YOUNGSTOWN, OH – Just like the night before, the Youngstown Phantoms (18-11-3-1, 40 points) and Sioux City Musketeers needed overtime to decide their contest, but unlike Friday night, Youngstown came out on top, defeating Sioux City 2-1 Saturday night at the Covelli Centre.
“I thought the guys deserved it,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “After the 60 minutes last night and tonight’s effort, they definitely deserved to be in the win column.”
This game unfolded almost exactly like the game the night before, as Youngstown fell behind in the first period. Eeli Tolvanen took a shot from the right wing corner that was easily saved by Ivan Kulbakov (11 saves), but the rebound was the problem. The puck bounced off of Kulbakov’s pads right to the stick of Marcel Godbout at the top of the left circle. With Kulbakov out of position, Godbout fired into an empty cage for his fifth goal of the season, giving Sioux City the 1-0 lead at 11:29. “I thought our first period tonight was probably our worst of the entire weekend,” said Patterson. “I thought our energy ramped up after that.”
Also like the night before, the Phantoms turned to their captain for the equalizer. Max Ellis stole the puck from Sioux City defenseman Nikolai Lyssogor in the right wing corner. Ellis skated around the net and tried a wrap-around shot that was stopped by Sioux City goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks (24 saves). The rebound deflected off Marshall Moise and right to Apap, who shot into an open net for his second goal of the season and second in as many nights. “(Tommy) provides us so much that maybe the average person doesn’t see,” said Patterson. “He’s a tremendous leader. He can play in any situation, whether it’s power play, penalty kill, 5-on-5, whatever it is, and he does it well, and he does everything that’s asked and I couldn’t be prouder of him.”
Youngstown dominated play in the second period once more, outshooting Sioux City 10-2 in the frame and 26-12 for the game. “I can’t commend the “D” corps enough to shut down Sioux City like that,” said Patterson. Sioux City entered Saturday’s game averaging 30.6 shots-per-game. Youngstown held them to 27 for the weekend. The Phantoms were also a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
After a scoreless third period, the teams would head to overtime once more. In overtime, Steve Ruggiero started the break out from behind his own net, passing the puck ahead to Evan Wisocky. Wisocky found some open ice down the right side. Entering the neutral zone, he made a cross-ice pass to Jake Gingell at the Sioux City blue line. Gingell entered the zone and took a wrist shot from the hashmarks that Kivlenieks got a piece of, but not enough as the puck trickled across the goal line for the game-winning goal. The goal, Gingell’s first as a Phantom, came at 2:22 of overtime and broke Youngstown’s three game losing streak.
“I was aiming to just get a rebound on net, have my guy backdoor bang it in, but the puck just found its way to the back of the net,” recounted Gingell. “I threw the monkey off my back today, it was nice to get my first goal in Yougnstown. It felt good. It felt really good!” Patterson had high praise for his defenseman after the game. “Extremely happy for Jake Gingell,” said Patterson. “Doesn’t always show up on the scoresheet, but does a lot for us, and for him to get a big goal at a key time like that, it’s huge.”
Youngstown returns to the ice Monday afternoon for a Martin Luther King Junior Day matinee against the Bloomington Thunder. Puck drop is scheduled for 1:00pm and broadcasts will be available on YPHR and HockeyTV.
By the Numbers
Shots – 26
Saves – 11
Power Play – 0/6
Penalty Kill – 3/3
Goals – Apap, Gingell
Assists – Ellis, Moise, Ruggiero, Wisocky
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Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 15th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2016-17. 30 players were chosen in the 2016 NHL Draft and more than 402 players on team rosters this season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.
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