YOUNGSTOWN, OH – Three Team USA goals in 1:30 during the second period spelled doom for the Youngstown Phantoms (11-8-3-0, 25 points) as they fell to the United States National Team Development Program’s U18 squad 5-2 Friday night at the Covelli Centre.
“It’s tough to win a game when you play a good chunk of it in your end,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “Credit to them, I thought they took (our) time and space away on their forecheck. Consistently put pucks in behind our (defensemen) and made them work. We were reluctant to do it the other way.”
This was the third meeting of the season between the U18’s and the Phantoms and they did something in the first period that had not been done in the first two games: played a scoreless period. At least one goal had been scored in each of the previous six periods these two had played, but neither team cracked the scoreboard in the first 20 minutes of the game, despite USA outshooting Youngstown 12-1 in the opening period. USA ended the game outshooting the Phantoms 33-12.
Youngstown finally broke the ice just past the halfway point of regulation when Josh DeLuca put home a loose puck at the edge of the crease at 10:35 for his third goal of the season, giving the Phantoms a 1-0 lead. USA answered with speed and with quantity, scoring just 39 seconds after DeLuca’s goal to tie the game and proceeding to score twice more over the next 90 seconds to grab a 3-1 advantage. Ty Smilanic started the scoring streak at 11:13, followed by Daniyal Dzhaniyev at 11:53 and Matthew Beniers at 12:43 to stake the U18’s to the two-goal advantage.
The Phantoms scored once more before the end of the period when Jake Suede scored his first USHL goal at 13:59, batting a puck out of midair and behind Drew Commesso (10 saves) to get the Phantoms back to within one at 3-2 at the second intermission. USA ended any hopes of a Phantoms comeback with two goals in the third period. Dylan Peterson scored at 11:05 and Luke Tuch finished the game off at 18:39 with his seventh of the season.
Youngstown takes to the road to start a six-game road trip starting tomorrow against this same U18 squad at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan. The Phantoms will play their final two games before the Christmas break next weekend in Madison. Youngstown returns from the Christmas break with a pair of games against the Chicago Steel December 28-29 before a New Year’s Eve tilt against Muskegon. Youngstown will return to the Covelli Centre January 3 for the first of a Friday-Sunday series against the Madison Capitols.
By the Numbers
Shots – 12
Saves – 28
Power Play – 0/5
Penalty Kill – 2/2
Goals – DeLuca, Suede
Assists – Dahm, Felker, Jenson, Marek