LINCOLN, NE – Sixty-five minutes of hockey and seven rounds of a shootout were required to determine a winner at the Ice Box on Saturday night. Josiah Slavin’s goal in the seventh round of the shootout was the difference-maker as the Youngstown Phantoms (29-18-5-2, 65 points) fell to the Lincoln Stars by a final score of 2-1 after Lincoln prevailed in the shootout 3-2.
“Hard fought game, that’s for sure,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “Just didn’t go in the back of the net for us tonight.”
The game was scoreless through the first 58:37, but there were plenty of chances for both sides. Lincoln almost grabbed a 1-0 lead 65 seconds into the game, but a potential goal was waived off by the on-ice officials despite the goal light coming on. Youngstown’s best chance came on a power play in the second period, but Curtis Hall was unable to get his stick free to stuff a rebound into an empty cage with less than five minutes remaining in the middle frame.
Lincoln finally broke the ice 18:37 into the third period. The Stars fired a quick succession of shots at Ivan Prosvetov (38 saves) before the puck bounce out to Paul Cotter near the right hashmarks in the slot. His shot appeared to be going wide but hit a Phantoms defender out front and deflected past Prosvetov to give Lincoln the 1-0 lead.
After winning the ensuing faceoff and taking play into the Lincoln end, Youngstown drew a high sticking call on the Stars with 1:05 remaining in regulation and went to a power play. The Phantoms pulled Prosvetov for the extra attacker to give them a six-on-four advantage. Youngstown controlled the faceoff and worked the puck around the wall to center point. Defenseman Michael Callahan passed to Mike Regush in the right circle. Regush fired a wrist shot that was redirected on net by Max Ellis. Lincoln netminder Tomas Vomacka (26 saves) stopped Ellis’ redirect, but the rebound popped to Tommy Parrottino. Parrottino fired the puck through a sea of bodies and into the net with 45.8 seconds remaining in regulation for his 14th goal of the season, tying the game at 1-1 and forcing overtime. “Tommy is able to read and react and jump on that puck,” said Patterson. “Huge goal for us.”
The bonus frame was equally played, with each team registering three shots on net. Lincoln thought they scored the game winner with 2:00 remaining, but this potential goal was also waived off by the referee, saying the puck hit the post.
Through the first three rounds of the shootout, Cotter and Casey Dornbach converted for Lincoln, matched by Regush and Eric Esposito for the Phantoms, forcing the shootout into extra rounds. The next four shooters for Youngstown and three for Lincoln were all stopped, but Slavin beat Prosvetov in the bottom of the seventh round to give Lincoln the victory.
Despite the loss, the standings point earned by getting to overtime clinched a playoff spot for Youngstown for the fifth time in the team’s nine seasons. The Phantoms currently sit in second place in the USHL’s Eastern Conference, trailing Team USA by 12 points and ahead of the Muskegon Lumberjacks by three.
Youngstown travels to Plymouth, Michigan next Friday night to conclude their final road trip of the 2017-2018 regular season before returning to the friendly confines of the Covelli Centre Saturday afternoon to open up a five-game homestand. The Phantoms will battle the U18’s on Friday night at USA Hockey Arena before retuning to Northeast Ohio to take on the U17’s the following afternoon. Puck drop on Friday night is scheduled for 7:05pm Eastern and the game will be broadcast on HockeyTV.
By the Numbers
Shots – 27
Saves – 38
Power Play – 1/6
Penalty Kill – 4/4
Goals – Parrottino
Assists – Ellis, 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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