Phantoms to play 3 in Fall Classic

Staff report


The Youngstown Phantoms will wrap up their preseason with three games at the USHL Fall Classic in Sioux City, Iowa.

Today at 5 p.m., the Phantoms will play the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Friday at 7 p.m., the Phantoms’ opponent will be the Sioux Falls Musketeers. The Phantoms will conclude the Fall Classic on Saturday at 5 p.m. against the Lincoln Stars.

Last weekend, the Phantoms split their two preseason games in Michigan. On Friday, the Phantoms lost to Team USA’s 18-under squad, 7-2. On Saturday, the Phantoms rebounded to edge the Muskegon Lumberjacks, 3-2.

Goaltender Sean Romeo, a backup for the Phantoms down the stretch last season, stopped 33 shots in his first full USHL game. In last season’s final game against the Chicago Steel, Romeo replaced Jordan Tibbett for the final half of the third period.

“I couldn’t be more proud of Sean,” Phantoms coach Anthony Noreen said. “We all knew he was capable of this caliber of play.”

Dylan Margonari, newcomer Eric Sweetman and Mike Ambrosia scored Youngstown’s goals. Alex Gacek had two assists.

“Our shot blocking was there, every guy chipped in,” Noreen said. “Overall, our play was crisper than [Friday] night. Special teams [play] was better — we improved from yesterday to today and will look to continue to do that.”

Youngstown finished 3-for-4 on the power play and a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill.

Starting goaltender Matt O’Connor took the loss against Team USA. Ambrosia scored an unassisted power-play goal. Stephen Collins also had an unassisted goal.

“We faced a team that has been together for more than a year and appeared to be in midseason form,” Noreen said of the Nationals. “We’re not at that point yet, but that’s what the preseason is for. We can utilize this game as a learning tool. We will not judge our preseason games on the scoreboard, we’ll judge them on whether or not we stick to our process and learn from our mistakes.”

The Phantoms were 1-for-6 on the power play and 3 for 6 on the penalty kill. O’Connor made 28 saves.

Noreen said he will use 20 of his 23 skaters in each of the Fall Classic games (the regular-season limit is 18) as the team prepares to finalize its roster.

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