YOUNGSTOWN, OH – The visitors scored twice in the last six minutes of regulation to force overtime, but Tommy Parrottino’s goal 3:00 into the extra frame pushed the Youngstown Phantoms (20-15-4-1, 45 points) past the Central Illinois Flying Aces 5-4 Tuesday night at the Covelli Centre.
“It wasn’t exactly how we drew it up,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “I didn’t feel great about how mentally locked-in we were, but the guys found a way in the end and that’s important.”
Youngstown opened the scoring with a power play goal late in the first period. Mike Regush redirected a Mike Joyaux shot past Ryan Snowden (21 saves) at 17:27 to put the Phantoms in front 1-0. The goal was Regush’s 14th of the year and extended his scoring streak to eight games. Youngstown doubled its lead at 3:09 of the second period, thanks to the first goal as a Phantom by Samuel Salonen. Salonen snapped a shot from the left circle past Snowden for his fourth overall goal of the season, giving the Phantoms a 2-0 lead. “Sammy’s got a heck of a shot,” said Patterson. “He’s had a couple of Grade A chances the past few games so I’m happy to see that one go in the back of the net.”
Central Illinois got on the board with a 5-on-3 power play goal at 11:21 of the second. With Salonen and Jason Smallidge in the box, Calen Keifiuk stuffed home the rebound of Jeremy Davidson’s one-timer to cut the Youngstown lead to 2-1.
The Phantoms regained their two-goal lead just over a minute into the third period. Eric Esposito tucked a wrist shot just inside the far post at 1:12 for his 10th marker of the campaign, giving Youngstown a 3-1 advantage. The Aces answered back at 7:03 when Jamie Armstrong put home Zach Metsa’s rebound to cut the Phantoms lead to one again at 3-2. The former Phantoms defenseman Metsa had a pair of assists in his first game against his former club.
Youngstown opened up a two-goal lead again just over five minutes later. Nick Cardelli tapped home a rebound at the side of the cage for his first goal as a Phantom, fifth of the season, on the power play at 12:44 to give the Phantoms a 4-2 lead. “’Cards’ has been around (scoring plays) a lot,” said Patterson. “He drives it, he moves his feet very well. Right place at the right time.” But the Aces wouldn’t go away, as they got goals from Brad Marek at 14:07 and another from Keifiuk at 18:08 to force overtime.
In the extra session, Joyaux stole a pass in the Youngstown end and fired ahead to Max Ellis, creating a two-on-one with Parrottino. With Ellis coming down the right side and Parrottino driving center, Ellis slid Parrottino the puck. Parrottino deked forehand-backhand and slid the puck through Snowden’s five hole for the game winner.
The victory clinches the season series against Central Illinois for the Phantoms and moves Youngstown into sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of the Dubuque Fighting Saints. Youngstown continues their homestand Friday night with the first of two games against the Waterloo Black Hawks, who are in second place in the Western Conference. Puck drop on Friday night is scheduled for 7:05pm Eastern and the game will be broadcast on YPHR and HockeyTV.
By the Numbers
Shots – 26
Saves – 42
Power Play – 2/6
Penalty Kill – 5/6
Goals – Cardelli, Esposito, Parrottino, Regush, Salonen
Assists – Barry, Callahan, Dennison (2), Ellis, Gingell, Joyaux (2)
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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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