GREEN BAY, WIS.
The Youngstown Phantoms’ hopes of securing home-ice advantage for the first round of next month’s USHL playoffs suffered another blow on Saturday.
Sam Herr scored twice as the Green Bay Gamblers defeated the Phantoms for the second straight night, this time by a 5-2 score. It was the Phantoms’ fourth-straight loss and the team that once hoped of finishing second to earn a first-round bye now is looking over its shoulder.
The Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (24-20-12, 60 points), the team the fourth-place Phantoms must beat to secure a home playoff game, defeated Des Moines, 3-2, to creep to within seven points of the Phantoms (30-19-7, 67).
With four games remaining, the Phantoms’ magic number for a home playoff game is two (points earned by the Phantoms or lost by the RoughRiders). The Phantoms have two more games against the Gamblers (44-8-3, 91).
Goaltender Matt O’Connor made 31 saves. Zach Evancho scored a power-play goal for the Phantoms in the second period to slice Green Bay’s early lead to 2-1.
Late in the game, Phantoms defenseman Daniel Renouf scored a shorthanded unassisted goal.
Herr’s first goal game in the opening period and was set up by Alex Broadhurst and Nolan LaPorte, whose power-play goal made it 2-0.
Alex Kile and Broadhust beat O’Connor for second-period goals for a 4-1 lead.
Herr’s other tally came on the power play in the final period.