YOUNGSTOWN, OH – Willie Knierim’s goal 4:17 into the first overtime gave the Dubuque Fighting Saints a 3-2 victory and a series sweep over the Youngstown Phantoms, ending their season after Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Tuesday night at the Covelli Centre.
“As disappointing as it is right now, I really liked our game,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “I felt we deserved it, but at the end of the day (Dubuque) did a great job.”
Youngstown opened the scoring at 8:18 of the first period. Liam Roberston deflected home Gianfranco Cassaro’s backhander from the point to put Youngstown ahead 1-0. It stayed that way until 20 seconds into the third period when Dallas Tulik put home the rebound of a Matias Maccelli shot to tie the game at 1-1.
The Phantoms retook the lead on a bouncing puck that was whacked into the net by Josh DeLuca, but the Fighting Saints had the magic formula again, tying the game at 14:46. Logan Pietila poked home a loose puck in the crease for a powerplay goal, knotting the game at 2-2, setting the stage for overtime. Pietila’s goal broke a string of 35 straight penalties killed by Youngstown.
In the extra period, a clearing attempt was stolen by Maccelli. He dropped it back to Tulik, who fired a quick pass to the bottom of the right circle, off Knierim’s skates and into the net for the game-winning goal.
“You think about all the goals that were scored tonight they were all in that muddy area of the ice, and that’s the expectation in the playoffs,” said Patterson. “It’s tough to reflect on tonight because there’s so many emotions that go along with it…the bond the guys have is something special”
Youngstown has never won a playoff series in which they’ve faced an elimination game and drops to 4-3 in home elimination games. The Phantoms overall playoff record has now dropped below .500 to 18-19. These two games were also the first time all season that Youngstown lost a game in regulation after holding a lead entering the third period. Dubuque will advance to play Muskegon in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, beginning at LC Walker Arena this weekend.
By the Numbers
Shots – 32
Saves – 22
Power Play – 0/5
Penalty Kill – 4/5
Goals – DeLuca, Robertson
Assists – Amonte, Cassaro, Jenson, Urup
YOUNGSTOWN, OH – The Youngstown Phantoms find themselves on the brink of elimination after the first game of the Clark Cup Playoffs as they dropped Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals to the Dubuque Fighting Saints 3-1 at the Covelli Centre Monday night.
“By no means do you think you’re going to walk through a series unscathed,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “It’s a series for a reason, it’s not one game…I liked our energy, but I don’t think our execution was as good as it will be or what it can be.”
After a scoreless first period, Youngstown finally broke the ice just past the halfway point of the second period. Brett Murray stole a puck in the left corner of the Dubuque end and from just above the goal line, snapped a shot over the shoulder of Matt Thiessen (16 saves) to give the Phantoms a 1-0 lead.
Bram Scheerer tied the game for the Fighting Saints 1:58 into the third period. Sheerer drove down left wing and managed to sneak a wrist shot between Chad Veltri (27 saves) and the short-side post, tying the game at 1-1. Dylan Jackson put Dubuque ahead 2-1 at the 11:32 mark. Riese Gaber carried the puck down the right side and wrapped around the Phantoms net, throwing a pass to Jackson who was parked at the mouth of the crease. Jackson chipped the puck over Veltri and into the cage to put the Fighting Saints ahead.
Youngstown had a big opportunity to tie the game just over two minutes later as Gaber and Jackson were assessed coincidental penalties on the same play, giving the Phantoms a full two minutes of 5-on-3 advantage to try to tie the game. Youngstown could not score on the opportunity and remained down a goal. “I thought they did a good job of staying in lanes,” said Patterson. “We were trying to get some movement and they did a good job of holding the fort and staying in those shot lanes. When we did execute and get it down low for a little bit of a 2-on-1 we have a bobbled puck and can’t connect.” Derek Contessa added an empty net goal with 31.6 seconds left in regulation to make up the final margin.
“The message is ‘we can think about it, we can be mad about it, we can be frustrated about it for five or six minutes, but at the end of the day tomorrow’s going to come sooner or later, and tomorrow that’s the only thing we can change,” concluded Patterson.
Tonight was Dubuque’s first playoff win at the Covelli Centre in five opportunities. Youngstown will try to keep their season alive against these same Fighting Saints tomorrow night at the Covelli Centre. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05pm Eastern and the game will be broadcast on HockeyTV and Western Reserve Radio.
