Minor League Update: 3/12-3/18


Image Courtesy of Sweetest Hockey on Earth


The Phantoms dropped all three of their games this week, as they currently sit three points out of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference. Although they sit 13th in the conference with 63 points, the Phantoms are still within striking distance of the Syracuse Crunch (Anaheim Ducks’ AHL affiliate), a team Adirondack lost to twice in the last seven days.

The Phantoms’ first loss to the Crunch came on Wednesday in a 2-1 defeat at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Denis Hamel’s 19th goal of the season, which came on a 5-on-3 advantage due to an interference minor called on former Phantom Patrick Maroon and a boarding minor to defenseman Matt Smaby, gave Adirondack a one-goal edge as they headed into the final 20 minutes. Unfortunately, Riley Holzapfel’s 12th of 2011-2012 late in the third period came before John Mitchell’s game-winning tally just 2:41 later in the Crunch’s third victory of the season against the Phantoms. Michael Leighton denied 26 of Syracuse’s 28 shots in the loss, but he allowed two goals on nine shots in the third period for just his second loss in his last seven decisions. Iiro Tarkki won his fifth straight appearance with 22 saves for the Crunch, a team who earned five wins in their last six contests. The loss dropped the Phantoms to 8-11 in one-goal games decided in regulation this season.

Two days later, the Phantoms hit the road to suffer a 6-3 loss at the hands of the Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals’ AHL affiliate). Kyle Greentree, who registered 24 goals with the Philadelphia Phantoms during the 2007-2008 AHL regular season, potted a pair of goals for Hershey to help the club end a three-game stretch without a win in regulation. Tomas Kundratek posted his first four-point game in either the AHL or NHL in the win for the Bears, as the defenseman opened the scoring with his ninth of the season and also had three assists. For Adirondack, Brandon Manning snapped a nine-game goal drought in the second period before Matt Ford tallied against his former team minutes later for his fifth goal in the month of March and the Phantoms’ only lead in the contest. Later in the middle stanza, Hershey scored four goals in a 9:35 span to enter the final 20 minutes with a 5-2 lead. Hamel had two assists in the loss for his first two-point game since the middle of January to snap a 25-game stretch without a multi-point performance. The loss dropped the Phantoms’ record to 2-2-0 this season against the Bears with both losses serving as two of Adirondack’s 11 defeats in 2011-2012 where they lost by a margin of three goals or more.

On Saturday, the Phantoms visited Syracuse and dropped their second game of the week to the Crunch by a score of 5-2. Jean-Francois Jacques recorded a two-goal night, as his second of the tilt and 19th of the season came with 34 seconds left in the middle stanza to serve as the game-winner. Kyle Cumiskey, Brandon McMillan, Peter Holland, and Maroon all had two-assist games for Syracuse, as the Crunch potted three power-play goals on seven attempts in the contest. For Adirondack, Hamel gave the Phantoms a lead at the 12:00 mark of the first with his 20th of the season, while Marc-Andre Bourdon scored his first goal in the AHL for 2011-2012 to tie the game at two late in the second period. Harry Zolnierczyk earned his first fighting major of the year with his second period bout against Troy Bodie, as the Phantoms provided two power-play goals in the game on four chances. Zolnierczyk was also minus-2 for the Phantoms, who failed to produce a player with a plus rating in the loss and lost by three goals or more in consecutive contests for the first time since they lost 6-2 to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (New York Islanders’ AHL affiliate) on January 27th and 3-0 to the Albany Devils (New Jersey Devils’ AHL affiliate) on the 28th. The loss was the Phantoms’ third straight to give them their fifth losing streak of three games or more on the season.

The club’s lone roster move of the week was Manning’s time being split between both the Phantoms and Flyers. After he recorded a goal on 10 shots and posted a minus-2 rating with Adirondack, Manning was minus-1 with two shots against the Pittsburgh Penguins for the Flyers on Sunday.

Adirondack’s next game is on Friday, when they travel to take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh Penguins’ AHL affiliate). The Phantoms return home to host a pair of contests against the Springfield Falcons (Columbus Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate) on Saturday and the Binghamton Senators (Ottawa Senators’ AHL affiliate) on Sunday.

Image Courtesy of NJ.com

In the ECHL, the Titans were able to finally win a game, as they ended a lengthy losing streak that has put them dead last across the league. Trenton, the only team without a shootout win in the ECHL this season, hopes a trio of contests against the Reading Royals (ECHL affiliate for the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs) can help them crawl out of last place.

