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By Matthew Lipcsak, 05/04/18, 11:15PM EDT


Youngstown takes 2-1 lead in Eastern Conference Final



YOUNGSTOWN, OH – Chase Gresock recorded the first four-goal game in Youngstown Phantoms playoff history and helped pace a seven-goal output as the Phantoms defeated Team USA (U17) 7-5 Friday night at the Covelli Centre in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Final.

“It was another one that coaches probably sometimes don’t like,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “You don’t expect those (10-6 or 7-5 games) in playoffs, you expect them to be tight, you expect them to be a one- or two-goal game. I thought both teams battled hard.”

After allowing the opening goal both games in Michigan, Youngstown took a turn opening the scoring. Jason Smallidge floated a wrist shot through traffic and past Cameron Rowe (33 saves) to give the Phantoms a 1-0 lead 5:39 into the game. Gresock got hit first of the game just over a minute later at 6:55. Matt Barry stole a pass below the USA red line and found Gresock in the right circle for a one-timer through Rowe’s five-hole for a 2-0 Youngstown lead.

Team USA answered back at the 14:15 mark. Henry Thrun pumped a slap shot from center point past Ivan Prosvetov (21 saves) for a power play goal, cutting the Youngstown lead to 2-1, but the Phantoms responded almost immediately. After the faceoff, Gresock stripped a USA defender of the puck behind the USA net, stepped in front, and beat Rowe up high at 14:39 for his second goal of the game, giving Youngstown a 3-1 advantage at the first intermission.

Gresock completed his hat trick with a power play goal just 1:09 into the second period. Mike Regush found Gresock on the back door with a cross-ice feed for the one-timer that beat Rowe and gave the Phantoms a 4-1 advantage. Erik Middendorf fired home the rebound of a Danny Weight shot at 6:09 to bring USA back within two, but Gresock converted another power play goal, tapping home a backdoor feed from Barry to give Youngstown a 5-2 lead at 9:32. “(Chase) has a nose for the net, and he knows what to do with it when he does get the puck,” said Patterson. “I thought his line mates were really finding him tonight.” Matt Boldy fired home a rebound at 11:01 for a power play goal to cut the Phantoms’ advantage to 5-3 at the second intermission.

Youngstown scored early in the third to extend their lead back to three. Jake Gingell beat Rowe with a slap shot from center point during a 4-on-4 situation at 3:02 to put the Phantoms ahead 6-3. Curtis Hall was called for holding at 15:57, and USA pulled their netminder to gain a 6-on-4 advantage. The move paid off, Weight popped a shot from in close past Prosvetov at 17:37 to get USA back within two at 6-4, but Dalton Messina scored on the empty net at 19:05 to give Youngstown back its three-goal advantage. Owen Lindmark lifted a shot over Prosvetov’s glove at 19:43 to make up the final margin.

The Phantoms look to close out the series tomorrow night and earn their first trip to the Clark Cup Final in team history. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05pm Eastern and the game will be broadcast on HockeyTV and YPHR, presented by Marco’s Pizza.



By the Numbers

Shots – 41

Saves – 21

Power Play – 2/9

Penalty Kill – 5/8

Goals – Gingell, Gresock (4), Messina, Smallidge

Assists – Barry (3), Hall, Holtz, Needham (2), Parrottino, Regush (2), Salonen



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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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