From broken glass to satisfying win, the Youngstown Phantoms put together a strong third period and rallied past the Indiana Ice, 3-2, on Saturday.
“It was the most important game of the year,” Youngstown coach Anthony Noreen said. “The thing that we loved about it, as a staff, is how much energy and effort they gave in the third period. It’s as much fun as we’ve probably had on the bench.
“You could just feel something good was going to happen.”
The Ice struck first at the 7:31 mark of the opening period. Not long after, Phantoms center Kyle Connor tried to even it up, but missed an open breakaway attempt.
The 16-year old redeemed himself with 4:22 left in regulation when he flipped the game-winning goal past Anderson Snair off a pass from John Padulo.
“I was frustrated that I missed that chance early on,” Connor said. “I went to the forehand on the first one and the backhand on the other. It ended up working out.”
Connor had assisted on a Padulo goal at the beginning of the third period that tied it at two. Padulo had three scoring chances throughout the contest and finally capitalized for his fifth goal of the season at the 15:34 mark.
“I just got to the right place,” he said. “I was playing the puck all game and [Austin] Cangelosi kind of had to settle me and Kyle down. He just said to keep working hard and doing the little things. We all produced in the third period.”
His biggest play wasn’t a score or an assist. It was a bone-jarring, glass-shattering hit early on the second period.
Fighting for position on a puck in the Phantoms’ zone, Padulo pushed an Ice forward to the glass and lunged forward — a bit harder than he had planned.
The result was a broken pane along the boards.
“I’ve actually flipped into the bench a couple of times, but that was the craziest thing that’s ever happened to me,” he said. “I didn’t even realize it at the time. I heard the crowd make a big noise and I just looked back and saw the broken glass. It was pretty funny, I’m just hoping everybody is okay.”
Play was stopped for 15 minutes and ice staff and security removed the broken pane and installed a new one.
“It’s tough when those breaks happen,” Padulo said. “You have to keep your legs going and the blood flowing. We adjusted to it and handled it well.”
Padulo, 20, and Connor are both first-year Phantoms. They’ve each played an important role in Youngstown (13-15).
“His ability is phenomenal and he’s probably one of the only people who can keep up with Austin’s speed,” Noreen said. “What everyone can’t see is how much of a leader he is. You need your 20-year olds to be like that. He knows what it takes.
“With Connor, You can throw his age out the window. He was one of the best players on the ice for the entire night.”
Brecksville native John Nenadal assisted on Zach Evancho’s goal in the first period.