DUBUQUE, IA – A pair of power play goals and a 36-save shutout from netminder Ivan Prosvetov helped spur a 3-0 victory over the Dubuque Fighting Saints in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinal. Youngstown swept the series three-games-to-none to advance to the Eastern Conference Final against either the Chicago Steel or Team USA (U17).
“We went into a hostile environment, and the guys feed off that,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “We want to be able to go on the road and take over a rink, and I thought the guys did that, at least through the first 40 minutes. Had some timely scoring. We were able to roll everyone out, and everybody through touched the ice.”
Tommy Parrottino returned to the lineup Tuesday night, and his presence was felt instantly. Parrottino floated a wrist shot through traffic from the left point past Cole Weaver (19 saves) for a power play goal at 6:19 of the first period, giving Youngstown a 1-0 lead. “Tommy played a little bit of a limited role today coming off the flu bug,” said Patterson. “It was a huge, huge lift for our lineup and he translated that into our first goal.”
A perfectly executed 3-on-2 rush a minute into the second period doubled the Phantoms’ lead. Nick Cardelli found Joey Abate trailing the play and gave him a perfect cross-crease feed for the one-touch shot just 1:05 into the second period. It was Abate’s second of the playoffs and put the Phantoms ahead 2-0.
Youngstown added another power play goal later in the period to increase their lead. Mike Regush drew the defense to him at the side of the net and found Chase Gresock with a cross-crease pass for a tap-in at 13:59. It was Gresock’s second goal of the playoffs and put the Phantoms ahead 3-0. The Youngstown power play was unsuccessful in the first two games of the series (0/4) but went 2-for-3 tonight and a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
Dubuque came out desperate for a spark in the third period and dominated possession for most of the frame, but the Youngstown defense held the Saints to just 11 shots-on-goal for the period and withstood the final 3:35 of regulation against a 6-on-5 attack for Dubuque to preserve Prosvetov’s first USHL shutout and the first shutout in Phantoms playoff history (26 games). “I thought (Ivan) was great,” said Patterson. “I thought through at least the first 40 (minutes) there weren’t a lot of Grade ‘A’s’, and that’s a credit to the guys around him, and when (Dubuque) did have looks, Ivan was there. His movements were great, you could tell he was locked in before the game. They had a few looks in the third, but (Ivan) held the fort.”
The Phantoms return to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 2013, a series they lost to this same Dubuque Fighting Saints team in five games. Youngstown will have to wait to learn the identity of their opponent; the other Eastern Conference Semifinal between the Chicago Steel and Team USA (U17) is tied at one game apiece. Game Three between Chicago and Team USA is slated for Thursday night at Fox Valley Ice Arena and the series could last until Sunday if it goes to a decisive Game Five at USA Hockey Arena. Stay tuned to YoungstownPhantoms.com for updates on dates and times for the Eastern Conference Final.
By the Numbers
Shots – 22
Saves – 36
Power Play – 2/3
Penalty Kill – 4/4
Goals – Abate, Gresock, Parrottino
Assists – Barry (2), Cardelli, Dennison, Joyaux, 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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