Minor League Update: 2/6-2/12

The Phantoms continue to struggle, as they dropped their pair of games this week to extend their losing streak to three games. Adirondack has only won one out of their last nine games and are currently on an eight-game losing streak away from the Glens Falls Civic Center. They will have a chance to end both skids with three away games and four games overall in the next seven days.

Dustin Tokarski recorded his third shutout of the season on Friday night, as the Norfolk Admirals (Tampa Bay Lightning’s AHL affiliate) beat the visiting Phantoms 2-0. Tokarski stopped all 17 of the Phantoms’ shots in the win, while Philip-Michael Devos ended a five-game goal drought with the game-winner 3:35 into the second period. Devos was the only Admiral to beat Michael Leighton on the night, as Norfolk’s second goal was Pierre-Cedric Lebrie’s empty-netter with 82 seconds left in the game. Leighton’s 26 saves on 27 shots gave him his second game in his last three starts where he allowed only one goal against. Although he couldn’t beat Tokarski, Denis Hamel had a game-high four shots on net while only two other Phantoms (Matt Ford and Garrett Roe) had more than one shot on net in the loss. The two-goal loss was the 15th time all season they’ve lost by a margin of two goals or more and the third time they’ve been shut out this season, as the Phantoms lost for a seventh time in their last eight games.

The next night, the Admirals jumped out to an early 4-0 lead before they extended the Phantoms’ losing streak to three games with a 7-3 decision in Norfolk. Cory Conacher’s second goal of the game, and 27th of the season, at the 8:20 mark in the first period gave the Admirals a four-goal advantage. It was Conacher’s fourth game-winning goal of the season, as Tokarski blocked 22 shots for his second win in as many days. Tyler Brown was the only player to score in the second period, as his sixth goal of the season cut the Phantoms’ deficit to three heading into the third period. Although Jon Kalinski and Brandon Manning scored in the third period for Adirondack, they couldn’t find a way to stay in a game that resulted in their fourth loss of the season that was by a margin of four goals. Michael Leighton may have allowed seven goals, which is the most he has allowed in any AHL or NHL game in his career, but his 41 saves were the second most he has made in any game this season for the Phantoms.

Two of the bigger roster moves in Adirondack was Harry Zolnierczyk being added to the roster while Jason Bacashihua was sent to Philadelphia on an emergency call-up.

After a few games as a healthy scratch with the Flyers, Zolnierczyk was assigned to the Phantoms. He was minus-4 with 3 shots on net in the team’s two losses.

Bacashihua made his way into the Flyers’ line-up after Ilya Bryzgalov caught the flu and couldn’t dress against the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers. Bacashihua didn’t see any playing time, as he was sent back to Adirondack later in the week for Eric Wellwood, who played for the Flyers in their loss to the Detroit Red Wings last night.

With Bacashihua moved to Philly, Brad Phillips from the Titans made his way to Adirondack. He didn’t see the ice with the Phantoms this week.

The Phantoms conclude their three-game road trip with a game against the Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate) on Valentine’s Day. After they host the Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles Kings’ AHL affiliate) on Friday, the Phantoms start a four-game road trip with a game against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (New York Islanders’ AHL affiliate) on Saturday and the Monarchs on Sunday.

The Titans aren’t looking much better, as they ended a seven-game winning streak yesterday with a win at home. During their seven-game losing streak, the Titans were out scored 28-15. Trenton hopes they can build off the momentum from yesterday’s win, as three of their four games this week are at home.

To start the week, the Titans blew a three-goal lead on Friday to lose 5-4 in a shootout on the road to the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL affiliate for the Florida Panthers and Nashville Predators). Ben Ryan was the third Cyclone to score on newly acquired Nick Niedert in the shootout, as both Mathieu Aubin and Dan Eves scored in earlier rounds. Andy Bohmbach, who had two assists, and Ray DiLauro scored in the shootout for Trenton. Corey Syvret put home his third goal of the season 1:41 into the third period to extend the Titans’ lead to 4-1 before Justin Vaive, Eves, and Robert Slaney scored in a 4:39 span minutes later to even the score. Rob Bordson scored his 16th goal of the season and was one of two Titans, along with Adam Presizniuk, to have a goal and an assist in the loss. The shootout loss was the Titans’ third straight loss on the road.

On Saturday, the Titans traveled to WesBanco Arena and suffered a 4-2 loss to the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL affiliate for the Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins). Denver Manderson had the game-winner 1:25 into the third period before Cody Chupp had the empty-net goal with eight seconds left to help the Nailers extend their point streak to six games. Bohmbach had a two-goal night, as he potted his 14th of the season in the second period and his 15th of the season 17 seconds into the third period. Bordson assisted on both of Bohmbach’s goals, as Mitch Versteeg and Matt Germain had an assist each to round out the scoring for the Titans. Niedert was in net again for Trenton, as he allowed three goals on 31 shots in the loss. This loss concluded the Titans’ losing streak, where they went 0-6-1.

Thanks to a three-goal third period, the Titans snapped their skid yesterday with a 4-2 win at home against the Elmira Jackals (ECHL affiliate for the Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators). Steve Silva potted his first game-winning goal in the ECHL with his fifth goal of the season, as he gave Trenton a 3-2 lead with just 3:37 left in the game. Dustin Cameron had his first two-goal game of the season, and the third in his career, to help keep the Titans tied at two late in the game, as both DiLauro and Bordson had two-assist games. Phillips, who had just returned to Trenton, made 29 saves for the Titans’ first win in the month of February. The win was also snapped the Titans’ three-game losing streak at home, as their record improved to 16-25-3-4 for the season.

The matter of who was going to play goalie for Trenton became a problem this week. In addition to Phillips’ departure to Adirondack, David Caruso was loaned to the Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate). Due to these moves, the Titans signed Niedert to a Standard Player Contract (SPC) and added Billy Ferkol as the emergency backup.

While Caruso made 42 saves and allowed five goals against in the Checkers’ loss to the Peoria Rivermen (St. Louis Blues’ AHL affiliate) on Saturday, Niedert allowed seven goals against on 66 shots in his two losses. Ferkol never saw the ice for Trenton, as he was released once Phillips returned.

On defense, Trenton signed Vinny Geonnetti to another SPC and had Andy Thomas reassigned to them, while they released Stephen Mallaro from his SPC.

Geonnetti, who recently spent time with the Brooklyn Aviators of the Federal Hockey League (FHL), had a shot on net and two PIMs in the three games this week.

Returning to Trenton from the Binghamton Senators (Ottawa Senators’ AHL affiliate), Thomas was plus-2 with seven shots on net and two PIMs.

Mallaro joined the Danbury Whalers of the FHL. He had two assists and was plus-4 with 13 shots on net in three games with the Whalers.

Randy Rowe is looking for work after the Titans released him this week. Rowe had 12 goals and 16 assists in 40 games for the Titans this season.

The Titans start the week with a pair of home games against the Reading Royals (ECHL affiliate for the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs) on Wednesday morning and Friday. After a trip to West Virginia to take on the Wheeling Nailers on Saturday, the Titans return to Trenton to take on the Elmira Jackals.