Phantoms weekly rundown: Where in the world is Joel Farabee

The roster movement can’t be stopped (and some other happenings from this week).

Where we are

Week of Feb. 28 - Mar. 5

GPWLStanding in Division


After a pretty crazy week last week, this one was quieter, in terms of happenings. Joel Farabee was called up to the Flyers on an emergency basis, then sent back down, and we thought we’d be seeing him this weekend, but surprise! He’s been called back up to the Flyers, probably for an extended period this time. Additionally, the Phantoms have called Max Willman back up from Reading.


PlayerGPGAPCF%Controlled Enrty%Controlled Exit%
Cal O'Reilly486232945.5337.1445.07
Greg Carey5315122748.8547.2249.5
Morgan Frost3711152650.8965.8279.37
Mikhail Vorobyev4111132450.365966.67
Kyle Criscuolo408162452.0445.3865.06
Tyler Wotherspoon504172150.7425.7439.15
Maksim Sushko5211102145.4253.9267.37
Andy Welinski398122050.2924.5950.97
David Kase476111752.2250.8967.39
Andy Andreoff351071749.3548.3963.33

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

Three stars

1. Connor Bunnaman

With the trade deadline coming and going and the Flyers needing to clear up a bit of space for their new players, Bunnaman was sent back down to the Phantoms, and he’s been hitting the ground running in his first couple of games back with the team. He picked up two goals in Friday’s game, and really acted as a pretty immediate offensive boost there. We didn’t get that same impact level on Saturday, but the team as a whole was really struggling to generate much of anything, so it’s hard to be too fussed about his individual performance there. Our big takeaway is that his addition back into this lineup immediately helps their center depth, and even if he’s playing somewhat limited minutes (a role more akin to what he was playing at the NHL level), he’s going to find a way to contribute. So we welcome him back gratefully.

2. Andy Andreoff

We’re doing a little bit more rewarding for offensive production in this one, because we didn’t have a ton of it this weekend and the big contributors deserve some love. Andreoff picked up two goals last weekend—one in each game—and brought, if nothing else, the feeling of a bit of consistency, with a bonus bit of energy. He was active in both games, but considering the context, we really did like his efforts on Saturday. The Phantoms, as we’ve mentioned, struggled offensively in that one, but we still saw Andreoff out there, physically engaged, and looking like he was doing just about everything he could to spark something for his team. And maybe it wasn’t enough to drag them to a win, but when he was the one to get the goal with the extra skater on the ice at the end of the game, in a way it still felt deserved.

3. Alex Lyon

And, before we go, we should give a nod to Lyon for his solid performance in Friday’s game. This was the only game we saw him in last weekend (as Kirill Ustimenko got the start on Saturday), but he had himself a strong game, and helped the team pick up the win in the process. Despite the outcome, it still wasn’t the strongest performance out of the skaters in front of him, which meant that Lyon still faced a good number of shots (32) and had his work cut out for him to make sure that they stayed in this game and the Checkers weren’t able to mount a real comeback. We’ve come to expect Lyon to be pretty dependable, so it really doesn’t feel surprising that he was able to manage this will relative ease, but hey, we still do appreciate it.

Two loose observations

1. The power kill lives on!

In the scheme of things, this is probably a smaller detail, but it’s one that we thought was exciting so we are going to talk about it.

When Kyle Criscuolo was traded away, one thing we figured we would miss is his ability to break the puck out of the Phantoms’ zone on the penalty kill and generate short handed chances (that is, power killing). And while that will probably still be true, it was nice to see it wasn’t gone entirely.

With Bunnaman picking up a short handed goal on Friday, we got a little bit more of that power killing, which was a fun bit of flash, but also, lest we forget, just an effective bit of penalty killing.

An aggressive penalty kill like this is a tough one to deal with, and also just a lot of fun to watch, so like, just keep doing what you’re doing out there gang.

2. On margins for error

Last weekend was a decidedly big one for the Phantoms—they’re still well out of the playoff picture, but they had the chance, with two wins on the weekend against Charlotte, to pull within six points of that last playoff spot for the division. It would still be a pretty tough task for them to completely close that gap, but it felt more manageable. Instead, with the loss to Charlotte on Saturday, they were back to 10 (and now 12 points back of fourth place). And things are looking bleak again.

Now, the Phantoms didn’t really play a very strong game on Saturday. We’re not going to pretend that this was a close game that just got away from them. That wasn’t the case, here. But at the same time, I can’t help thinking about something Scott Gordon said earlier this season, during our stretch where just about everyone was hurt and wins were hard to come by, that it seemed like they had to be perfect to get wins, and they just weren’t managing perfection.

And all of this is just to say that the Phantoms had a window there, or a chance at one, and their margin was slim and they just missed it. It’s a tough position to be in. There’s not much more to say about it than that.

What’s on deck?

It’s another three-in-three weekend! The Phantoms’ weekend is bookended with divisional games, as they meet eighth place Bridgeport on Friday and Sunday. And then they’ve got Binghamton on Saturday, who are currently hanging out at fifth in the North division.