YOUNGSTOWN, OH – A pair of goals from rookie forward Reilly Funk and great goaltending from Dominic Basse helped buoy the Youngstown Phantoms (2-1-1-0, 5 points) to a 4-2 victory over the Muskegon Lumberjacks Friday night at the Covelli Centre.
“It was a close game,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “I don’t think it’s the same as what the score line finished. That’s a heck of a club over there, coached very well.”
Youngstown grabbed a 1-0 lead just past the five-minute mark of the first period. Linden Alger fired a one-timer from the left circle past Noah Giesbrecht (4 saves) to stake the Phantoms to the early lead. Youngstown doubled their lead at 9:36 when Reilly Funk deposited the rebound Trevor Kuntar’s shot to put the Phantoms ahead 2-0.
Muskegon got on the board late in the first. Luke Mobley came down the right wing of the Youngstown zone in an odd-man rush. Mobley carried the puck deep and tried a cross-ice pass, but that pass hit Youngstown forward John Beaton and redirected behind Dominic Basse (20 saves), cutting the Phantoms’ lead in half with 57.2 seconds left in the first period.
Youngstown scored the lone goal of the second period, extending their lead to 3-1. Matthew Cassidy fired a wrist shot from the left circle that Giesbrecht appeared to have swallowed up, but Funk kept digging at the Muskegon netminder’s left leg until the puck came free and trickled into the net for a power play goal. It was Funk’s second goal of the game and he has points in all four games of his USHL career. “Reilly is very cerebral, great set of hands,” said Patterson. “He’s improved since the time he’s been here and I think the sky’s the limit for him.” Muskegon pulled Giesbrecht from the game after Funk’s second goal and replaced him with Jonathan Williams (14 saves).
The Phantoms extended their lead even further just past the midway point of the third period. Beaton fired home the long rebound of an Arseni Smeknov breakaway attempt at 11:32 for a 4-1 Youngstown lead and his first USHL goal. Muskegon added a late goal from Oliver MacDonald at 15:18 to make up the final margin.
Youngstown and Muskegon return to the ice tomorrow night to wrap up the weekend series. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05pm eastern and the game will be broadcast on HockeyTV and Western Reserve Radio.
By the Numbers
Shots – 22
Saves – 20
Power Play – 1/4
Penalty Kill – 1/1
Goals – Alger, Beaton, Funk (2)
Assists – Cassidy, Dahm, Dobay, Kuntar, Nazzarett, Smekhnov