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 Youngstown Phantoms

Phantoms Lose Lead Late, Fall 4-3 to Madison

March 29, 2024 - United States Hockey League (USHL)
Youngstown Phantoms News Release

Youngstown, OH - The Youngstown Phantoms (28-19-5-4, 65pts) clinched an Eastern Conference playoff spot Friday night and will be able to defend their Clark Cup title in the post season. Unfortunately, they could not celebrate the accomplishment with a win as they fumbled away a two-goal lead late before falling in overtime 4-3 at the hands of the Madison Capitols. Phantoms Head Coach Ryan Ward liked what he saw from his team for majority of the game, just wants them to finish.

"That's a game you can't lose," Ward said. "I thought we dominated the entire game; we out shot them 45-28. I thought we were good tonight; we just didn't play a full 60 and that's a good lesson for us today. You have to play 60 minutes."

It was all Youngstown early in the first period. A Madison roughing penalty gave the Phantoms a man advantage, leading to Phantoms captain Andrew Strathmann firing a wrister past Patriks Berzins, cashing in on the power play at 6:31. At 16:44, A Phantoms defenseman mistakenly kicked the puck into his own net on a penalty kill, tying the score at 1-1. Rainers Rullers was credited with the goal for the Capitols.

Despite Youngstown dominating the second period, the 1-1 tie remained on the scoreboard. The Phantoms held a 19-5 shot lead in the period, but couldn't find a way to beat Berzins. Each team successfully killed a penalty in the period.

The dominant play continued for the Phantoms early in the final frame. Grant Young gave Youngstown back the lead at 7:02 after he connected on the Phantoms second power play goal of the night when he sent a one-timer past Berzins for his 15th of the year. Not long after, Ryan Botterill tied Adam Pietila for the team lead in points when he put home a rebound, giving the Phantoms a 3-1 lead at 11:49. The two-goal deficit did not scare off the Capitols, as they scored two in the final 45 seconds to force overtime. With Berzins on the bench for the extra attacker, Max Nagel cut the lead to one at 19:15 by slipping a rebound behind Aiden Wright. After controlling the ensuing faceoff and getting Berzins back to the bench, the Capitols found an equalizer off the stick of Shawn Ramsey, who tied the game at 3 with just 19.1 seconds left in regulation.

Overtime was back and forth early, with Youngstown getting the better of the play as the bonus period wound on, but it was Andrew Kuzma's one timer with 6.6 seconds left before the shootout that gave Madison the 4-3 win.

Wright had another stellar performance in net for the Phantoms, stopping 24 of 28 on the night. Berzins denied 40 of 43 for the Capitols.

Both teams clinched playoff berths on the night. Youngstown is one point ahead of Madison for the 4-seed in the Eastern Conference, which would come with hosting a home playoff series in the opening round against the 5-seed.

The Phantoms host Madison again tomorrow night at the Covelli Centre. Puck drop is slated for 7:05.

By the Numbers

Shots - 43

Saves - 24

Power Play - 2/3

Penalty Kill - 2/3

Goals - Botterill, Strathmann, Young

Assists - Boumedienne, Burchill, Cerrato, Jencko, Lewis, Osburn

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United States Hockey League Stories from March 29, 2024

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