Wakeup call fails to fix Phantoms

By Jon Moffett

Rich Young scored the only goal for Youngstown, which lost 5-1 to the Indiana Ice.

YOUNGSTOWN — Phantoms forward Ryan Jasinsky said he was trying to ignite a kind of spark in his teammates when he got into a fight with an Indiana player one second into Wednesday morning’s game.

As soon as the puck hit the ice, so too did Jasinsky’s gloves and stick.

“We’ve been on a bit of a losing streak, so I was just trying to change things up and try to get some momentum to start the game so we don’t come out flat-footed early,” said Jasinsky, nursing a swollen left eye and lip. “I was just trying to get a hit and get some momentum.”

Unfortunately for Jasinsky and the Phantoms, the team was not able to sustain that tempo and fell to the Indiana Ice, 5-1.

The Phantoms (14-22-2) have had a rough start to 2010, losing 10 of the 11 games played in the first two months of the year. The team went 1-9 in January and opened up February with a home loss.

And Wednesday’s loss to the Indiana Ice (22-15-2) was especially difficult since the Phantoms had defeated them earlier in the season.

“We outplayed them, I thought,” Phantoms coach Bob Mainhardt said. “Indy is a good team, but we played our game today and just couldn’t find the goals.”

The Phantoms had 28 shots on goal, but only connected with one. Forward Richard Young scored the goal late in the first period to avoid the shutout.

“Their goalie [Sam Marotta] played really well today and gave them that opportunity to win, but other than that I’ve got to be proud with our guys effort,” Mainhardt said.

While Marotta played well, it was the team’s offence that sparked the victory.

The Ice got out to an early lead and never looked back. Defenseman Anthony Bitetto scored after 33 seconds had expired and the team never relinquished the lead.

A goal by forward Blake Cook on an assist by Bitetto gave the Ice a two-goal advantage.

Young scored with 1:39 left in the first period to get Youngstown on the board. The Phantoms finished the first 20-minute period with five shots on goal.

The Phantoms played aggrerssively in the second period and played well for most of the frame. Mainhardt said he told his team to just keep fighting through.

“I just told them to keep doing what they’re doing,” he said. “We have a tendency to get away from the gameplan when things start to go awry.”

Things broke down for the Phantoms with about four minutes remaining in the second period.

Defenseman Nick Bailen scored with 4:06 left in the period and Bitetto tallied his second goal with 53 seconds remaining before the second intermission.

Ice forward Kevin Goumas scored with 7:41 remaining.

Jasinsky echoed Mainhardt’s sentiments on the team’s performance and said the team is close to turning things around.

“I think today we outworked them and played a good game and we had a lot of good chances,” Jasinsky said. “I think it’s coming. We just need to keep our feet moving, doing the simple things and get the job done.”

The Phantoms have an important home series this weekend. The team will host Waterloo on Friday and Saturday at the Covelli Centre. Both games will begin at 7:15 p.m.

Those games will have a major effect on East Divison playoff seeding.

Waterloo holds the third seed and Youngstown is sixth. The top four teams in the division will advance.


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