After surrendering four goals in the first period, the Youngstown Phantoms played two of their best periods of hockey at the Covelli Centre this season.
It wasn’t enough as the Fargo Force escaped with Saturday’s 4-3 victory.
In the final 40 minutes, the Phantoms outshot the Force 39-9.
“Judging on the last 40 minutes we were unbelievable,” said Phantoms forward Luke Stork, who notched a goal and an assist. “Every guy was going. We were hitting and doing things the Phantoms way. If we can just do that for a full 60 minutes, we can be a scary team to play against.”
Ryan Schwalbe and Maxim Letunov also scored for the Phantoms (5-10-1, 11 points) while goaltender Colin DeAugustine made 19 saves.
The Force (4-9-1, 9 points) grabbed the lead less than two minutes into the game when John Baiocco beat DeAugustine with a low wrist shot on the short side. Andrew McDonald made it 2-0 just before the midway point of the period when he fired home a rebound after a Youngstown turnover in the slot.
Garrick Grey redirected a point shot from Josh Elmes at the 13:20 mark to make it 3-0 and Aaron Herdt capped the scoring for Fargo.
“One thing we’ve talked about with this team is learning how to start hockey games and coming prepared to play and ready to do battle from the moment the puck drops,” Phantoms assistant coach Michael Zucker said. “Obviously, that’s something we’ve struggled with and it’s ended up costing us games.”