GENEVA, IL – Nine different players registered a point for the Youngstown Phantoms (25-18-4-1, 55 points) as they completed a perfect three-in-three weekend by downing the Chicago Steel 4-2 Sunday afternoon at Fox Valley Ice Arena.
“Except for the power play goal, all our goals tonight came from being simple,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “Nothing flashy about it, just putting pucks to the net, having net front (presence), and winning foot races.”
Youngstown jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. Matt Barry stepped out from behind the net with a rebound of a wide shot and tucked it behind Oskar Autio (19 saves) before Autio could get back to the right post to put the Phantoms ahead 1-0 just 2:11 into the game. Barry’s goal, his 13th, gave him 46 points on the year, moving him back into the top-five in the USHL scoring race.
The Phantoms doubled their lead at 7:44. Jason Smallidge fired a shot from the right point that was stopped by Autio, but the rebound lay loose in the crease. Joey Abate skated by and poked the puck across the goal line with just one hand on his stick for his fifth goal of the season, putting Youngstown ahead 2-0.
Chicago got on the board at 13:57 when Aaro Vidgren fired home a rebound past Wouter Peeters (39 saves) to cut the Phantoms lead to 2-1 at the first intermission. Youngstown scored the only goal of the second period, a pretty backhander by Mike Regush at 9:34 for his 15th goal of the year to put the Phantoms back ahead by 2, 3-1 at the end of the middle frame.
The Steel cut into the Youngstown lead with Brian Hurley’s power play goal at 3:15 of the third to trim the Phantoms’ advantage to 3-2, but Nick Cardelli answered with a power play goal of his own at 9:30 to give Youngstown back the two-goal lead and make up the final margin.
The victory moved Youngstown into sole possession of second place in the USHL’s Eastern Conference, two points ahead of the idle Dubuque Fighting Saints. Dubuque has two games in hand on the Phantoms but will pick up one of those games this week with a Wednesday night contest against the Green Bay Gamblers.
Youngstown returns home for a two-game series against the Des Moines Buccaneers this Friday and Saturday night. Puck drop both nights is scheduled for 7:05pm Eastern, and the games will broadcast on YPHR and HockeyTV.
By the Numbers
Shots – 23
Saves – 39
Power Play – 1/5
Penalty Kill – 6/7
Goals – Abate, Barry, Cardelli, Regush
Assists – Callahan, Esposito, Gresock (2), Hall, Joyaux, Smallidge
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 2017-18 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 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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