YOUNGSTOWN, OH – Despite overcoming 2-0 and 3-2 deficits, the Youngstown Phantoms (22-17-1-3, 48 points) couldn’t get over that final hump and ultimately fell 4-3 to the U17 squad of the United States National Team Development Program Saturday night at the Covelli Centre.
“From my perspective I felt like we clawed for everything we got,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “I felt in the third period we really earned the opportunity to get two points and made a couple really bad mental miscues and they cost us the game.”
With 6:50 left in the third period of a 2-2 hockey game, Thomas Bordeleau was going to be called for roughing Phantoms’ defenseman Aiden Gallacher, but Matthew Barnaby retaliated against Bordeleau and was assessed a five-minute major for cross checking and a game misconduct, cancelling out what would have been a Youngstown power play. Instead, Barnaby’s penalty led to a 4-on-4 situation followed by a 3:00 power play for Team USA that ultimately decided the game.
“At this time of the year, to talk about (undisciplined penalties), that shouldn’t be happening, specifically in a game that’s a very close game,” said Patterson. “Tonight, I think guys felt there was a liberty taken, but that’s unacceptable for that to happen.”
Team USA broke the 2-2 tie during the ensuing 4-on-4 play and grabbed a 3-2 lead. Chase Yoder walked off the right wall and cut to the net mouth, stuffing a shot through Chad Veltri (23 saves) to put USA back in front at 14:18.
Youngstown didn’t give up, and tied the game with a shorthanded goal during the powerplay for USA that followed the 4-on-4. A USA defender was trying to spin with the puck just inside his own blue line, but tripped and left the puck sitting just inside the USA zone. Connor MacEachern pounced on the loose puck, strided in towards Drew Commesso (24 saves) and snapped a wrist shot past him for a shorthanded goal, tying the game at 16:35 with his 19th goal of the season. “Connor is energy,” said Patterson. “Whether he scores or doesn’t score, Connor brings energy and positivity. Those are things that to me are invaluable.”
After the high of MacEachern tying the game with the shorthanded goal, the Covelli Centre deflated just as quickly as USA grabbed the lead for good just 36 seconds later. Brock Faber potted his first USHL goal at 17:11, flicking a wrist shot through traffic from center point and beating Veltri, giving the U17’s a 4-3 lead they would not relinquish.
USA scored the lone goal of the first period, grabbing the 1-0 on Bordeleau’s ninth of the season just 5:59 into the game. The Nationals doubled their lead at the 11:22 mark of the second when Matthew Beniers stuffed home a short-side shot at the left post for his fifth of the campaign.
Just when it seemed Youngstown was heading to the second intermission down 2-0, Jayson Dobay found the back of the net with 14.2 seconds remaining in the period for his first USHL goal, cutting the NTDP’s lead in half to 2-1. “(Jayson’s) been great,” said Patterson. “We talked a few weeks ago when we lost (Gianfranco) Cassaro and (Steve) Holtz to injuries, guys were going to have to step up and (Jayson) is a guy that’s played more minutes in different situations and he’s really excelled.” Dalton Messina tied the game for Youngstown 1:09 into the third period, tapping home a pretty backdoor feed from Craig Needham.
The loss snapped Youngstown’s three-game winning streak and brought them into a tie for third place with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders at 48 points. Both teams are just one point ahead of fifth-place Dubuque and trail second place Chicago by seven.
Youngstown will head west for a quick three-games-in-three-days road trip with the first two stops coming in Des Moines against the Buccaneers before stopping in Bloomington on the way back to Youngstown to battle the Flying Aces. Both puck drops in Des Moines are scheduled for 8:05pm Eastern while Sunday’s faceoff in Illinois is slated for 5:07pm Eastern. All games will be broadcast on HockeyTV.
