The Phantoms wrapped up another three-in-three weekend with a loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 3-2, at the Wachovia Spectrum on Sunday night. Their record now stands at 19-8-1-0.
The loss snaps a three-game winning streak for the Phantoms, and drops them down to third place in the overall Eastern Conference standings behind Providence and Hartford.
The Penguins took advantage of what could be argued as a missed call by the officials with a power-play goal late in the first period off the stick of forward Chris Minard.
Scoring goals on the man-advantage had been a rarity for the Penguins – until this game. Another power-play goal, this time by defenseman Mark Ardelan, gave Scranton some insurance about six and a half minutes into the third period.
Defenseman Ryan Parent was in the penalty box at the time of the goal after another possibly questionable call by the officials. His time in the box only lasted four seconds.
The Phantoms were faced once again with a do-or-die situation where they would have to battle back with little time to execute. Fortunately, coming from behind is nothing new for the Phantoms.
With about six minutes remaining Parent redeemed himself with a blue-line shot that beat Scranton goaltender David Brown to cut the deficit in half.
“I just wanted to get [the puck] to the net…we needed more shots,” Parent said. “I beat [Brown], and got the team going.”
About a minute later, Steve Downie beat Brown glove-side to tie the game up at two, and give the Phantoms yet another dramatic comeback.
As the final minute of regulation approached, the Penguins answered both Phantoms goals when Kurtis McLean beat goaltender Brian Boucher on a breakaway to give his team the 3-2 lead.
“You can’t let people get in behind you,” Phantoms head coach Craig Berube said in disappointment. “It was just a bad mistake [and] it cost us.”
After the game, Berube also made a few comments on Downie’s emotional play over the weekend.
“That’s his game,” Berube said. “If he doesn’t play with emotion then he’s no good.”
Downie’s tying goal in the third period came just two nights after an early exit due to a fight with Toronto’s Kris Newbury.
The Phantoms return to the ice one more time before the Christmas holiday when they battle the rival Hershey Bears on Friday, Dec. 21 at the Wachovia Spectrum.