The Philadelphia Phantoms, off to a 4-0-0 start, arrived in Cleveland for a Friday night tilt. It was the Phantoms’ third road game in four nights, which is often a harbinger of trouble. This game was no exception.
Philadelphia’s red hot powerplay was short-circuited in the game, going scoreless in seven opportunities. The Phantoms top line of Mark Freer (subbing for Marty Murray, who is on recall to the Flyers), Mark Greig, and Vaclav Pletka was shut down offensively and was out for three goals against. The top defensive pairing of John Slaney and Bruno St. Jacques also had a bad night and rookie goaltender Maxime Ouellet only came up with 19 of the 24 shots he faced (conversely, the Barons’ Vesa Toskala turned aside 29 of 31 Philadelphia shots).
The Phantoms took an early lead, with Peter Vandermeer converting a Petr Hubacek feed at 1:41 of the first period. The game went downhill from there for Philadelphia, although the Hubacek line would once again tally a goal (which temporarily tied the game 2-2) early in the second period; Mike Lephart doing the scoring honors.
The final minute of play took quite awhile to complete, with fights breaking out three different times, including a pair of fights at the final buzzer.
Meanwhile, the news was better at the ECHL level. In a game televised in the Philadelphia area, the Trenton Titans won their home opener by a 3-1 count over the Reading Royals, riding a three goal outburst in the third period.
The Titans played a very sluggish first period, getting outshot 13 to 4 and losing most of the Read more»