By the Numbers
Shots – 17
Saves – 27
Power Play – 0/3
Penalty Kill – 3/3
Goals – Murray
Assists – Urup
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The Youngstown Phantoms will open the playoffs at home against the Dubuque Fighting Saints, Monday, April 15th at 7:05 PM, for Game 1 of the best of 3 series.
Game 2 will be Tuesday, April 16th at 7:05 PM. And if necessary Game 3 will be Wednesday, April 17th at 7:05 PM.
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YOUNGSTOWN, OH – A three-goal second period helped boost the Youngstown Phantoms (36-21-1-4, 77 points) to a 4-1 win over the United States National Team Development Program’s U17 squad Saturday night at the Covelli Centre.
“I thought it was a good game,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “I thought we got better as time went, really started to wear them down if you will. (Team USA is) a heck of a hockey team…that’s a really good club, so I’m proud of our guys for showing up, and we’re going to need that again on Monday.”
Team USA scored their only goal of the night just before the halfway point of the first period. After a turnover just inside their own blueline, the Nationals broke back down the ice in a 4-on-2 rush towards the Youngstown end. Puck carrier Hunter McKown dropped a pass for the trailer Owen Gallatin, and Gallatin snapped a wrister past the blocker of Chad Veltri (25 saves) to give the NTDP a 1-0 lead 9:38 into the first period.
Youngstown tied the game on Gianfranco Cassaro’s powerplay goal at the 4:21 of the second period. Cassaro’s wrist shot from the left circle tucked just under the crossbar and past the glove of Drew Commesso (23 saves) to tie the game. Matt DeMelis gave the Phantoms the lead for good at 12:17, sneaking behind the USA defense and beating Commesso with a backhand-forehand deke. Brett Murray rounded out his record-setting regular season and secured the USHL’s goal scoring crown with his 41st goal of the season at 17:55, giving Youngstown a 3-1 lead at the end of the second period. Connor MacEachern sneaked a 20-foot backhander through Commesso’s five hole at 9:50 of the third period to round out the scoring.
A win and a regulation loss by the Chicago Steel would have moved the Phantoms into second place in the USHL’s Eastern Conference and earned them a first-round bye, but the Steel knocked off the Muskegon Lumberjacks 8-1, keeping Youngstown in the third spot and matching them up with the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Game One of the best-of-three series will be Monday April 15 at the Covelli Centre at 7:05pm Eastern. Game Two will be Tuesday April 16 at 7:05pm Eastern, and Game Three, if necessary, will be Wednesday April 17 at 7:05pm Eastern. All games will be broadcast on HockeyTV and Western Reserve Radio.
By the Numbers
Shots – 27
Saves – 25
Power Play – 1/5
Penalty Kill – 6/6
Goals – Cassaro, DeMelis, MacEachern, Murray
Assists – Abate, MacEachern (2), Malone, Messina, Murray, Schoen, Urup
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YOUNGSTOWN, OH – After a lackluster performance Friday night, the Youngstown Phantoms (34-21-1-4, 73 points) bounced back in a big way Saturday night, shutting out the Sioux Falls Stampede 3-0 at the Covelli Centre.
“Night and day when you make a comparison to last night,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “We were frustrated after the game (last night) because we knew we could correct it. We knew we could be better in different areas, and those areas we were: we were simple, we moved our feet, we hunted pucks, and those were areas of our game last night I thought we were stagnant.”
Youngstown opened the scoring at 8:36 of the first period. Dalton Messina put home his own rebound for his ninth goal of the season, giving the Phantoms a 1-0 lead. “Dalton’s been great,” said Patterson. “He’s a leader by nature. He’s hard to play against. He chips in offensively.”
Sioux Falls almost tied the game a few minutes later while Messina was in the box for roughing, one of eight penalties that Phantoms had to kill on the night, but just as the puck started to trickle across the goal line, Youngstown netminder Christian Stoever reached out with his left glove and pulled it back, keeping the Phantoms in the lead. Stoever recorded 27 saves while recording his first shutout in the USHL. “It’s a great feeling to have when you can put either goalie in the net and know you’re going to get a (great) performance,” said Patterson. “I’m really happy for Christian he’s been battling really hard. It shows the work he’s put in. It shows the confidence our guys have in him when we needed him. Pivotal saves at pivotal times for us. I’m very, very happy for him.”
