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Phantoms Fall to U18's 4-3 in Overtime

January 31, 2021 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - Youngstown Phantoms News Release

YOUNGSTOWN, OH - Despite scoring the first three goals of the game, the Youngstown Phantoms (6-14-2-1, 15 points) fell to Team USA 4-3 in overtime Sunday night at the Covelli Centre.

"You play the same team three times in a row, tempers are going to flare, gives you that playoff-like environment," said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. "I know special teams played a big part in that, I would have liked to have seen more five-on-five, but I know there's two clubs in (the locker room) that are extremely tired. Tough to come away with only three points (this weekend), but I think we made steps."

Youngstown opened the scoring 12:33 into the first period. Sergei Kuznetzov put home the rebound of Bayard Hall's shot for his first USHL goal to give the Phantoms an early advantage. "The message through Georgii Merkulov (translating into Russian) was 'hey, we're going to ease you into things.' This is his first time to North America, and I thought he really adjusted well. You can tell he's played a high level (of hockey), and I thought he got more comfort as the weekend went."

Jack Malone doubled the Youngstown lead at 14:58, converting on a penalty shot. Malone was hauled down on a breakaway and awarded the free attack on Tommy Aitken (19 saves). Malone came down the middle of the ice and used a backhand deke to open up Aitken's five-hole, and Malone slipped the puck into the net for his third goal of the season and a 2-0 Youngstown lead. Malone has 93 points in his USHL career, moving him into a tie with Trevor Kuntar and Mike Ambrosia for sixth place on the Phantoms' all-time scoring list.

The Phantoms increased their lead at 8:10 of the second. Just after a penalty kill, Jack Silich picked up a puck in his own end, blazed down the left side of the ice, and snapped a wrister from just above the faceoff dot past Aitken for his fourth goal of the season and a 3-0 Youngstown lead.

Team USA answered back with a vengeance just over two minutes later. A 5-on-3 power play goal from Sean Behrens found its way to the twine at 10:32 to get the NTDP on the board. Just over two minutes later, a blatant non-call gave USA the opportunity for a shorthanded goal that they cashed in on. Ryan St. Louis kicked the legs out from Malone at the left point, allowing Luke Hughes to slide the loose puck ahead to Justin Janicke. Jacnicke carried ahead into the Youngstown zone in a 2-on-1, but chose to shoot and snapped a wrister past Mattias Sholl (38 saves) for a shorthanded goal, trimming the Phantoms' lead to 3-2. Liam Gilmartin exited the penalty box and scored on the shift after the power play ended for Youngstown to tie the game for Team USA. With Gilmartin's goal coming at 14:01, the NTDP scored three goals in 3:29.

Patterson used his time out after the tying goal for USA, and the Phantoms settled down for the rest of the period and a scoreless third, sending the game to overtime. Gilmartin cashed in on a redirect from the mouth of the crease at 2:42 of the extra frame on a pretty pass from Caden Brown to give USA the victory.

The Phantoms wrapped up their six-game homestand with a 2-2-2 record and will hit the road for the next five, beginning with a 3-in-3 this Thursday night in Dubuque.

By the Numbers

Shots - 22

Saves - 38

Power Play - 0/3

Penalty Kill - 5/6

Goals - Kuznetzov, Malone, Silich

Assists - Gratton, Hall, Hindman

Box Score -

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