November 24, 2012 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - Youngstown Phantoms
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - For 120 minutes this weekend, Youngstown Phantoms goaltender Sean Romeo was perfect. After capturing his first career USHL shutout Friday night, the third-year netminder smothered Team USA again Saturday night, saving all 24 shots thrown his way to backstop the Phantoms to a 3-0 win.
Austin Cangelosi, Josh Nenadal and Sam Anas all notched goals for the Phantoms (9-11-0, 18 points), who swept the weekend series with Team USA (5-10-1, 11 points) and claimed their fourth win in a row.
Head coach Anthony Noreen said the wins were a product of a team effort, but whenever his teammates needed him to step up, Romeo more than obliged.
"Sean made big saves throughout the game," Noreen said. "When it was 1-0 he stopped a 2-on-1. When it was 2-0, he stopped a breakaway and when it was 3-0, he stopped a partial breakaway.
"He had a lot to do with our team's demeanor. I think our guys fed off of him - just how calm and confident he was back there all weekend, really."
Cangelosi struck first for the Phantoms less than five minutes into the opening period. John Padulo hit him in stride barreling through the neutral zone and the Boston College recruit blew past the National Team defenders. Cangelosi came in alone goal faked the backhand before cutting forehand and lifting it over netminder Eric Schierhorn.
"I figured I was going backhand until the last second, when I saw the goalie cheating," Cangelosi said.
Cangelosi' goal sent hundreds of stuffed animals flying onto the ice for the Phantoms' Teddy Bear Toss to benefit the Marine Corps' Toys For Tots program.
Team USA had its best chance to get on the board on a 2-on-1 with eight minutes remaining in the period. Dylan Larkin took a low shot that kicked right onto Blake Christensen's stick and he fired it high, but from the seat of his pants, Romeo stretched out and snagged it with the glove.
"It was actually a bad rebound on my part but I kind of followed off my pad," Romeo said. "I was able to get a good push over there and it just hit me. I think it probably looked better than it was."
Nenadal put the Phantoms up 2-0 on the penalty kill at the 14:23 mark in the second period. Alexander Dahl gathered the puck off a turnover and fed it to Nenadal streaking down the right-wing wall. The Brecksville, Ohio native got a step on the defenseman and came in on Schierhorn, who laid out to make the initial save, but left the puck uncovered in the crease. Nenadal quickly doubled back to grab the puck and lifted it up over the outstretched goaltender and into the gaping net.
"Josh is a guy that does so many things - little things in the dirty areas that you don't always get to see on ice," Noreen said. "It was great to see him get rewarded with his first goal."
The Phantoms capped off the scoring on power play 8:19 left to play in the third. Padulo fed Anas in the corner and he fired the puck across the crease for Cangelosi on the backdoor, but it ricocheted off a U.S. defenseman's stick and right through Schierhorn's legs to give Romeo a three-goal cushion, which was proved to be much more than enough.
Despite outscoring Team USA 9-0 over the two games, Noreen was anything but content after Saturday night's contest. Instead, the second-year bench boss lamented the fact that, thanks to a quirk in the USHL schedule, his team will have to wait 12 days before its next game.
"Obviously I wish we played again tomorrow," Noreen said. "Having said that, we've got to take advantage of this time and use it to heal up some bumps and bruises, as well as some areas of our game that we need to sharpen up."
Phantoms by the Numbers
Shots - 35
Saves - 24
Power Play - 1-for-5
Penalty Kill - 4-for-4
Goals - Anas, Cangelosi, Nenadal
Assists - Connor, Dahl, Padulo (2)
Next on the Slate
The Phantoms are off next weekend but will return to action when the take on the Eastern Conference-leading Dubuque Fighting Saints Friday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8 in Iowa, and the Chicago Steel Sunday Dec. 9 in Illinois.
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 ).