Lowney nets two as Phantoms rebound over Lumberjacks
By John Bassetti
Just 24 hours after a 6-2 loss, the Youngstown Phantoms made amends by beating the Muskegon Lumberjacks, 4-1, in a USHL game at the Covelli Centre Saturday night.
“I thought our guys did what we asked them to do after making some adjustments — Xs and Os — after showing them some video Saturday morning,” coach Anthony Noreen said following the win over the second-place visitors. “But the main thing was their attitude because their effort and energy was as good as it’s been all year.”
Ryan Lowney had two goals and an assist for the Phantoms (14-16-0), who registered their first win of the new year.
“Everyone had a lot of energy and passion for the game tonight,” the 5-8, 160 Lowney said. “I think the guys were prepared well tonight. I think we shut them out pretty good tonight because they didn’t have a lot of shots, so, defensively, we did pretty well.”
Lowney scored first, then Youngstown took a 2-0 thanks to Kyle Connor. The Phantoms’ lead was cut to 2-1 before Lowney scored again, followed by Daniel Renouf’s goal with 2.5 seconds left.
The last two goals came via power plays. Austin Cangelosi had three assists to bring his team-leading point to total to 30 (10 goals/20 assists).
Youngstown was 2 for 4 in power plays, while Muskegon was 0 for 6.
With a 2-1 lead entering the final period, Noreen said that the coaches don’t talk much about the score.
“Between periods, we don’t talk too much about what the score is; we talk more about what kind of game we’re playing and we felt we were having a pretty complete game and a pretty solid game. One breakdown led to their goal, but we just wanted to go out for the next one [goal]. We really weren’t trying to protect our lead, but we did a really good job of that.”
On his late goal, Renouf received a pass from Alfred Larsson.
“He [Larsson] was battling it down low [against the boards] and then he threw it up to me,” Renouf said. “I knew their wasn’t much time left, so I just threw it toward the net and it bounced around and went in.”
Of the turnaround, Renouf said: “We didn’t take Friday night’s loss very well, but we were satisfied with our play tonight.”
Noreen said that Sean Romeo’s play in goal may not have been noticeable, but it made a big difference as Youngstown out-shot the Lumberjacks, 32-18.
“Sometimes the toughest game for a goalie is when you don’t see a ton of shots. There were long periods of time when he didn’t see a shot at all, but I thought he did a good job of controlling his rebounds and making the big save when we needed him to.”
The coach said that the right pieces are in place, personnel-wise, and the locker-room attitude is positive.
“That’s [Muskegon] as good a team as you’ll see in this league, so if we keep getting better then we’re taking the steps in hockey we’re capable of.”