Ann Arbor, Mich.
The Youngstown Phantoms battled back from 2-1 and 3-2 deficits Saturday night at the Ice Cube, but could not complete a comeback, falling 4-3 to Team USA in overtime.
The point earned puts the Phantoms (29-15-6, 64 points) into a tie with the Indiana Ice for second place in the Eastern Conference. The Ice have 11 games to play while the Phantoms have 10.
“I told our guys in the room — and I haven’t said this many times when we haven’t gotten two points — but there was absolutely no reason for our team to hang their heads after that game,” Phantoms coach Anthony Noreen said. “We’re probably as banged up as we’ve been all year, but the mood never changed on that bench.”
JT Stenglein scored a 5-on-3 power-play goal late in the third period to force overtime.
Austin Cangelosi and Mike Ambrosia also found the back of the net for the Phantoms.
Sean Romeo, making his second straight start between the pipes, turned away 36 of 40 shots, but could not capture the win against the Under-18 team.
“Tonight — playing our third game in four nights against another very good team on a big stage — was one of our best efforts all year,” Noreen said. “Sean was great all night.
“I think this weekend was probably Sean’s biggest developmental step of the year — of his career with us really,” Noreen said. “He knew he was going to be the guy for two games against two of the best teams in the league, and he gave us a chance to win both nights.”
Quetin Shore spoiled the Phantoms’ comeback chances 1:13 into overtime when he deflected Jones’ shot from the point past Romeo to give USA the 4-3 win.
Ambrosia’s goal was a short-hander to tie the game, 2-2.
“Our penalty kill has come up with some big goals for us this year at some pivotal times,” Noreen said. “I thought that one was a back-breaker for their team.”
Connor Carrick beat Romeo five-hole for a 3-2 lead before Stengelin forced overtime.
“JT’s just the definition of a power forward,” Noreen said. “He goes and gets three teeth knocked out last night and he comes back tonight and he’s the first guy on pucks everywhere, the first guy to finish hits and do all the things he usually does.”