Youngstown out-shot, held scoreless until end of third period
In 2011, the Youngstown Phantoms opened the season with a 10-0 loss to Team USA. The Nationals beat Youngstown three more times before it got its first win against them on Feb. 19.
Also in 2011, the Phantoms started 0-3 against another United States Hockey League Eastern Conference team, the Muskegon Lumberjacks, before rattling rattling four-straight wins against the club.
Admittedly, both squads were rivals with the Phantoms according to players and head coach Anthony Noreen.
The 2012 Phantoms may have already found their rival for the upcoming slate in the fresh season in the Dubuque Fighting Saints.
The Saints beat Youngstown 4-1 on Saturday night at the Covelli Centre to remain undefeated (5-0-0).
“This will probably be our biggest rivalry all year just because there’s bad blood,” Phantoms captain JT Stenglein said. “It’ll be good to get another hack at them as the season goes on.”
They’ll get that chance three more times, beginning Dec. 7. Still, Noreen isn’t focused on getting that revenge.
“With any conference opponent, especially when you’re playing them all weekend, it’s going to develop a rivalry,” he said. “If you’re completive it’s what’s going to happen.”
Dubuque took a 1-0 lead into the second period and exploded in the next 20 minutes with 18 shots on goal and two scores.
“They were quicker to loose pucks,” Noreen said. “They outplayed us and were more opportunistic on their chances.”
Sam Anas put Youngstown (4-2) on the board with 3:54 remaining in regulation with a nifty juke in front of the net off a pass from Zach Evancho.
The Saints responded with an empty net goal by Jarrid Privitera at the 1:34 mark.
Stenglein made his return to the ice after sitting out Friday’s game due to a league ruling for an after-the-whistle confrontation in the Oct. 6 win against Cedar Rapids.
“It’s something I had to deal with,” Stenglein said. “It was good to be back out there. Hopefully I can string together a couple of games here and not have to sit out one.”
The third-year Phantom spent six minutes in the penalty box for three separate infractions (slashing, interference and charging).
“Those could’ve gone either way,” he said. “It’s something I’ll have to figure out and cut down on.”