CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – The penalty kill struggled again for the Youngstown Phantoms (12-10-3-1, 28 points) as three man-advantage goals for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders led to a 5-3 defeat Friday night at Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. Youngstown has allowed power play goals in six of their last eight games and has now lost five straight.
“I think our special teams cost us,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “Our PK wasn’t very good…and on the flip side of that, not just that the power play didn’t score, but our puck pursuit, our numbers at the puck, it needs to be better.”
The Phantoms jumped out to a 1-0 lead at 5:59 of the first period. Mike Regush beat Blake Pietila with a backhander from five feet out for his sixth goal of the year, giving Youngstown the lead, but Cedar Rapids would score the next four goals. The RoughRiders tied the game just under 90 later with a power play goal from Marc McLaughlin at 7:21 of the first. Chase Blackmun gave Cedar Rapids the lead at 7:01 of the second period, and a power play goal from Roman Achan at 10:11 of the second put the RoughRiders up 3-1 at the end of two periods. McLaughlin scored his second power play goal of the night at 2:48 of the third period to put Cedar Rapids ahead 4-1. McLaughlin has four goals in three games against the Phantoms this season.
Youngstown answered back at 4:58 with Chase Gresock’s seventh of the season, but Nick Cardelli’s goal at 6:49 gave Cedar Rapids back its three-goal advantage at 5-2. Matt Barry scored a shorthanded goal at 10:20 for his seventh marker of the year, but the Phantoms could get no closer. It was Barry’s eighth multipoint game of the year. “(Matt) is an elite offensive talent,” said Patterson. “He played in all sorts of different situations. He was hunting the puck, he was around it, he was taking pucks to the net. I thought he was very good tonight.”
The win clinched the season series for Cedar Rapids due to Youngstown’s lone win thus far in the three games coming via the shootout. Youngstown and Cedar Rapids currently find themselves tied with Muskegon and Dubuque with 28 points on the year, taking up third thru sixth place in the Eastern Conference. The top six teams make the playoffs this year, with the top two seeds in each conference getting a bye to the quarterfinals. The Phantoms and RoughRiders conclude their season series tomorrow night with puck drop scheduled for 8:05pm Eastern, and the game will be broadcast on HockeyTV.
By the Numbers
Shots – 23
Saves – 25
Power Play – 0/4
Penalty Kill – 4/7
Goals – Barry, Gresock, Regush
Assists – Abate, Barry, Joyaux, Kislin, Peeters
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Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 16th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2017-18. 49 players were chosen in the 2017 NHL Draft and more than 400 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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