By the Numbers
Shots – 27
Saves – 23
Power Play – 0/4
Penalty Kill – 6/7
Goals – Dobay, MacEachern, Messina
Assists – Larkin, Malone, Needham
YOUNGSTOWN, OH – The Youngstown Phantoms (22-16-1-3, 48 points) had their best offensive output of the year and saw 14 skaters appear on the scoresheet as they down the United States National Team Development Program’s U17 squad 8-3 Friday night at the Covelli Centre. Youngstown had scored six goals in a game four times previously before Friday night’s eight-goal output.
“I think the game was closer than the scoreline looked at the end,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “I think we did a better job as the game went limiting opportunities and playing a little bit simpler hockey. When we do that, that’s our game plan, and that’s where we’re dangerous.”
Youngstown got on the board first, grabbing a 1-0 lead before the game was five minutes old. Trevor Kuntar crashed the cage and beat USA netminder Noah Grannan (16 saves) off a wonderful pass from Matthew Barnaby to put the Phantoms ahead. USA tied the game at 9:15 when defenseman Eamon Powell joined the rushed and snapped a wrister past Christian Stoever (18 saves) to knot the game at 1-1. USA took the lead at 10:10 of the second period when Thomas Bordeleau’s shot from the slot ricocheted off Stoever’s stick and into the net to give the U17’s a 2-1 lead.
The Phantoms stormed right back, tying the game 55 seconds later. Craig Needham walked right off the corner boards on the left side, cut to the front of the net, and slipped a backhander through Grannan’s five hold to level things out at 2-2. The goal was Needham’s 11th of the year on 46 shots. Needham only scored one goal last year with 44 shots.
USA grabbed the lead back at 13:11. A failed clearing attempt by Youngstown led to a 2-on-1 below the circles for USA and Brett Berard found Hunter McKown alone on the backdoor for the easy tap-in and a 3-2 USA lead.
The Phantoms responded again, however, and would score the next six goals of the game to run away with the victory. Brett Murray scored twice before the period ended. Murray’s first goal of the game came at 14:18. After taking a cross-ice feed from Jack Malone, Murray fired a pass towards the net, looking for Connor MacEachern, but his pass hit the skate of USA defender Daniel Laatsch and redirected through Grannan’s five hole to tie the game. Murray’s second goal came at 16:44 as he settled down a bouncing puck at the edge of the crease, danced around the poke check of Grannan, and tucked the puck into the cage past Grannan’s right leg to put Youngstown ahead for good at 4-3.
The Phantoms offensive onslaught continued in the third period, adding on another four goal. Josh DeLuca added his third of the season, ripping a wrist shot past Grannan at 6:44. MacEachern got loose behind the defense and deposited a backhander behind Grannan at 10:14 for a 6-3 Youngstown advantage. Liam Dennison blasted a shot from the left point through traffic and in at 14:33 to put the Phantoms ahead 7-3, and Murray capped off the night with a strip-and-score breakaway at 19:32 to complete his hat trick, the first of his USHL career. Murray now has seven goals in his last three games. “(Brett) has been consistent like that all year,” said Patterson. “I don’t even need to talk about the stuff he does on the ice, it’s the stuff he does off the ice: the message he’s delivering in the room when the coaches aren’t there. The preparation that goes into it, when you do all of those things, the hockey karma will generally pay off for you and Brett comes through tonight.”
Friday was the first of five matchups against the U17’s this season. If the playoffs started tomorrow, Youngstown would be facing the U17’s in an opening round best-of-three in a #3 vs #6 matchup. The Phantoms faced the U17’s in last season’s Eastern Conference Final, defeating the Nationals 3-1 in a best-of-five series. Tonight’s victory keeps Youngstown one point clear of fourth place Dubuque, but the Phantoms have a game in hand on the Fighting Saints.
Youngstown and the U17’s will wrap up their weekend series tomorrow at the Covelli Centre. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05pm Eastern and the game will be broadcast on Western Reserve Radio and HockeyTV.
