YOUNGSTOWN, OH – Spearheaded by multipoint efforts from Reilly Funk and Yusaku Ando and backstopped by 36 saves from Colin Purcell, the Youngstown Phantoms (3-1-1-0, 7 points) downed the Muskegon Lumberjacks 3-2 Saturday night at the Covelli Centre.
“To be fair, I don’t think we were at our best,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “I thought Colin Purcell definitely was (at his best). There was a lot of that game that I thought we were on our heels, and that’s a credit to (Muskegon). We progressively got better over the game, but I think we have more.”
Youngstown got on the board first, scoring 12:58 into the first period to take a 1-0 lead. Ando shoveled a backhander past Jonathan Williams (20 saves) for his third goal of the season to stake the Phantoms to the lead. “Yusaku has had a tremendous start,” said Patterson.
Muskegon tied the game with 19.5 seconds remaining in the period. While killing a penalty, Luke Mobley blocked Aiden Gallacher’s shot, chased down the loose puck at center, and raced in on Purcell. Mobley faked to the forehand, deked to the backhand, and lifted the shot over the lunging Purcell to tie the game at 1-1.
The Phantoms regained the lead at 6:55 of the second period on Arseni Smekhnov’s third goal of the season, and increased their lead to 3-1 at 2:27 of the third on Funk’s third of the campaign. “(Reilly) is a great person in the room, great teammate,” said Patterson. “He gets the hard work done.”
Muskegon pulled back to within one at 3-2 when AJ Hodges snapped a wrist shot from the left circle past Purcell’s glove at 8:22, and the ‘Jacks continued to pour on the pressure, but Purcell remained stout in net and the Phantoms hung on for the win. “Every time he’s been in the net, (Colin) has been calm,” said Patterson. “He was tremendous, he really gave us that chance to win the game. He deserves a lot of credit for tonight.”
The win gives Youngstown their first weekend sweep of the season and keeps Muskegon winless on the year. With his two points tonight, Funk moved into the USHL lead in scoring with 8 points (3G-5A). The Phantoms return to the ice next Sunday for the first of a two-game set against the Chicago Steel. Puck drop is scheduled for 5:05pm eastern, and the game will be broadcast on HockeyTV and Western Reserve Radio.
By the Numbers
Shots – 23
Saves – 36
Power Play – 0/3
Penalty Kill – 3/3
Goals – Ando, Funk, Smekhnov
Assists – Ando, Cassidy, Dahm, Funk, Kuntar, Mylymok