GENEVA, IL – Despite 40 shots on Chicago goalkeeper Ales Stezka, the Youngstown Phantoms were held off the scoreboard and fell to the Chicago Steel 2-0 in the fifth and final game of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, ending their season.
“Tonight we showed up, we gave everything we had,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “Ultimately just weren’t able to sneak one in.”
For the first time in the series, neither team scored in the first period. In fact, it was the first period of the series that neither team scored. Chicago opened the scoring at 11:50 of the second period. Phantoms netminder Ivan Kulbakov (25 saves) came out of his crease to play a puck, but was bumped off the biscuit by Chicago captain Marc Johnstone. After the bump by Johnstone, the puck bounced over Kulbakov’s stick and right to Jack Badini, who fired it into the net just before Kulbakov could get his stick out to block the shot. The goal was Badini’s third of the playoffs and put the Steel up 1-0.
Youngstown took their timeout with 3:13 remaining in regulation and pulled Kulbakov to the bench for the extra attacker. That move almost paid dividends immediately, but a one-timer by Dominic Dockery off the ensuing faceoff hit the crossbar. Youngstown was unable to keep the puck in the offensive end and Derek Daschke scored on the empty net from 85 feet away at 17:09 to put the game away for Chicago.
Youngstown ended their first season under Patterson with a 34-20-5-1 record in the regular season, which gave them 74 points and a fourth-place finish in the USHL’s Eastern Conference to earn a berth in the 2017 Clark Cup Playoffs. Patterson was proud of his team’s accomplishments: “There weren’t many people that picked us to be where we were over the course of the year, or even to make the playoffs. We just gave the number one seed a very good run.”
Though the season may be over, Patterson thinks the future is bright for his team. “You talk about some of the guys that are coming back, some of those guys were our best players in the playoffs,” said Patterson. “I thought they were tremendous, they got better as the course of the year went, and by the end were tremendous for us and I’m very excited to see their futures.”
The 2016-2017 season may have come to a close, but the Phantoms are getting right back to work for next season with the USHL draft next week in Chicago. Stay tuned to YoungstownPhantoms.com all summer long to stay up to date with the Phantoms.
By the Numbers
Shots – 40
Saves – 25
Power Play – 0/2
Penalty Kill – 0/0
For all the latest news, follow the Phantoms on Twitter (@YtownPhantoms) and ‘Like’ them on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/YoungstownPhantoms). A full version of the Phantoms 2016-17 season schedule, as well as season tickets and mini-plan packages, is available now by visiting www.YoungstownPhantoms.com. Ticket packages can also be purchased by calling (330) 747-PUCK.
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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