Dexter's goal rescues Phantoms in shootout
Mahoning Valley's home opener is Friday at the Ice Zone.
ALPENA, Mich. -- Brent Dexter scored the game-winning goal in an overtime shootout Saturday as the Mahoning Valley Phantoms defeated first-place Alpena, 5-4.
Goalie Ryan Zapolski stopped seven of nine shootout attempts as the Phantoms outscored the Ice Diggers, 3-2, in the shootout.
The Phantoms (8-7-1) return to the Ice Zone in Boardman, for the their home opener against the Traverse City North Stars on Friday at 7 p.m.
"We're starting to come around," Phantoms coach Bob Mainhardt said. "We have a fourth of the season behind us and we can now focus on this weekend."
Two minutes into the game, Janis Purins' goal gave the Phantoms a 1-0 lead. Eric Roman tied the game on a powerplay goal.
After Alpena scored twice, the Phantoms reduced the advantage to 3-2 after two periods.
Trailing 4-2 in the third period, the Phantoms rallied with less than five minutes remaining. After Dustin Cloutier scored on a backhander, Miles Winter tied the game 39 seconds later to force overtime.
Alpena and the Phantoms each threw four shots on net in the five-minute extra session, but neither could convert, leading to the shootout.
After Dexter scored, Zapolski stopped Marco Ruggeri's attempt to extend the shootout.
"They sent a lot of left-handed shooters at me [during the shootout], which made it a little more difficult since I catch with my left hand," Zapolski said. "I made a couple adjustments and it helped."
Zapolski has stopped 23 of 27 shootout attempts this season for a save percentage of .852, which ranks third in the NAHL. The Phantoms raise their record to 2-1 in shootout competition.
Mahoning Valley was outshot 36-31. On the power play, the Phantoms were 0 for 3 while the Ice Diggers finished 2 for 7.
Tickets for Friday's home opener are on sale at the Ice Zone located at 360 McClurg Road. Fans may call (330) 965-7500 for more information.