BRIGHTON, NY – After digging themselves two different two-goal deficits, the Youngstown Phantoms (8-9-0-2, 18 points) fought back to tie the game at 3-3 before ultimately falling to the Green Bay Gamblers 4-3 Friday night at Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex as part of the USHL Wegman’s American Cup.
After the Gamblers established a cycle in the left-wing corner of the Youngstown zone, defenseman Will Staring sneaked down the boards. Staring took a pass from Greg Spitznagel and blasted a one-timer off the ribs of Kyle Chauvette (16 saves) and into the short side of the net for the game-winning goal.
Green Bay opened the scoring just 26 seconds into regulation on Trey Zagrzebski first USHL goal, a redirect from the edge of the crease. The Gamblers doubled their lead on Ethan Straky’s first goal of the season, a power play goal from the left circle that found its way to the twine despite the traffic in front.
“(Green Bay) got a couple of bounces early, but to me you work for your bounces,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “We were trying to do too much in areas where there isn’t a lot of opportunity from, and usually that comes back and bites you.”
Youngstown cracked the scoreboard with just over two minutes remaining in the first. After great forecheck work below the red line by Stiven Sardarian and Kenta Isogai, Isogai found Winter Wallace camped out alone at the hashmarks between the circles, and Wallace buried the shot to cut the Green Bay lead in half at 2-1.
“(Winter) played hard,” said Patterson. “It’s great that he shows up on that scoresheet with two goals, they were well deserved. When he’s moving his feet and shooting, he’s a dominant force.”
Green Bay scored the only goal of the second period when Cam Lund beat Chauvette to the far side on a breakaway down the right wing and led 3-1 at the second intermission, but the Phantoms came out strong to start the third and battled back to tie the game. Wallace scored the opening goal of the third period, converting on a shorthanded breakaway just 3:29 into the frame to get the Phantoms back within a goal. Just over three minutes later, Adam Ingram scored his team-leading 11th goal of the season, blazing a wrister past Aaron Randazzo (26 saves) at 6:32, just after a power play expired, tying the game at 3-3. The goal extended Ingram’s scoring streak to 13 games, the best in the USHL this season and tying him with Trevor Kuntar for second-longest in team history (Brett Murray-14). Youngstown, which came into the game with the top-ranked power play in the USHL, ended the game 0-5 on the power play, including a 30 second 5-on-3. Green Bay’s penalty killing unit ranked 11th out of 16 teams entering tonight’s action.
The game was tied for just under five minutes before Staring’s game-winning goal at 11:09. The Phantoms and Gamblers conclude their trip to Rochester tomorrow night with puck drop coming again at 7:30pm.
By the Numbers
Shots – 29
Saves – 16
Power Play – 0/5
Penalty Kill – 3/4
Goals – Ingram, Wallace (2)
Assists – Grant (2), Isogai, Porter, Sardarian, Taylor