By the Numbers
Shots – 24
Saves – 18
Power Play – 0/1
Penalty Kill – 0/0
Goals – DeLuca, Dennison, Kuntar, MacEachern, Murray (3), Needham
Assists – Abate (2), Barnaby, DeMelis, Dobay (3), Gallacher, Malone (3), Murray, Robertson, Smekhnov
Youngstown,OH - Military Members get in free with proof of military service! Also a special beer offer, $2 beers available until the end of the 2nd period! Valid only for February 16th game!
Youngstown, OH - Come out this Friday, February 15th to celebrate Sparky's birthday! Plus during the game there will be a post game autograph session with the team!
YOUNGSTOWN, OH -- With the game knotted up at 3-3 entering the final 20 minutes, the Youngstown Phantoms (21-16-1-3, 46 points) exploded for three goals in the deciding period, downing the Lincoln Stars 6-3 Saturday night at the Covelli Centre.
“Great result by the guys,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “Christian Stoever was good in the net…he really stood in there and made some big stops as the game went. I felt like we had a pretty good start. I felt we built all game.”
Lincoln struck first, breaking the ice just 4:43 into the game, and in fact scored on two of their first three shots. Ryan Carmichael flicked a wrist shot from the right point that Phantoms’ netminder Christian Stoever (22 saves) never saw, and the shot found twine, putting the Stars ahead 1-0. Lincoln doubled their lead with a power play goal 40 seconds later. Tristan Ashbrook fired a one-timer from the top of the right circle past Stoever for a 2-0 Stars lead.
Youngstown answered back later in the period with their own pair of quick goals. Trevor Kuntar shoveled a power play goal past Samuel Hlavaj (31 saves) at 13:25 for his 12th of the season, cutting the Lincoln lead in half at 2-1. Matthew Barnaby tied the game 55 seconds later, poking home the rebound of Craig Needham’s shot as the puck sat free in the blue paint.
Lincoln grabbed the lead back 7:35 into the second period on Ashbrook’s second goal of the game, but Joey Abate tied the game for the Phantoms at 13:57, firing a wrister from the right dot over the shoulder of Hlavaj for his ninth of the season, knotting the game at 3-3.
Youngstown grabbed their first lead of the game 5:33 into the third period with a power play goal. Jack Malone’s blind-backhand pass from below the red line to the mouth of the crease found Brett Murray’s stick, and Murray fired it home to give Youngstown a 4-3 lead. They doubled their lead four minutes later when Dalton Messina escaped the penalty box and went on a breakaway, beating Hlavaj with a short-side wrist shot for his fifth goal of the campaign, giving the Phantoms a 5-3 lead. Murray capped off the game with an empty-net goal at 18:44 for his 26th goal of the season. Murray leads the USHL with 26 goals on the season and is one point behind Chicago’s Nick Abruzzese for the overall scoring lead. “Brett is very good, and he’s hard to play against,” said Patterson. “He makes people around him better. He leads by example…he’s been very, very good for us.”
The win allowed the Phantoms to stay in sole possession of third place in the USHL’s Eastern Conference, still two points ahead of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Youngstown wraps up its homestand next weekend with a pair of games Friday and Saturday night against the U17’s. Puck drop both nights is scheduled for 7:05pm Eastern and the games will be broadcast on Western Reserve Radio and HockeyTV.
By the Numbers
Shots – 37
Saves – 22
Power Play – 1/5
Penalty Kill – 2/3
Goals – Abate, Barnaby, Kuntar, Murray (2)
Assists – Barnaby, DeLuca, DeMelis, Dobay, Farrell, MacEachern, Malone (2), Messina (2), Needham, Robertson
YOUNGSTOWN, OH – After the Lincoln Stars tied the game with just under five minutes remaining in the second period, the Youngstown Phantoms (20-16-1-3, 44 points) scored the last three goals of the game to grab a 5-2 victory Friday night at the Covelli Centre.
“We had a little lull where they made it 2-2” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “I liked our pushback after that. I really wouldn’t say push back, I liked us before that, and I liked us after. I thought the guys stuck with the process and they got the result.”
