YOUNGSTOWN, OH – Despite the visitors only dressing 15 skaters instead of the allowable 20 due to injury and illness, the Youngstown Phantoms (19-22-6-2, 46 points) turned in a very lackluster performance in a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders Friday night at the Covelli Centre.
“I felt like tonight we had a few too many passengers and not enough guys driving the bus,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “(Cedar Rapids) clawed and fought for everything, and for us not to match that intensity until later in the game is unacceptable to me.”
Cedar Rapids scored twice in the opening frame to carry a 2-0 lead into the locker room at the first break. The RoughRiders opened with a power play goal from Grant Silianoff on a kill where the Phantoms got hemmed in their own end for over a minute. Cedar Rapids fed Silianoff for three shots from the left circle: the first one missed the net, the second one hit the post, and the third one beat Colin Purcell (17 saves) at 7:23 for a 1-0 RoughRiders lead. Jordan Tonelli cashed in on a 3-on-1 rush for the RoughRiders to extend the lead. Just as the RoughRiders killed a penalty, Tonelli carried the puck down the right side and snapped it past Purcell at 19:04 to double the Cedar Rapids advantage.
Youngstown cut into the deficit at 4:48 of the second period. Jayson Dobay carried the puck from behind his own net, through the neutral zone, and into the offensive end. The Cedar Rapids defense was flat- footed and Dobay blew past them to the net, flicking a wrister through the five-hole of Nick Semo for his fifth goal of the season. Semo stopped 24 Phantom shots during the game, his first in the USHL.
The RoughRiders answered back with another pair of goals before the period ended. Darian Gotz put home a rebound for a power play goal at 7:25 and Ryan Taylor scored on the breakaway at 12:58, ending Purcell’s night between the pipes. Dominic Basse came on in relief and stopped all eight shots he faced.
Youngstown tried to make the game interesting, scoring in the first two minutes of the third period. Matt Cassidy redirected a Trevor Kuntar shot past Simo just 1:40 into the period for a power play goal to trim the RoughRiders advantage to 4-2. However, the Phantoms only mustered six total shots on net during the third period, and Tyler Rollwagon scored on the empty net with 29.9 seconds remaining in regulation to put the game on ice for Cedar Rapids.
The loss coupled with a Muskegon victory over Tri-City drops Youngstown into the sixth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Cedar Rapids also draws closer to the Phantoms, now trailing Youngstown by just 3 points in the standings. The win also clinched the season series between the two teams in favor of the RoughRiders. These two teams will conclude that season series tomorrow night at the Covelli Centre. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05pm Eastern and the game will be broadcast on HockeyTV and Western Reserve Radio.
By the Numbers
Shots – 26
Saves – 25
Power Play – 1/3
Penalty Kill – 3/5
Goals – Dobay, Cassidy
Assists – Kuntar, Schoen