a two-goal night as well, as his third and fourth goals of the season helped the Express in a game that saw Peter Mannino need to make 40 saves for the win. Andy Bohmbach and Rob Bordson each had two-assist games, while Ryan Hayes deposited his 13th goal of the season late in the second period of the loss. Ray DiLauro had his second goal of the season in the final minutes of an eight-shot performance, while David Caruso allowed five goals on 30 shots for the Titans. The loss was Trenton’s first one-goal loss in their current losing streak.

DiDiomete’s hat-trick powered the Express to their 6-3 win on Thursday in the clubs’ second meeting in as many days. In addition to his first hat-trick in the ECHL, DiDiomete had an assist in the game for a four-point performance. Tyler Donati led all skaters in points, however, as he had a goal and four assists for a season-high five-point game in the Express’ three-goal victory. Bordson registered his 14th goal of the season for Trenton, while DiLauro and Tyler Hostetter had the other tallies in the team’s third straight loss. Mannino recorded his fourth straight win with a 25-save performance, as Caruso allowed six goals against for his third game of the season with six goals against or more. The loss was the Titans’ third loss of the season to the Express in four meetings.

To finish the week, the Titans lost 2-1 at home to the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL affiliate for the Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins). Former Titan Peter Lenes potted his 19th of the season with 9:23 left for the questionable game-winner, as all three of the game’s goals took place in the final 20 minutes. In addition to the game-winning goal, Lenes also led all skaters with six shots on net to earn a chunk of his team’s 23 shots. Bordson extended his point streak to three games, as the forward had the Titans’ lone goal off of assists from Chase Langeraap and Rowe early in the third period. Peter Delmas had his third game of the season against Trenton where he allowed only one goal against, as the Nailers’ netminder made 29 saves in the victory. Caruso suffered his fourth straight loss with a 21-save performance that extended the Titans’ losing streak to five games.

As mentioned before, Pither left the Titans’ roster with his return to the Phantoms this week. The center was minus-2 with three shots on net in the Titans’ first loss to the Express.

In addition to Pither, Andy Thomas also left the Titans’ roster. Thomas, who was placed on the injured reserved, missed all three games this week.

Although Thomas went on the IR, Trenton had both Matt Germain and Mitch Versteeg return to the roster.

Versteeg had a goal on seven shots and 12 PIMs with a minus-1 rating in three games.

Germain had three shots on net and two PIMs with a plus-1 rating in the Titans’ latter two games of the week.

The Titans start this week with a trip west to take on the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL affiliate for the Florida Panthers and Nashville Predators) Friday night. After traveling to West Virginia to take on the Wheeling Nailers on Saturday night, the Titans return home to host the Elmira Jackals (ECHL affiliate for the Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators) on Sunday.