The Phantoms grabbed a 1-0 lead just before the halfway point of the first period. Trevor Kuntar fired a laser of a wrist shot past the shoulder of Samuel Hlavaj (20 saves) at 9:40 for his 11th of the season. Youngstown doubled their lead with a highlight-reel goal from Matthew Barnaby at 10:31 of the second period. Barnaby took a pass from Kuntar in the neutral zone and walked down the slot. Surrounded by a trio of Lincoln defender, he slipped the puck through the legs of Sam Niinisaari, danced around him, caught up to the puck, and lifted a shot over Hlavaj that tucked into the net just under the crossbar to put the Youngstown ahead 2-0. “I had been yelling at Matt before that to shoot the puck,” said Patterson. “We had a laugh about it, it’s nice to be able to do that when it goes in the back of the net.”
Four minutes later, Lincoln struck twice in 50 seconds to tie the game. Josh Lopina forced a backhander past Christian Stoever (18 saves) at 14:31 to cut the Youngstown lead to 2-1. Tristan Ashbrook finshed off a 4-on-2 rush for the Stars to knot the game at 2-2 at 15:21.
Looking for a spark, Coach Patterson did some line jumbling and reunited the “3M” line late in the second, and got instant results. Connor MacEachern picked up a loose puck between the circles and fired it past Hlavaj with just 42.7 seconds left in the period to put Youngstown back in the lead for good at 3-2. The play was made, however, by Jack Malone, who after losing the faceoff in the offensive zone beat his man to the puck behind the cage and kept possession for the Phantoms, creating the play that led to the goal. “Jack wants to be a better player in all 200 feet of the rink,” said Patterson. “He’s gotten better continuously over the course of the year…I’m glad he’s getting rewarded.”
Youngstown added a pair of insurance goals in the third period on redirects from Brett Murray. His first goal of the night came at 7:33, redirecting a shot-pas from Aiden Gallacher to put the Phantoms ahead 4-2. The final tally of the game came at 15:43, when a shot from Liam Dennison was tipped by Liam Robertson in the slot before redirecting again off Murray’s twig at the edge of the crease, giving Murray his 24th goal of the season and the Phantoms a 5-2 lead.
With the victory, Youngstown claimed soul possession of third place in the USHL’s Eastern Conference, two points clear of the Dubuque Fighting Saints and Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. The Phantoms and Stars wrap up their season series tomorrow night at the Covelli Centre with puck drop scheduled for 7:05pm Eastern. The game will be broadcast on Western Reserve Radio and HockeyTV.
By the Numbers
Shots – 25
Saves – 18
Power Play – 1/4
Penalty Kill – 3/3
Goals – Barnaby, Kuntar, MacEachern, Murray (2)
Assists – Abate (2), Dennison, Gallacher (2), Kuntar, Malone (2), Robertson
YOUNGSTOWN, OH. — Four players connected with the Youngstown Phantoms were named to NHL Central Scouting’s Mid-Season Rankings for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
Phantoms’ forward Jack Malone, USHL Affiliate defensemen Jayden Struble & Malik Alishlalov and USHL Affiliate goaltender Dominic Basse have been named to the Central Scouting Mid-Season Rankings for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft..
Phantoms’ forward Jack Malone debuts on this year’s Central Scouting rankings as the #92 rated skater in North America. Jack is fresh off a Gold Medal Winning performance with Team USA in the World Junior A Challenge and followed that up with a strong game at the USHL / NHL Top Prospects Game where he scored a goal for the winning Team West club. In 29 games for the Phantoms this year, Jack has scored 15 goals and added 18 assists for 33 points. “Jack is deserving of all of the recognition he has been receiving lately and the NHL team that drafts Jack Malone will be getting not only an exceptional hockey player, but a fantastic young man,” said Team President Andrew Goldman. Jack Malone will continue his hockey journey next year at Cornell University. Malone was selected by the Phantoms in the 9th round (136th overall) in the 2016 USHL Phase I Draft.
