YOUNGSTOWN, OH— Three Power Play goals late in the game were not enough as the Youngstown Phantoms fell to the Waterloo Black Hawks 5-4 at Young Arena in Waterloo, IA.
Waterloo got out to a fast start as Matej Blümel netted a goal on the man advantage just 1:36 into the first period. Connor Caponi would put the Black Hawks up two just over six minutes later to head into the first break up by two. The Black Hawks controlled play throughout the first period and through much of the second.
Kyle Haskins would extend the Black Hawks lead to three at 7:23 of the second period off a wrister from the left circle. The Phantoms were unable to amount any offensive pressure without the man advantage and would head into the third period down by three.
The game would get very interesting halfway through the third period. Brock Paul hit Phantoms forward Dalton Messina up high and a massive scrum would ensue, Paul was assessed a major penalty and ejected from the game, and the Phantoms would go to work on a five-minute Power Play.
Brett Murray would find a loose puck down low and center through the slot and found Arsenii Smekhnov who got the Phantoms on the board two minutes into the Power Play at the 7:52 mark of the third but Vladislav Firstov would get that goal back for Waterloo just over 40 seconds later.
The Phantoms would continue to pressure on the Power Play. Connor MacEachern would cash in on a wide shot from Matthew DeMelis and carry the puck behind the net and wrapped it around the post and into the net to pull the Phantoms back within two.
With about eight seconds remaining on the Power Play Roman Kraemer found a loose puck off the left pad of Waterloo’s goalie Logan Stein and banged the puck home to make it a one goal game.
Youngstown would pull netminder Justin Evenson (18 saves) in a last-ditch effort to pull off the comeback.
Matt Koopman would stifle the comeback attempt as he picked up a puck laying in the Waterloo crease and cleared the puck all the way down the ice and into the empty cage to give the Black Hawks a 5-3 lead and the win.
The Phantoms continue the road trip through Iowa tomorrow night as they take on the Dubuque Fighting Saints. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:05pm and the broadcast is available on HockeyTV.
By the Numbers
Shots – 34
Saves – 18
Power Play – 3/4
Penalty Kill – 4/5
Goals – Smekhnov (PP), MacEachern (PP), Kraemer (PP)
Assists – Schoen (2), Murray, DeMelis, Cassaro, Dennison
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Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 17th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2018-19. 57 players were chosen in the 2018 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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