YOUNGSTOWN, OH – After falling behind by two goals twice in the first period, the Youngstown Phantoms (21-13-4-1, 47 points) were never able to recover as they fell to the Sioux Falls Stampede 3-1 Friday night at the Covelli Centre.
“We had plenty of chances throughout that game,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “Just couldn’t capitalize and couldn’t put one in.”
Sioux Falls opened the scoring 4:24 into the game. A failed Youngstown clearing attempt led to an odd-man situation below the circles, allowing Eric MacAdams to skate across the net mouth unmolested. With Phantoms goaltender Ivan Kulbakov (20 saves) sprawled out on the ice, MacAdams flicked the puck over Kulbakov and into the net for his 11th goal of the year. Jack Doremus doubled the lead at 13:16, picking up a blocked shot in the right circle and firing a spinning shot just past Kulbakov’s right pad to make it 2-0.
Eric Esposito cut into the lead at 15:04 with his eighth goal of the season. Taking a pass from Austin Pooley, Esposito fired a wrist shot from the right dot that went over the shoulder of Sioux Falls netminder Jeremy Swayman (27 saves) and in, making the score 2-1.
Doremus gave Sioux Falls back their two-goal lead at 16:46, redirecting a point shot from Colin Swoyer past Kulbakov for his second goal of the game, 14th of the season, to make the score 3-1. Neither team was able to find the back of the net for the remainder of the game; Youngstown pulled Kulbakov for the extra attacker with 1:40 remaining in regulation, but was unable to cut into the deficit.
“Even being a 3-1 game, we had plenty of opportunities, grade “A” chances, that maybe we bobbled pucks or missed the net completely. We need to bear down in those areas,” said Patterson. “Overall I liked the effort of the guys, but I didn’t think it wasn’t our best tonight.”
The Phantoms will need their best next weekend as they head to Chicago to take on the first-place Steel on February 3 and 4. Puck drop each night is scheduled for 8:05pm Eastern and broadcasts will be available on HockeyTV and the Chicago Steel Mix.LR network.
By the Numbers
Shots – 28
Saves – 20
Power Play – 0/4
Penalty Kill – 4/4
Goals – E. Esposito
Assists – Cocca, Pooley
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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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