YOUNGSTOWN, OH— A back and forth tilt at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, OH saw the Youngstown Phantom (10-9-0-3) collect their 10th win of the season over the Chicago Steel.
The game began with a lot of stoppages but quickly opened up with fast-paced action and saw Mathieu De St. Phalle of Chicago open the scoring at 4:09 of the first period. Joey Abate and Craig Needham couldn’t capitalize on scoring chances, but Connor MacEachern would convert at 16:56 of the first. The goal came on the powerplay from a cross-crease pass from Brett Murray to tie the game at 1.
The second period began with a flurry of quick goals, which saw De St. Phalle scoring 22 seconds into the period to give Chicago their second lead of the game. Defenseman Matteo Pietroniro of the Steel would increase the lead to 3-1 at 3:02 for his 8th of the season. It only took one minute and eight seconds for the Phantoms to respond as Gianfranco Cassaro beat Justin Robbins clean glove side on powerplay. 35 seconds later Ben Schoen scored his first USHL goal at 4:45 to tie the game at 3.
Neil Shea and Liam Dennison would drop the gloves at 5:36 of the second period and each received a major for fighting. Christian Stoever (29 saves) would make two great saves to keep the game tied while the Phantoms were killing off penalties by Schoen and Abate.
John Spetz would grab the lead for the Steel at 4:21 of the 3rd and Adam Robbins would extend the lead at the 11:32 mark to give Chicago a 5-3. Brett Murray would begin the comeback at 12:51 of the 3rd from a Josh DeLuca pass. A minute and 23 seconds later Needham would get one past Robbins to tie the game from a beautiful saucer pass from Matthew Barnaby.
A high sticking call on Pietroniro and unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Abate would create a 4 on 4 opportunity at 15:11 of the third period.
Brett Murray would complete the comeback from below the goal line by re-directing a puck off Uula Ruikka’s skate which slowly slid past Robbins undetected. Murray’s second goal would stand for the remainder of the game.
Youngstown returns to the Covelli Centre tomorrow night, December 15th, to take on Chicago for the second game of a 3-game stand for teddy bear toss night. Puck drop is set for 7:05 PM with broadcasts on HockeyTV and Western Reserve Radio.
By the Numbers
Shots – 19
Saves – 29
Power Play – 2/4
Penalty Kill – 5/7
Goals – Murray (2), MacEachern (PP), Cassaro (PP), Schoen, Needham
Assists – Murray, Robertson, DeMelis, Kuntar, Cassaro, DeLuca, Barnaby, Dobay, Needham, Larkin
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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. 45 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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