CRANBERRY TWP, PA – After surrendering the first three goals in yesterday’s game, the Youngstown Phantoms (1-1-0-0, 2 points) taught the Tri-City Storm that turn about is, indeed, fair play. Youngstown scored the first three goals of the game along the way to a 5-2 victory over the Storm Friday afternoon at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex as part of the 2019 USHL Fall Classic.
“I really liked our bounce back,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “I thought the speed (of a USHL game yesterday) took a lot of guys by surprise because we haven’t seen it, and it’s a huge credit to the team to bounce back, correct some things, and then match the tempo (of Tri-City) and then exceed it.”
After a scoreless first period, Youngstown put three behind Joe Sharib (28 saves) in the first 9:01 of the second to jump out to a commanding lead. Arseni Smekhnov, with just one hand on his stick, poked a loose puck into the net at 2:35 for a power play goal. Trevor Kuntar put home the rebound of Aiden Gallacher’s shot at 5:14, and Josh DeLuca made a nifty move in tight and fired a shot past Sharib for a power play goal at 9:01 to stake Youngstown to the aforementioned 3-0 lead.
Tri-City broke through at 11:04 of the second period when Benji Eckerle sneaked a shot past the blocker side of Colin Purcell (31 saves) after using a Phantoms defenseman as a screen to cut the Youngstown lead to 3-1. Colby Ambrosio drew the Storm closer with a power play goal at 14:34, firing an elevated shot through traffic while Purcell was down and out along the goal line, making the score 3-2.
Youngstown answered back early in the third with a spin-o-rama goal from Kuntar, who beat Sharib with a backhander from in tight at 1:15 to double the Phantoms lead to 4-2. Smekhnov put the game away with a laser of a wrist shot from the right circle during a 2-on-1 with DeLuca at 9:11 to put the game out of reach for Tri-City.
Youngstown returns to the ice tomorrow evening for their home opener at the Covelli Centre where they’ll take on the Madison Capitols. It’s Tribute to Youngstown Night, as well as Drink in the Rink, featuring $1 draft beers until the end of the second intermission and $1 hot dogs until the end of the first intermission. There will also be a post-game firework show outside the Covelli Centre after the game. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05pm eastern, and the game will be broadcast on Western Reserve Radio and HockeyTV.
By the Numbers
Shots – 33
Saves – 31
Power Play – 2/3
Penalty Kill – 5/6
Goals – DeLuca, Kuntar (2), Smekhnov (2)
Assists – Cassidy, Dahm, DeLuca, Dobay, Funk, Gallacher (2), Schoen