Ice Diggers stop Phantoms again
For the second straight game Alpena beat Mahoning Valley 5-4.
ALPENA, Mich. -- Shawn Hunwick made 44 saves, including a glove stop with 1.4 seconds remaining in the third period, to give the Alpena Ice Diggers a 5-4 win over the Mahoning Valley Phantoms Sunday.
The Phantoms rallied from a 4-0 second period deficit. With third period goals from Derek Graham, his second of the game, at 2:18 and Brent Dexter at 12:39, the Phantoms pulled within one.
Skating four aside in the final 40 seconds, the Phantoms (28-10-1) pulled goaltender Garrett Bartus for an extra attacker. In the final seconds, Miles Winter gathered the puck into the left circle and fired a high wrist shot that Hunwick stopped to prevent overtime.
Drew Pierson tallied twice in the first period to give the Ice Diggers (26-10-2) a 2-0 lead.
On a power play, Nolan Craner's shot from the right circle was deflected by Bartus.
Pierson gathered the rebound from the right goal line and roofed the puck over Bartus' right shoulder at 9:35. Bartus was making his Phantoms' debut in goal.
Pierson's second came at the 15:49 mark. Skating from right to left into the zone, Pierson used defensemen Chris Fairbanks as a screen to toss a shot over Bartus' left shoulder for his 20th goal of the season.
The Phantoms had only 18 players in their lineup, two fewer than the maximum allowed, as injuries forced the Phantoms to utilize a shorter bench.
Defensemen Adam Snead and Eric Ringel both suffered concussions in Saturday's night 5-4 loss to the Ice Diggers.
Both are expected to return to the lineup when the Phantoms play host to the Traverse City North Stars Friday.
Alpena extended its lead in the second period.
Ben Kitzmiller's slap shot from the right point rattled off the upper left corner of the goal for a 3-0 advantage at 2:50 of the period.
Erik Peterson made it 4-0 after his initial shot was blocked in front, scooping the puck and roofing it high past an outstretched Bartus.
The Phantoms got on the board as both teams were changing lines. Janis Purins' shot from the left circle was blocked by Hunwick.
With the loose puck bouncing between the circles, Johnny Meo fired a rebound past Hunwick for his second goal of the season at the 11:11 mark.
The deficit was cut to 4-2 when Graham scored on a power play. Chad Boeckman's shot from the right point was blocked by traffic in front of the net.
Brent Dexter found the puck and fed Graham, who was alone on the left side of the goal. Graham lifted the puck over Hunwick's blocker at the 14:01 mark.
But the Ice Diggers bounced back, creating traffic in front of Bartus to regain a three-goal advantage. Eric Roman's shot from the left point was redirected by Justin Stadler past Bartus' left skate.
With 5:21 remaining in the period, Alpena led 5-2.
The Phantoms out-shot Alpena 48-38. Mahoning Valley finished 2-for-9 on the power play, while Alpena was 1-for-4.
The Phantoms conclude their three-game road trip today against the U.S. National Team in Ann Arbor, Mich.