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By Matthew Lipcsak, 10/08/17, 11:30AM EDT


Phantoms drop 2017-18 season opener


YOUNGSTOWN, OH – Four straight goals by the visitors ultimately spelled doom for the Youngstown Phantoms (0-1-0-0, 0 points) as they fell to the Central Illinois Flying Aces 4-2 on Saturday night at the Covelli Centre.

“At the end of the day, I didn’t feel we were at our best for 40 (of 60) minutes,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “I thought for the third period I thought we got better…but we definitely need to improve on that.”

Youngstown opened the scoring at 9:21 of the first period thanks to the first USHL goal by Gianfranco Cassaro. Cassaro’s blast from the left point found its way past Central Illinois netminder Zach Stejskal (23 saves) to give the Phantoms a 1-0 lead.

Central Illinois scored the next four goals of the game to jump ahead 4-1 before the halfway mark of the second period. Jakub Lacka fired one in off the glove of Ivan Prosvetov (21 saves) at 10:51, and Jamie Armstrong put the Aces ahead for good with just 1.8 seconds remaining in the first period with another shot that Prosvetov couldn’t handle and trickled over the goal line. Tyler Madden picked up his own rebound and scored from the slot at 6:40 of the second period, and Drew Elser capped off the scoring at 9:35, stuffing the puck between Prosvetov’s left foot and the post. In a play that could have swung the momentum right before the Elser goal, Youngstown had a potential goal waived off from a rush by Eriks Zohovs.

The Phantoms were able to cut the Aces’ lead to 4-2 on a delayed penalty call. Chase Gresock found himself all alone on the back door and tapped the puck into a yawning cage after a pretty pass from Max Ellis. Youngstown had a power play with 3:21 remaining in regulation and pulled Prosvetov for the extra attacker with 2:00 remaining, but were unable to draw any closer.

Youngstown and Central Illinois will face off again tomorrow with puck drop scheduled for 5:05 pm at the Covelli Centre. The game will be broadcast on YPHR and HockeyTV.


By the Numbers

Shots – 24

Saves – 21

Power Play – 0/2

Penalty Kill – 3/3

Goals – Cassaro, Gresock

Assists – Barry, Ellis, Hall, Parrotino



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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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