Hagg, Lindblom and Morin Undefeated in Three Games
Robert Hagg and Oskar Lindblom have helped Sweden jump out to a 3-0 record after three games at the World Junior championships. Hagg has no points and a minus-2 rating to go along with two minutes in the sin bin. Oskar Lindblom has picked up four assists in the three games and has an even plus/minus rating. Hagg and Lindblom have both taken seven shots on goal, tied for fourth most for Sweden.
Samuel Morin’s team Canada has also started out undefeated in three games. Like Hagg, Morin has yet to register a point in the tournament. He does however have two penalty minutes and two shots on goal to go with a plus/minus rating of plus-2.
The preliminary round of the tournament wraps up on Wednesday, with both Sweden and Canada in prime position to win their groups. Sweden will play Switzerland early Wednesday before Canada takes on the United States at 4:00 p.m. ET in a great matchup.
This weekend will see the start, and finish, of the playoff rounds of the tournament. The quarterfinals will take place on Friday and the semifinals on Sunday, leading into the medal games on Monday evening.
Stolarz Stunned & Akeson Stays Hot
The Phantoms played just two games this week in a holiday-shortened schedule. On Friday night they traveled to Hershey to take on their hated rival. The Phantoms came out hot with Blair Jones scoring just over five minutes into the game, with assists to Jason Akeson and Oliver Lauridsen. However, they were outshot 11-6 in the period and couldn’t muster up any more offense.
After Hershey tied the game up late in the second, the Flyers fastest skater Jay Rosehill scored his first of the year less than two minutes later. Despite Rosehill’s heart, determination and grit, that couldn’t change the momentum™ in the Phantoms favor.
Anthony Stolarz allowed a power play goal early in the second, and then collided with the post, removing him from the game. Martin Ouellette did an admirable job in relief, stopping 13 of the 14 shots he faced, but it wasn’t enough as the Phantoms fell four to two. The Phantoms were heavily outshot in the third period 18-5 and were nearly doubled overall, allowing 42 shots and having only 24 shots themselves.
The Phantoms were right back in action Saturday night at the PPL Center without Rob Zepp, who was still up with the Flyers, or Anthony Stolarz. who had been injured the night before. That lead to Martin Ouellette, who has spent much of his time with the Reading Royals in the ECHL this season, starting between the pipes for the Phantoms against the Norfolk Admirals. In 15 games for the Royals, Ouellette has compiled a 2.73 GAA and a .914 save percentage to go with his 9-4-2 record.
The Admirals were starting John Gibson, the NHL caliber goalie against the ECHL caliber goalie for the Phantoms; it looked like the Phantoms were in for a tough night.
Lehigh Valley once again struck first as Nick Cousins scored from Zack Stortini and Jason Akeson late in the first period. The Phantoms capitalized on the power play early in the second to go up by two. Jason Akeson scored this one for his third point in two games, with assists to Stortini and Brandon Manning. Akeson now has 11 points in 13 games for the Phantoms.
That was it for the Phantoms in regulation, as they surrendered a goal in each of the last two periods to tie the game up. Gibson made some huge saves for the Admirals, that (dare I say it) were quite admiralble.
The teams skated 4-on-4 in overtime, then 3-on-3, but it came down to the 1-on-1 shootout.
Martin Ouellette put on quite the show, shutting out the Admirals through eight rounds when his ex-Royal teammate Adam Comrie put home the lone goal in the shootout for the win.
The Phantoms outworked and outshot the Admirals all night and it was nice to see them get the two points that they deserved despite missing some key players.
Up next the Phantoms travel to Binghamton to ring in the new year, and then face the Admirals again in a two-game set in Norfolk this weekend.
A Royal Streak for Reading
Even without their two goalies who had been recalled to Lehigh Valley, the Royals won both of their games this weekend against the Elmira Jackets. They are now 8-1-0 in their last nine games and are making a strong push in the playoff race. Reading is now 17-9-1 on the season for 36 points in 28 games and sit in 5th place in the Eastern Conference.
The Royals are led by Pat Mullane who has 27 points, with both Adam Hughesman and Cam Reid on his tail with 25 and 24 points respectively.
Martin Ouellette’s .914 save percentage is good for 8th in the conference and 13th in the league.
The Royals will also play on New Year’s Eve before a two-game set this weekend.