Phantoms, Gamblers start tonight

Staff report

The Youngstown Phantoms return to the ice tonight and Sunday for the first two games of their Eastern Conference semifinals against the Green Bay Gamblers.

Tonight’s United States Hockey League playoff game at the Resch Center in Green Bay is scheduled to start at 8:05 p.m.

Sunday’s game 2 is scheduled for a 4:05 p.m. faceoff.

Game 3 will be Tuesday night at the Covelli Centre at 7:15. In Game 4 is necessary in the best-of-5 series, it will be played Wednesday, also at 7:15 p.m. at the Covelli Centre.

Game 5, if necessary, will be played April 27 at 8:05 p.m. in Green Bay.

The Gamblers had the best record in the USHL — 47-9-4 — and led the league in goals scored (250) and goals allowed (138).

Green Bay won a league-record 25 games on the road, including two in Youngstown, a 6-3 victory on March 23 and a 7-1 decision on April 13.

The Phantoms claimed a 4-3 shootout win in the regular-season finale on April 14. The Gamblers won two of three home games against Youngstown.

Alex Broadhurst led Green Bay in scoring with 73 points (26 goals and 47 assists) and Nolan LaPorte added 70 (team best 36 goals and 34 assists). Sam Herr was second in the team with 30 goals.

The Gamblers top goaltender was Ryan McKay, with a 27-5-3 record and 2.18 goals against average. Michael Rotolo added 13 wins and a 2.15 goals against average.

Youngstown finished the season with a 32-21-7 record, good for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The Phantoms were just 8-8-4 over their last 20 games, though, battling injuries and illness.

Youngstown, though, defeated Cedar Rapids 4-3 in overtime and 6-2, in the first-round playoff series.

Alex Gacek has three goals and an assist in the postseason for the Phantoms, while Austin Cangelosi has two goals and one assist. Netminder Matthew O’Connor has a 2.38 goals against average in the two wins.

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