YOUNGSTOWN, OH – John Beaton’s goal 2:41 into overtime lifted the Youngstown Phantoms (12-13-4-0, 28 points) to a 3-2 victory over the Madison Capitols Friday at the Covelli Centre. The win snapped Youngstown’s seven-game winless streak. Youngstown had not won since a 6-4 victory over Madison on November 30.
“It feels good (to get back in the win column),” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “You walk in the room, the guys are smiling, they’re charged up. I thought the energy was very good before the game. Last week was a tough week…but it’s good to see that group rebound.”
Madison opened the scoring with a powerplay goal at 7:09 of the first period. Ryan Kirwan was in the slot and redirected Hunter Carrick’s shot from the left point past Colin Purcell (18 saves) to give the Capitols a 1-0 lead. It was just the 10th time in 29 games that Madison scored the opening goal, but the Capitols have only won on two of those occasions.
Youngstown tied the game just before the halfway point of regulation. Trevor Kuntar won a puck battle in his own end and went racing down the left side of the ice. Kuntar was forced wide by the Madison defense, but from the bottom of the left circle he sneaked a shot behind Christian Stoever (31 saves) on the short side to knot the game at 1-1 at 9:02 of the second period.
Madison regained the lead later in the period with another power play goal. With Garrett Dahm and Jayson Dobay both in the box, the Capitols had 1:01 to work on a 5-on-3 two-man advantage, but only needed 16 seconds for Kirwan to score his second of the game. Purcell was screened on the play and never even saw the shot as it whistled by his ear to give Madison back the lead at 17:29. Kirwan has scored a goal in five straight road games for the Capitols.
The Phantoms struck back at the 11:07 mark of the third period. Georgi Merkulov carried the puck behind the Madison net and made a behind-the-back centering pass to Kuntar. With the entire Madison defense and Stoever watching Merkulov, Kuntar fired into a wide-open net for his 18th of the year and second of the game, leveling things up at 2-2. “Trev’s a beast,” said Patterson. “I can’t say much more about him. Man-child. Beast. He does it all, and he does it with the intensity that we need, and he needs to do that for guys to feed off him.” Purcell was also credited with an assist on the play, his first in the USHL. Kuntar has scored five goals in the three games he’s been back in the lineup since scoring the game-winning goal for Team USA in the Bronze Medal Game at the World Junior “A” Challenge last month in British Columbia.
In overtime, Kuntar almost wrote the storybook-ending for the hat trick inside of the first minute, but his shot rang off the crossbar. Later in the frame, Ben Schoen pinned his man to the wall, enabling Artyom Borshyov to grab the puck and throw it cross ice to Beaton. Beaton carried ahead into the Madison zone down the right side. Dancing around his defender at the right dot, he cut in on net. Stoever came out to challenge, but lost his footing and fell down. Beaton dragged the puck around the sprawled-out netminder and stuffed it into the empty cage to give the Phantoms the victory.
Youngstown and Madison wrap up their season series Sunday evening at the Covelli Centre. Puck drop is scheduled for 5:05pm eastern and all kids 12 and under get in free. If you can’t make it to the Covelli Centre, the game will be broadcast live on Western Reserve Radio and HockeyTV and replayed later in the week on Armstrong Cable.
By the Numbers
Shots – 34
Saves – 18
Power Play – 0/4
Penalty Kill – 3/5
Goals – Beaton, Kuntar (2)
Assists – Borshyov, Merkulov, Purcell, Schoen (2)