After a pair of grueling road losses, the Youngstown Phantoms showed no signs of fatigue on Sunday afternoon against the Chicago Steel.
The Phantoms jumped on the Steel right from the drop of the puck and continued to press until the final buzzer to close out their three-game road trip with a 4-2 win.
The victory snapped a two-game skid — the losses came in Dubuque, Iowa, to the USHL-best Fighting Saints (5-1 on Friday, 5-4 on Saturday).
Against the fourth-place Steel, Sam Anas paced the Phantoms (10-13-0, 20 points) with a pair of goals to give him a team-leading 10.
Austin Cangelosi also scored, and Josh Nenadal chipped in with an empty-netter. Goaltender Sean Romeo was sharp turning away 31 of 33 shots.
“From the moment the puck dropped, our guys’ energy was awesome,” Phantoms head coach Anthony Noreen said. “Throughout the game, we did a tremendous job of earning quality chances — making plays — and I think our pace was a big part of it.”
After a number of opportunities early, the Phantoms jumped in front at the 6:22 mark when Anas notched his first goal.
Cam Brown carried the puck in the zone along the right-wing wall, then hit the brakes and threw a pass to Anas, who was trailing the play in the high slot. The Quinnipiac commit made a quick move to pull the puck on the backhand before roofing it on Steel goaltender Alex Sakellaropoulos.
“There aren’t many guys in the world who can make a play like that,” Noreen said. “That’s why we’re so fortunate to have a guy like Sam.”
Anas struck again on the power play with less than five minutes remaining in the period. The Potomac, Md., native strung a pass across the neutral zone for Cangelosi, who blew past a pair of flat-footed defenders and went in on a 1-on-0.
Sakellaropolous made the initial save but Anas followed up on it and tucked a wrist shot just underneath the crossbar to give Youngstown a 2-0 lead.
The Phantoms wasted little time adding to the lead in the second as the continued to pressure Chicago (11-8-2, 24 points). Cangelosi intercepted a clearing opportunity from Landon Smith at the blue line, flew in and fired a shot from between the circles to make it a 3-0 game just 13 seconds into the second.
Christian Heil and Ray Pigozzi later scored for the Steel.