YOUNGSTOWN, OH— A strong start and finish would not be enough as the Youngstown Phantoms (6-8-0-2) fell to the Central Illinois Flying Aces 5-2 at Grossinger Motors Arena Saturday night.
The first period would see no scoring, but the Phantoms were able to impose their will and played a hard and gritty period. The Phantoms outshot Central Illinois 15-4 in the period but were unable to put any of those shots in the back of the net.
The physical play continued in the second, until the Flying Aces redirected a puck on a power play just shy of nine minutes into the period. Former Phantom Max Ellis would extend the Aces lead to two, as he found a misplayed puck in the slot and fired it into a yawning cage. Lynden Breen caught Phantoms netminder Jon Mor (14 saves) off guard and capped off a three-goal offensive explosion for the Aces in the second period.
Youngstown would pick up where they left off in the first period, flying out of the gates to start the third. The Phantoms would finally be rewarded on the power play, as Trevor Kuntar was able to get body position on a Flying Aces defender and fire a backhand shot that had eyes as it found the top right corner of the net.
The Phantoms would continue to apply the pressure and Josh DeLuca would be the beneficiary, as he hustled from behind the net to find a rebound and squeezed it between the outstretched leg and glove of Flying Aces goalie Ryan Snowden.
Desperation came with 2:27 remaining in the period as the Phantoms pulled Mor, but two empty net goals from Cal Kiefiuk and Jeremy Davidson would seal the game for the Aces.
The Phantoms return to action next weekend for a Thanksgiving weekend series with the Madison Capitols. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 PM both nights and broadcasts are available on HockeyTV and Western Reserve Radio.
By the Numbers
Shots – 36
Saves – 14
Power Play – 1/4
Penalty Kill – 3/4
Goals – Kuntar (PP), DeLuca
Assists – Barnaby, Needham, Suede
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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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