November 1, 2012 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - Youngstown Phantoms
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - The streak is over. No more. Done. Kaput.
For the first time in nearly a month, the Youngstown Phantoms skated off the ice two points higher in the USHL standings than they were at the start of the day. Despite seeing the visiting Indiana Ice tie the game three times - twice in the third period - the Phantoms never waivered secure the 6-5 win and snap a seven-game skid.
Todd Koritzinsky scored the eventual game-winner in the third period, just 34 seconds after the Ice had erased a two-goal deficit. The second-year forward collected the puck at the top of the right circle and patiently waited for Indiana defenseman Joe Fiala to commit before firing a low wrist shot through his legs, and goaltender Dalton Izyk's, to put Youngstown in front for good with 9:49 remaining in regulation.
Tommy Davis, Sam Anas, JT Stenglein, Luke Stork and John Padulo also chipped in with goals for the Phantoms (5-7-0, 10 points), who won their first game since Oct. 6. Affiliate defenseman Matt Nuttle recorded a pair of assists in his first career USHL game while goaltender Sean Romeo made 13 saves to capture his third win.
"Something we've talked about as a team all year is to control what you can control," Korizinsky said. "When things aren't going your way or when they score a goal, you've got to keep your head up. You can't go back in time. You've got to stick to it - stick to working. I think that's what everyone did tonight."
Phantoms winger Markus McCrea was whistled for a five-minute boarding major on the first shift of the game and Drew Smolcynski capitalized on the ensuing man-advantage, beating Romeo with a point shot through traffic to put the Ice (3-10-1, 7 points) in front 4:51 into the contest.
Koritzinsky nearly knotted it up for the Phantoms in the opening minutes of the second when he pounced on a rebound, but he rang the puck off the crossbar. Minutes later Anas found himself in a similar situation with the puck in the slot and Iyzk in the butterfly, but this time the Potomac, Md., Quinnipiac recruit calmly stashed it right beneath the bar to tie the game up at the 3:50 mark.
Three minutes later, Davis put the Phantoms in front on the power play when he snapped a shot from the point the Iyzk could not handle. The goal was the first of Davis' USHL career and snapped a 0-for-39 drought for Youngstown on the man-advantage.
"Our power play's been struggling, so to get that one, it was big for our confidence," Davis said. "Coach [Brad] Patterson had the "D' working on getting shots through traffic - changing the angle - this week and I think it benefitted."
Joshua Shellman made it a 2-2 game with three minutes remaining in the second when he beat Romeo with a low shot on an odd-man rush. But with just 21 seconds left in the period, Stenglein won a race to the puck off the draw and fired a blind shot from the top of the right circle that beat Iyzk high to give Youngstown the lead heading into the final period.
Smolcynski netted his second of the night 2:27 into the third when he finished off a 2-on-1 rush. But Stork put the Phantoms back in front a minute later. Nuttle gathered the puck at his blue line and threaded a pass across the neutral zone for Eric Sweetman who threw it to Stork in the slot for the put away. Padulo made it 5-3 on a power play two minutes later when he rifled in a rebound from the left circle.
Indiana, however, would not go down easy. Rinat Valiev fired a shot past Romeo right off an offensive-zone draw to cut the lead in half and then Smolcynski completed his hat trick with a power-play tally with 9:37 remaining.
Nuttle was again the catalyst for the go-ahead goal on the following shift when he hit Stenglein with a headman pass through the neutral zone to spur an odd-man rush and Koritzinsky capped it off. After the win, head coach Anthony Noreen said he was proud of the way his team responded each time the Ice managed to even things up.
"I just like the way we played our game tonight," Noreen said. "I think we did a great job of sticking to the process. Even on their chances, I don't think there was a lull or us trying to sit back and protect the lead. We stayed aggressive."
Phantoms by the Numbers
Shots - 30
Saves - 13
Power Play - 2-for-2
Penalty Kill - 1-for-3
Goals - Anas, Davis, Koritzinsky, Padulo, Stenglein, Stork
Assists - Anas, Austin Cangelosi, Jimmy Mazza, Nuttle (2), Stenglein (2), Stork (2), Sweetman (2)
Next on the Slate
After wrapping up October with a win at home, Youngstown opens up the November schedule with a pair of road games in Green Bay. The Phantoms face the defending Clark Cup champion Gamblers Friday and Saturday at 8:05 p.m. EST.
Season tickets for the 2012-13 season are on sale now starting at the low price of just $7 a game. Benefits include invitations to exclusive season ticket holder events, discounts at the Phantoms Team Shop, playoff priority and much more. Call 330.747.PUCK (7825) for more information or to reserve seats today. For all the latest news, visit www.YoungstownPhantoms.com, follow the Phantoms on Twitter ( @YtownPhantoms ) and "like' them on Facebook ( www.Facebook.com/YoungstownPhantoms ).