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Phantoms weekly rundown: Reinforcements are here

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(Almost) everyone’s back!

Heather Barry / SB Nation

Where we are

Week(s) of Feb. 15 - Feb. 28

4 GP. 2 W. 1 OTW. 1OTL. 3rd in North Division.

News

The Phantoms got a handful of players back from the Flyers last week, with Matt Strome, David Kase, Maksim Sushko, and Derrick Pouliot joining the team for last weekend’s games. The Flyers also assigned Samuel Morin to the Phantoms, and he’s eligible to play tonight.

Leaderboard

Player GP G A P CF% xGF% Controlled Entry% Controlled Exit%
Player GP G A P CF% xGF% Controlled Entry% Controlled Exit%
Zayde Wisdom 7 6 2 8 52.07 56.11 56.67 60
Max Willman 7 6 1 7 48.09 49.15 68.75 78.13
Ryan Fitzgerald 7 3 3 6 48.28 57.23 50 70.83
Cal O'Reilly 7 0 6 6 49.18 57.83 58.33 50
David Kase 6 2 3 5 51.26 43.65 50 75
Logan Day 6 1 3 4 57.27 66.06 35 59.26
Derrick Pouliot 4 0 3 3 46.81 51.02 57.14 81.48
Chris Mueller 7 0 3 3 58.33 43.95 40 70.59
Linus Sandin 6 1 1 2 50 46.09 38.1 61.9
Wyatte Wylie 7 1 1 2 51.82 49.01 30 61.36

All stats via TheAHL.com, Phancy Stats, and Maddie’s NZ tracking project.

Three stars

1. Zayde Wisdom

It really is Zayde Wisdom’s world, and we’re just living in it. Wisdom picked up five more points in his last four games (four goals and an assist, including two power play goals) and he’s seeming to be having no trouble at all adjusting to play at the professional level. With six goals on the season, he’s tied for second in the league among rookies (one behind Seth Jarvis, who’s played two more games) and third among all skaters. To say he’s hit the ground running would be an understatement, and he’s been one of the Phantoms’ most consistent forwards, proving to be a threat just about every time he’s on the ice, and it’s been a real treat to watch.

2. Max Willman

The Phantoms are also getting some really solid offensive production out of Max Willman. When Brad and I talked about our initial impressions of the team after their first few games, we both noted that we were impressed by and expecting to see things really break open for Willman soon, and boy did they ever. He has goals in each of his last four games, including two two-goal games, leaving him also tied for third in the league in goals. He’s been one of the Phantoms’ most consistent generator of chances, so the results really aren’t much of a surprise, but that veritable scoring explosion has been a huge boost to the Phantoms. He has some series momentum building right now, and here’s hoping that he can carry that into this week’s games.

3. Tanner Laczynski

It wasn’t a super flashy offensive showing of a week for Laczynski, but it was a really solid one, all the same. He picked up two assists in Wednesday's game (his first two points of the season), and it really feels like his first goal is just around the corner. He’s showing some early chemistry with his linemates and we’ve seen some really nice flashes of playmaking ability from him. They aren’t burying every single chance, but his line seems to be generating something just about every time they’re on the ice, and Laczynski is right in the middle of that. He’s hit the ground running since returning from injury, and his transition to playing at the AHL level, so far, has been a pretty seamless one.

Two loose observations

1. Notes on goaltending

In some ways, this was a weird weekend for the Phantoms on the goaltending front. On the whole, Zane McIntyre has been really solid for the Phantoms to start the season, but he had a bit of a rough showing on Friday. It was a pretty low event game, all things considered, as he only faced 24 shots, but he let in four goals and just looked a little off. The same was the case on Saturday, and Felix Sandstrom got the start and had his own struggles, though with a heavier workload, letting in five goals on 36 shots. It wasn’t a perfect effort from the defense in front in either of these games either, to be fair, but it’s worth noting that this just wasn’t a weekend when the goaltending was lights out.

Now, this was all understandable—Saturday was McIntyre’s seventh straight start, and Sunday was Sandstrom’s first of the season. There’s a lot of reason to believe that they’ll be able to rebound well this week, but it also goes to show that the Phantoms’ process isn’t flawless, and they do need their goaltending to help them out. The skaters haven’t shown that they can be the ones to steal a game just yet.

2. Power play still looking for their stride

Last time we talked, we made note that while the Phantoms’ power play was generating some good chances and looked to be knocking on the door, but couldn’t find a way to bury any of those chances. And well, the good news is that they were finally able to break through, and the Phantoms put up three power play goals over their last four games. The bad news is that they’re still sitting at just a 10 percent conversion rate on the power play, which is last in their division.

Now, some of that is still skewed by their tough first three games, but the fact remains that the power play is still leaving a bit to be desired. They are still getting some chances, and with the Flyers finally healthy again, the Phantoms have just about a full complement of players back, so their special teams personnel should be stabilizing, and giving them a chance to get some continuity and momentum rolling. At least, here’s hoping.

What’s on deck

The Phantoms have a pair of games coming up this week. They have a home-and-home series against the Bears, and they’ll be at home tonight before heading out to Hershey for Saturday afternoon’s game.