Goaltender Dominic Basse, currently rated #24 among North American Goaltenders, is enrolled at Selects Hockey Academy in Connecticut where he plays for their U18 team. In 29 games, Basse boasts a 17-8-1 record with a 1.56 goals against average, a .931 save percentage and 8 shutouts. “I am thrilled for both Jack (Malone) and Dominic on their well-deserved selections. I am particularly proud that Dominic is not only representing the Phantoms but our very own Team Maryland AAA youth club, having played his youth hockey for our partners at Team Maryland,” said Co-Owner and Managing Partner of the Phantoms, Murry Gunty. “Dominic dressed in a game for the Phantoms earlier this year and we are looking forward to having him join the Phantoms family full time next season.” Basse is committed to play his college hockey at Colorado College following his USHL career. Basse was one of the Phantoms’ three 4th round picks (60th overall) in the 2018 USHL Phase II Draft.
Defenseman Jayden Struble was ranked the #43 rated skater in North America. Struble, who was acquired by Youngstown earlier this season in a September 2018 trade with the Omaha Lancers, currently plays with St. Sebastian’s Prep School in Massachusetts as well as the U18 Boston Jr. Eagles club who will be headed to Midget AAA Nationals in Grand Rapids, MI in April. Committed to Northeastern University, the Phantoms look to add Struble to their club next season and potential games at the end of this season. “Jayden is a tremendous young talent from the blue line, “ stated Phantoms’ General Manager Jason Koehler. “We’ve had the chance to watch Jayden multiple times this year and in the past and he’s certainly one of the most impressive talents not in our league right now – we look forward to Jayden making his debut in purple and orange in the near future.”
University of Connecticut committed defenseman Malik Alishlalov currently ranks as Central Scouting’s #171 ranked skater in North America. Originally from Russia, Alishlalov is currently in his second season in prep hockey at the Westminster School in Connecticut. Alishlalov was the Phantoms’ 23rd round pick (364th overall) in the USHL Phase II Draft in 2017. “Malik has a been one of the most attractive D prospects in the New England area the last two seasons, “ stated Jason Koehler. “His skating, skill, and ability to produce offense from the back end is something that has certainly caught pro scouts’ attention while playing for Westminster and the Neponset Valley River Rats (U18 AAA) this season.”
The United States Hockey League has 72 players with ties to the league in the Central Scouting Mid-Season Rankings, the most players of any league in the world.
YOUNGSTOWN, OH – A four-goal first period for the visiting Cedar Rapids RoughRiders was a hole that the Youngstown Phantoms (16-14-1-3, 36 points) couldn’t dig themselves out of as they found themselves on the short end of a 5-2 final Saturday night at the Covelli Centre.
“Right away tonight I didn’t think we had a lot of intensity, it’s unacceptable” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “You spot a team one or two (goals) and it’s going to be a tough game. You did what we did tonight, it makes for real tough sledding. There was a lot of that game that we need to address, and we need to address quick.”
Cedar Rapids jumped on the Phantoms early, scoring just 85 seconds into the game. Grant Silianoff’s wrist shot from the right circle was initially stopped by Chad Veltri (19 saves), but the shot leaked through Veltri’s pads and settled in the crease. Liam Walsh beat the Phantoms defense to the loose puck and poked it into the cage to put the RoughRiders ahead 1-0. Cedar Rapids got a pair of nearly identical power play goals from Jason Polin at 6:32 and Nathan Smith at 11:46 respectively to go up 3-0, and Ben Almquist’s wrap-around goal at 12:29 capped off the four-goal period for Cedar Rapids.
Youngstown struck twice on the power play in the second period to cut into the lead. Gianfranco Cassaro broke the ice for Youngstown, firing a one-time full slapshot from the right point past Blake Pietila (26 saves) for his seventh goal of the season, putting the Phantoms on the board at 10:27. Connor MacEachern drew Youngstown one closer at 16:00 when his wrist shot from the left circle found the top corner past Pietila’s glove. MacEachern’s 15th goal of the campaign cut the Cedar Rapids lead to 4-2, but the RoughRiders tacked on an insurance goal off the stick of Mitchell Miller 4:59 into the third period to put the game away.
