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Three-Goal Third Lifts Phantoms over Steel 5-2

January 24, 2021 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - Youngstown Phantoms News Release

YOUNGSTOWN, OH - Going toe-to-toe with the USHL's heavyweight for the first 40 minutes, the Youngstown Phantoms (5-13-0-1, 11 points) broke through with a three-goal third period that lifted them over the Chicago Steel 5-2 at the Covelli Centre Saturday night. The victory snapped a five-game winless streak for the season and an eight-game losing streak against the Steel dating back to November 1, 2019.

"(The win) is big for us, we've really fought it, and I think our record indicates that," said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. "It's frustrating from that sense, but for the players to see what they're capable of (by winning tonight) is huge."

Youngstown and Chicago traded goals in the first period, both coming in the final five minutes. Reilly Funk got Youngstown on the board first with a redirect goal at 15:23 of the first period. "I just parked myself in front of the net like I usually do," said Funk. "Furey put a nice one to tip, I just grabbed it and tipped it in. It was a good first one." The Steel tied it on a Matt Coronato power play goal at 19:17. It was the 18th of the season for the USHL's leading scorer, who got back on the scoresheet after being held off it Friday night.

The two teams traded goals again in the second period. Erik Middendorf scored a 5-on-3 power play goal at 7:49 to give Chicago a 2-1 lead, but the Phantoms answered back just under seven minutes later at 14:43. Georgii Merkulov potted his team-leading ninth of the season, sneaking a sharp angle shot through Nick Haas (16 saves), leveling the game at 2-2 at the second intermission.

The Phantoms grabbed the lead early in the third and never let off the gas pedal. Winter Wallace finished a 2-on-1 with Jaden Grant 2:33 into the final frame to give Youngstown a 3-2 lead. Yusaku Ando broke an 18-game goalless streak with his redirect goal at 6:29, and Cole Burtch capped off the night with a power play goal at 12:36.

It was a penalty-filled affair, with Youngstown accumulating 58 penalty minutes and Chicago racking up 31. The Steel were 2-for-5 on the power play while Youngstown was 1-for-4. Each team had a 5-on-3 advantage of at least 60 seconds, but only Chicago was able to cash in on theirs. The game featured two different occasions where fighting majors were handed out. "We obviously don't like each other, these two teams," joked Funk. "Any time you play a team two, three, four times in a row, you're going to see tempers flare a little bit," added Patterson. "Tomorrow we have to come out and put our best foot forward. Our message to our guys is about consistency on our end and what we're going to do. Hopefully that puts us in the right direction." Youngstown and Chicago wrap up their three-game series tomorrow afternoon at the Covelli Centre with a 4:05pm puck drop.

By the Numbers

Shots - 21

Saves - 18

Power Play - 1/4

Penalty Kill - 3/5

Goals - Ando, Burtch, Funk, Merkulov, Wallace

Assists - Duran (2), Funk, Furey (2), Grant, Silich, Wallace, Zmolek

Box Score -

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