YOUNGSTOWN, OH – A pair of power play goals, a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill, and 41 saves from Ivan Prosvetov helped the Youngstown Phantoms (16-14-4-1, 37 points) hold off the Dubuque Fighting Saints 2-1 Sunday afternoon at the Covelli Centre.
“Not as many momentum swings as last night, but that doesn’t take away from it being a very hard-fought hockey game for both sides,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “Two teams playing three-in-three and still brought it. (I’m) very happy with the result.”
After a scoreless first period, Youngstown opened the scoringt just 34 seconds into the second. Matt Thomson tapped home the rebound of a Chase Gresock shot for his league-leading 10th power play goal of the season to give the Phantoms the 1-0 lead. All of Thomson’s goals this year have come on the power play. “Matt has one of the best releases in our league,” said Patterson. “He can really get it off his tape and when he does he can pick spots.”
Dubuque tied the game at the 2:14 mark, Roman Kinal floated a shot from the left point through traffic and past Prosvetov for his first USHL goal, tying the game at 1. “Ivan was good through the first two periods, we limited what was getting around him,” said Patterson. “But in the third period when we needed him he was there.”
Youngstown took the lead for good with another power play goal later in the second. Matt Barry fired a one-timer past Cole Weaver (27 saves) at 6:17 for his ninth goal of the season and what turned out to be the game-winner. Barry was the beneficiary of a backhand pass from the far boards by Mike Regush to set up the goal. “The pass was great,” said Patterson. “You can talk about the pass, and it was a tremendous pass…but Barry is a right shot on the right side, that’s an extremely tough play to get that shot off his stick.”
Dubuque attempted to mount a comeback in the third period, outshooting the Phantoms 20-3 in the final frame and getting the only two power plays of the period, but Prosvetov was strong in net and the Youngstown defense stood tall to hang on for the victory.
The win over Dubuque clinches the season series for the Phantoms over the Saints, which could prove crucial for tie-breaking purposes as the season winds past the halfway mark. Youngstown, Dubuque, and the Green Bay Gamblers are all tied for third place in the Eastern Conference with 37 points. The Eastern Conference is very tight right now, with only 7 points separating second place from eighth.
Youngstown will travel to Chicago to start a four-game road trip with a pair of games against the defending-Clark Cup champion Chicago Steel beginning Friday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:05pm Eastern on Friday night and the game will be available on HockeyTV and the Chicago Steel Broadcast Network on mixLR.
By the Numbers
Shots – 29
Saves – 41
Power Play – 2/3
Penalty Kill – 4/4
Goals – Barry, Thomson
Assists – Gresock (2), Metsa, Regush
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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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