The game wrapped up the season series between Cedar Rapids and Youngstown with each team winning two games in regulation. The Phantoms and RoughRiders currently sit tied with 36 points apiece, but Youngstown’s edge in ROW (regulation + overtime wins) would give the Phantoms an advantage in tie-breaking procedures if the playoffs started today. Youngstown will now hit the road for a five-game road swing, starting with a battle against the Western Conference-leading Tri-City Storm next Friday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:05pm Eastern in Kearney on Friday night and the game will be broadcast on HockeyTV.
By the Numbers
Shots – 28
Saves – 19
Power Play – 2/4
Penalty Kill – 3/5
Goals – Cassaro, MacEachern
Assists – DeMelis, Dennison, Kuntar, Malone
YOUNGSTOWN, OH – The Youngstown Phantoms (16-13-1-3, 36 points) put on an impressive defensive performance Friday night at the Covelli Centre, holding an opponent to one goal-or-fewer for just the third time this season as they knocked off the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders by a score of 2-1.
“I thought it was a muddy game kind of both ways,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “I don’t know if that was because of the defensive effort on both sides, but I really like how we rebounded in the second period. I thought in the first we were reluctant to put pucks behind their ‘D’. We were just settling for being in the right position, and at this stage (of the season) you have to have pressure on the puck, and it felt like as the game went, we got much better.”
Despite the timid play in the first, Youngstown did manage to grab an early lead, striking 72 seconds into the contest. Trevor Kuntar threw a pass from the right corner to the front of the crease and Craig Needham deflected it past Troy Kobryn (18 saves) for his 10th goal of the year, putting the Phantoms on top. “Craig plays the right way all the time,” said Patterson. “He’s not that ‘wow’ guy offensively, but at the end of the day he does all those little things that need to be done in a hockey game and he often goes unnoticed, so I’m very happy that he’s showing up on the scoresheet. He’s a leader in our room and really drives the bus for us.”
A Nathan Smith powerplay goal tied the game for Cedar Rapids at 6:53 of the first, and it remained tied until the Phantoms struck for another early-period goal. Just 49 seconds into the second period, with the Phantoms on the penalty kill, Gianfranco Cassaro stole the puck in his own end and cleared it down ice right to Kobryn. Kobyrn tried a breakout pass, but ended up throwing it right to Cassaro, who ended the Cedar Rapids zone and loosed a wrister from the top of the left circle, beating Kobryn over the right shoulder for his sixth goal of the year, this one shorthanded, putting Youngstown ahead for good. “(Gianfranco) isn’t afraid to shoot it,” said Patterson. “That’s a thing that coaches love: he loves to pull the trigger, and often when it does it ends up in the back of the net.”
The Youngstown defense held firm for the remaining 39:11 of game action, backstopped by Christian Stoever’s 24 saves. Brett Murray saw his 14-game point streak snapped by failing to get on the scoresheet. Murray had a chance late in the third with Kobryn on the bench for the extra attacker and an empty net in front of him, but Murray’s pass to Jack Malone was broken up by the Cedar Rapids defense, denying the scoring chance.
Youngstown and Cedar Rapids wrap up their season series Saturday night at the Covelli Centre with an earlier start time of 5:05pm due the complications presented by Winter Storm Harper. Youngstown currently holds a 2-1 season series lead over the RoughRiders, so Saturday’s game could be a key tie-breaking moment come playoff time as the Phantoms and RoughRiders are currently neck-and-neck in the standings. Broadcasts of the game will be available on Western Reserve Radio and HockeyTV. Be sure to stay tuned to YoungstownPhantoms.com and all of the Phantoms’ social media accounts for any further updates on the status of Saturday’s game.
By the Numbers
Shots – 20
Saves – 24
Power Play – 0/2
Penalty Kill – 3/4
Goals – Needham, Cassaro
Assists – Holtz, Kuntar