The Phantoms doubled their lead in the final minute of the second period. With Liam Robertson in the box for high sticking, the Phantoms got a clear down to the Sioux Falls end. Starting goaltender Alec Calvaruso (17 saves) stopped the puck behind his net, but Brett Murray came in from the strong side, stole the puck from Calvaruso, and wrapped it into the net before Calvaruso could get back into position. The shorthanded goal came with 30.4 seconds left in the second and gave Youngstown a 2-0 lead. The goal was Murray’s 40th, making him the first Phantoms to accrue 40 goals in a season as he continues to stretch out his ownership of the team record for most goals in a season. Calvaruso was shaken up on the play and would not return.
The final goal of the night came off the stick of Gianfranco Cassaro. Cassaro blasted a one-timer off the crossbar and in for his eight goal of the season, beating backup goaltender Jaxson Stauber (7 saves) at 16:06 of the third period.
The victory allowed Youngstown to gain ground on second place Chicago, who lost to Dubuque this evening, as well as keep pace with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Cedar Rapids downed the Anderson Cup-champion Tri-City Storm, and still have a game in hand on the Phantoms. Both teams are tied with 73 points as the season heads to its final week and trail Chicago by just one point.
Youngstown wraps up their regular season with a home-and-home series against the U17’s, starting in Plymouth Friday night before concluding the regular season at home on Saturday. Puck drop at USA Hockey Arena is scheduled for 7:00pm Eastern Friday night, and the game will be broadcast on HockeyTV.
By the Numbers
Shots – 27
Saves – 27
Power Play – 0/4
Penalty Kill – 8/8
Goals – Cassaro, Messina, Murray
Assists – Dobay, MacEachern, Malone, Needham
YOUNGSTOWN, OH – One goal was all the offense the Youngstown Phantoms (33-21-1-4, 71 points) were able to muster on Friday night, but the Sioux Falls Stampede got a pair of goals from Carl Berglund and 17 saves from Alec Calvaruso as part of a 4-1 win for the visitors at the Covelli Centre.
“I thought (Sioux Falls) hunted pucks,” said Phantoms head coach Brad Patterson. “I thought they touched first a lot. Those little things that we talk about all the time that we build our team on, I felt (Sioux Falls) won that battle tonight.”
Youngstown did get on the board first, scoring a powerplay goal 3:58 into the game. Ben Schoen found some space between the circles and snapped a wrist shot past Calvaruso for his fifth goal of the season, giving the Phantoms a 1-0 lead. “Ben has been great,” said Patterson. “I really like the fact that he’s firing pucks whereas at the start of the year I think he’s maybe looking to pass a little bit more, and he’s tremendous at that, but I just filtering pucks towards the net you’re going to get rewarded.” Schoen’s goal, however, was just one of three Youngstown shots for the entire first period, a frame that saw the Phantoms get outshot 13-3.
Sioux Falls tied the game before the end of the period on Jared Westcott’s tap-in at 17:13, and took the lead on Berglund’s first of the game at 5:46 of the second period. Berglund beat Youngstown netminder Chad Veltri (24 saves) with a wrist shot from the left circle just as time expired on a 4-on-4, giving Berglund credit for a shorthanded goal. Berglund scored again just 29 seconds into the third period. Berglund’s shot from between the circles was initially blocked by Nikolai Jenson, but the shot ramped up Jenson’s stick into the air and fell over Veltri’s shoulder into the net. Veltri had come five feet out of the crease to challenge Berglund’s shot and fell victim to the lucky bounce. Sioux Falls added a fourth goal when Blake Bride scored on the empty net with 29.3 seconds remaining in regulation.
The loss cost Youngstown the opportunity to separate themselves from the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders for third place in the USHL’s Eastern Conference, as Cedar Rapids also lost so both teams remain tied with 71 points apiece. The Phantoms also lost the opportunity to remain within a point of the Chicago Steel, who were victorious tonight. Sioux Falls benefitted from the victory and the Waterloo Black Hawks’ loss to Chicago and moved into second place in the Western Conference. Youngstown and Sioux Falls wrap up their series tomorrow night at the Covelli Centre. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05pm Eastern and the game will be broadcast on HockeyTV and Western Reserve Radio.
By the Numbers
Shots – 17
Saves – 24
Power Play – 1/6
Penalty Kill – 6/6
Goals – Schoen
Assists – MacEachern, Murray