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By Matthew Lipcsak, 03/18/17, 12:00AM EDT


Pierce Crawford scored the game-winning goal in his return to Omaha

 (Photo Credit: Robb Brouillette)




OMAHA, NE – The Youngstown Phantoms (30-17-4-1, 65 points) scored two goals in the first period en route to scoring the first four of the game and downing the Omaha Lancers 4-1 Friday night at Ralston Arena in Omaha.

“I think the first 30 minutes was a little bit of a feeling out process,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “but as the game went it was just like playing a divisional rival. It was intense, there were some big hits, there were some tempers that flared, specifically at the end of the game. We’ve got to keep cool with our heads and play the right way and play hard and the chips will fall where we need them.”

Youngstown jumped out to a 1-0 lead before the game was three minutes old. Tommy Apap got body position ten feet from the net and was able to fire a shot through Tommy Nappier’s (24 saves) five-hole at 2:53 for his fourth goal of the year.

The Phantoms doubled their lead thanks to former Omaha assistant captain and current Phantom Pierce Crawford. Crawford’s wrist shot from the high slot beat Nappier high to the blocker side to give Youngstown a 2-0 lead at 13:04. The goal was Crawford’s 16th of the season and second as a member of the Phantoms.

Chase Gresock gave Youngstown a 3-0 lead at 5:54 of the second period with a wrist shot from the high slot. Gresock’s goal, his 11th of the season, came thanks to a great play in the corner by Curtis Hall to find the oncoming Gresock.

Evan Wisocky’s shorthanded goal at 8:45 of the third period put the Phantoms up 4-0. Nappier came out of his net to play a puck in the right circle, but Austin Pooley knocked down Nappier’s pass and was able to the puck to Wisocky, who scored before Nappier could get back into the crease.

Off the ensuing faceoff, former Phantom and current Lancer Noah Lalonde carried the puck down right wing, cut to the net, and beat Ivan Kulbakov (15 saves) with a backhander for Omaha’s lone goal of the night, Lalonde’s fourth of the season.

“The guys right from the drop of the puck limited time and space for Omaha,” concluded Patterson. “To come out with two points that’s what you need when you go on the road and you have a big game like this.”

The win allowed the Phantoms to remain five points ahead of the fifth-place Green Bay Gamblers and three points behind the third-place Muskegon Lumberjacks. Youngstown’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot is down to 10.

Youngstown and Omaha wrap up their season series tomorrow night with puck drop scheduled at 8:05pm Eastern. Broadcasts will be available on HockeyTV and KILO News Talk 1290 AM out of Omaha.

By the Numbers

Shots – 28

Saves – 15

Power Play – 0/5

Penalty Kill – 4/5

Goals – Apap, Crawford, Gresock, Wisocky

Assists – Cocca, Dockery, Gingell, Hall, Norris, Pooley



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Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 15th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2016-17. 30 players were chosen in the 2016 NHL Draft and more than 402 players on team rosters this season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.


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