For the second straight night, the Youngstown Phantoms stood toe-to-toe against the best team in the USHL.
Unfortunately, the result was the same. The third-seeded Phantoms could not overcome a third-period deficit, falling 3-1 on Saturday to the Dubuque Fighting Saints in Game 2 of their best-of-five playoff series.
The Phantoms have their backs to the wall and must win twice at the Covelli Centre to force a Game 5 in Iowa.
“It’s unfortunate that it came out on the wrong side, but we’ve got to go win two games at our house,” Phantoms head coach Anthony Noreen said.
Game 3 will be played on Monday at 7:15 p.m.. If the Phantoms win, Game 4 will be played at the Covelli Centre on Tuesday.
In Friday’s 3-2 loss, the Phantoms trailed 3-0 before scoring two goals late.
Saturday at the Mystique Community Ice Center, the Phantoms took their first lead in the Eastern Conference final when Alfred Larsson beat Saints goaltender Arthur Brey three minutes into the second period. Markus McCrea assisted.
The lead lasted just 33 seconds as Kyle McKenzie scored to tie the game.
Early in the third period, Frank DiChiara scored the Saints’ second goal.
The Phantoms thought they tied it up with a shot by Jimmy Mazza that was ruled no goal.
“They didn’t think the puck was in the net,” Noreen said of the referees. “Just watch the video. That’s all I’ll say. Watch the video”
With goaltender Sean Romeo pulled for an extra attacker, Karson Kuhlman sealed the victory with an empty-net goal with 12 seconds remaining.