Six. That's the number of players you could have expected to be in the lineup on opening night who weren't available to the Phantoms on Friday night.
And still, the Phantoms went on the road and pulled out a solid 2-1 win over Springfield to pull back into a first-place tie with Connecticut.
With all those key guys absent, it was going to come down to some new faces stepping up, and Garrett Klotz and Jon Kalinski delivered. Klotz scored in his second game back, and Kalinski got the eventual game-winner in his return. I wrote Friday about http://poststar.com/sports/kalinski-may-return-to-boost-phantoms/article_e7b5d142-06a6-11e1-8ae4-001cc4c03286.html" target="_blank">Kalinski's prowess as a penalty killer, and he came through in this one with a short-handed goal.
To recap who was missing:
-- Eric Wellwood, who was called up earlier Friday, and Harry Zolniercyk, who remains in Philly, are the team's second and third leading scorers.
-- Mike Testwuide and Dan Jancevski were out with minor injuries.
-- Top defenseman Erik Gustafsson and Zac Rinaldo are also in Philly and may be for some time.
A few other notes on the win:
-- Michael Leighton made 20 saves to move to 6-2. He's outpacing his club record from last season with a .923 save percentage. He has a 2.22 goals-against-average.
-- For the second game in a row the Phantoms outshot an opponent (24-21) after being outshot in the first nine games. Joe Paterson liked the defensive effort from one player in particular:
"Our overall defensive game has gotten better and better," Joe Paterson said. "It wasn't just one guy, but a guy I thought did a nice job tonight was Tyler Brown. He broke up a lot of their chances."
-- Both goals were unassisted. Klotz, showing of http://poststar.com/sports/klotz-power-play-surge-for-phantoms-in-preseason-victory/article_69d9bb9a-ea5d-11e0-8068-001cc4c002e0.html" target="_blank">his new offensive side, converted a 2-on-1 without making a pass and Kalinski scored on a breakaway.
-- In a factoid that may only interest me, the uncle and nephew refereeing team of Terry and Jamie Koharski worked the game together.
Keep an eye on Albany, by the way. Big 1-0 victory over potent Norfolk evened the Devils' record at 6-6. Devils are 5-1 since a rough start.