The Titans dropped their ninth straight game on Friday with a 2-0 defeat to the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL affiliate for the New Jersey Devils and Vancouver Canucks) in Michigan. Nick Sirota potted his 15th of the season 14:56 into the game on the power play, as Andy Bohmbach sat in the sin bin for a cross-checking minor. Dwight Helminen made it a two-goal game just minutes later, as Riley Gill stopped all 26 Trenton shots on the night for his second shutout of 2011-2012. Adam Presizniuk posted a team-high six shots on net for the Titans, as the club was shut out for a third time in 2011-2012. David Caruso extended his losing streak to 11 games, as he made 34 shots for his fifth 30-save performance during the unfortunate stretch. The loss concluded Trenton’s losing streak, as they were out scored 45-22 during the slide that consisted of three losses at home and six on the road.

On Saturday, the Titans had the luck of the Irish on their side, as they beat the Chicago Express (Columbus Blue Jackets’ ECHL affiliate) 4-1 on Saint Patrick’s Day. Bohmbach put home the decisive goal 16:06 into the middle period for his first game-winning goal of 2011-2012, as the 25-year-old forward had his fifth three-point performance of the season. Both Randy Rowe and Ryan Hayes had a goal and an assist in the first Titans’ win since they beat the Elmira Jackals (ECHL affiliate for the Anaheim Ducks and the Ottawa Senators) on February 25th. Brad Phillips ended a personal four-game losing streak with 25 saves and only one goal against for his first victory since he beat the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL affiliate for the Montreal Canadiens and the Pittsburgh Penguins) on February 19th. Phillips went 0-4-0 with two no decisions in his six appearances in between his two most recent victories. The win was the Titans’ first road win since they trounced the Jackals 8-1 on February 18th and it was the club’s first multi-goal game win since their 5-1 win over the Nailers on February 19th.

Yesterday, the Titans beat the Express again, as they beat Chicago 5-4 in overtime at the Sears Centre. Ray DiLauro potted his first overtime goal in the ECHL with 21 seconds left in the extra frame to give Trenton their third overtime win of the season. DiLauro also had his first two-goal game in the ECHL, as his goal late in the second period gave the Titans a 2-1 advantage. Drew Akins, who had one goal in his first 34 ECHL games spanning as far back as the 2009-2010 season, recorded a two-goal game for the Titans and posted a career-high plus-4 rating in the win. Bohmbach had a goal and an assist to give him seven points (three goals and four assists) in Trenton’s last four games, while Matt Germain recorded his first multi-assist game in the ECHL with a pair of helpers. Caruso snapped his losing streak with 29 saves for his first win since he held the South Carolina Stingrays (Washington Capitals’ ECHL affiliate) to one goal on January 27th. The win gave the Titans consecutive victories for the first time since they beat the Jackals 8-1 on February 18th and the Nailers 5-1 on the 19th.

Trenton moved six players around this week, all of which were defenseman.

Scott Fletcher, Corey Syvret, and Marcel Alvarez joined the Titans’ roster over the last few days.

Fletcher, who was recently released by the Florida Everblades (ECHL affiliate for the Carolina Hurricanes and the Tampa Bay Lightning), was plus-1 with two shots on net and four PIMs in three contests for Trenton.

Syvret joined the Titans after he took part in a few games for the Portland Pirates (Phoenix Coyotes’ AHL affiliate) in February. He had an assist, five shots on net, and two PIMs with a plus-2 rating in Trenton’s three contests this week.

Signed on an amateur tryout agreement from the Army Black Knights, Alvarez had three shots on net and two PIMs in his first three games for both the Titans and the ECHL.

The Titans released Derrick Pallis, Domenic Recchia, and Bill McCreary from their Standard Player Contracts this week.

Pallis, who played for Princeton University earlier in the season, was minus-5 with six shots on net in his first three games in the ECHL.

Both Recchia and McCreary were waived by Trenton. Recchia didn’t play for another club this week, while McCreary helped the New Jersey Outlaws of the Federal Hockey League (FHL) reach the FHL Commissioner’s Cup Finals with two assists in the team’s series-deciding win against the Danbury Whalers on Wednesday by a score of 5-3.

All three of Trenton’s games this week are against the Reading Royals (ECHL affiliate for the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs), as they host the Royals on Friday and Sunday with their lone road game taking place on Saturday.