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Phantoms Open Season with Comeback Win over Dubuque

November 9, 2020 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - Youngstown Phantoms News Release

DUBUQUE, IA - Cole Burtch's power play goal with 2:24 left in regulation completed a comeback for the Youngstown Phantoms (1-0-0-0, 2 points), vaulting them past the Dubuque Fighting Saints 5-3 Saturday night at the Mystique Community Ice Arena.

Twelve seconds into Youngstown's fifth power play of the game, Georgii Merkulov drew the defense and the goalie towards him in the slot and passed to Burtch, whose one-timer from the right circle found twine and put Youngstown ahead 4-3. The goal was Burtch's second of the game and first power play goal for the Phantoms in four attempts on the evening. Beginning the final frame trailing 3-2, the tying goal came courtesy of Merkulov sweeping home a rebound at 7:27.

Twenty-six seconds after the go-ahead goal, Riley Duran was called for high sticking, putting the Phantoms on the penalty kill. Dubuque netminder Aidan McCarthy headed to the bench with 1:13 left in regulation to give the Fighting Saints a 6-on-4 man power advantage. The Phantoms' defense clamped down however, blocking several shots. Many of those shot blocks were by Will Hillman, who was able to gather in a puck and whip it down the ice into the empty net to put Youngstown ahead by the final margin of 5-3. Youngstown was a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill, including a five-minute major kill in the first period.

Dubuque grabbed the lead with three straight goals in the second period. Entering the frame trailing 2-0, the Saints received tallies from Michael Feenstra at 5:21 on a slap shot from the top of the circles, Thomas Middleton at 7:40 on a shot from the left wall that deflected in off a Phantoms' skate, and Evan Stella at 18:54 during a net-front scramble. A couple of sparkling saves from Phantoms goaltender Mattias Sholl (24 saves) during the second period helped keep Youngstown close and earned Sholl his first USHL victory.

Youngstown grabbed an early 2-0 lead, scoring twice in nineteen seconds 3:26 into the game. The season opening goal game courtesy of Burtch, who deflected Kyle Furey's point shot past McCarthy at 3:07. Off the ensuing faceoff, a lazy pass by Dubuque in their own end fluttered right to the stick of Brad Marek. Marek took two strides and then ripped a shot past McCarthy low to the blocker side at 3:26.

Youngstown is slated to return to Dubuque next Saturday in between matches against the Green Bay Gamblers on Friday and Sunday.

By the Numbers

Shots - 25

Saves - 24

Power Play - 1/4

Penalty Kill - 5/5

Goals - Burtch (2), Hillman, Marek, Merkulov

Assists - Brown, Burtch, Furey, Isogai, Merkulov, Mesic

Box Score -

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