Photo Credit: Ryan Thompson
GENEVA, IL – A pair of goals by Reggie Lutz helped lead the Chicago Steel to victory over the Youngstown Phantoms (31-19-5-1, 68 points) 4-1 Sunday afternoon at Fox Valley Ice Arena.
“(I’m) frustrated in the outcome,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “I think the guys deserved better tonight. I think they had a great effort. I’m confident in this group that if they continue to play like that, we’ll be in a good spot.”
Chicago took a 1-0 lead at 14:58 of the first period on Mitch Lewandowski’s 14th goal of the year. Lewandowski’s shot from a sharp angle beat Ivan Kulbakov (29 saves) over the glove to put the Steel in front.
Chase Gresock scored the lone goal of the day for Youngstown, tying the game for the Phantoms at 16:44. Gresock fired a rebound from Curtis Hall’s shot into a wide-open net after Ales Stezka (25 saves) made an initial stop, but the rebound came to Gresock in the slot and Stezka was out of position. “Credit to Chase for working his tail off tonight for that one,” said Patterson.
Chicago retook the lead at 18:11 when Lutz beat Kulbakov with a one-timer from the right circle. The Steel entered the zone on the rush after a Youngstown turnover in the neutral zone, leaving Lutz alone on the wing.
Lutz’s scored his second of the game at 12:35 of the third period to give Chicago a 3-1 lead with a power play goal. Lutz walked off the right wall to the slot and used a screen to beat Kulbakov blocker-side. Jason O’Neill scored on the empty net at 18:40 from over 150 feet away to make up the final margin.
Youngstown remains in a virtual tie with the Green Bay Gamblers for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Phantoms and Gamblers both have 68 points, but Green Bay owns the first tie breaker, regulation + overtime wins. Youngstown still has a game in hand on Green Bay.
The Phantoms return home to wrap up the 2016-2017 regular season with a four-game home stand, starting with a pair of games against the Lincoln Stars. Lincoln trails Fargo by three points for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05pm Eastern on both Friday and Saturday nights and broadcasts of both games will be available on YPHR and HockeyTV.
By the Numbers
Shots – 26
Saves – 29
Power Play – 0/1
Penalty Kill – 4/5
Goals – Gresock
Assists – Hall, Pooley
For all the latest news, follow the Phantoms on Twitter (@YtownPhantoms) and ‘Like’ them on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/YoungstownPhantoms). A full version of the Phantoms 2016-17 season schedule, as well as season tickets and mini-plan packages, is available now by visiting www.YoungstownPhantoms.com. Ticket packages can also be purchased by calling (330) 747-PUCK.
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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