Phantoms’ comeback falls short against Black Hawks
By Tom Williams
Opportunities to get back into a hockey game don’t get much more golden than when your opponent sends two men to the penalty box.
In Friday night’s 4-3 loss to the red-hot Waterloo Black Hawks, both teams were given two two-man advantages.
“In my 30 years of hockey, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a game where there was that much 5-on-3 time,” Phantoms head coach Anthony Noreen said.
The Phantoms’ chances came in the second period. Kiefer Sherwood converted on the first one to slice the Black Hawks’ lead to 3-2.
But Youngstown failed on the second chance, finishing 1-for-9 on the power play as Waterloo (26-5-1, 53 points) won its 10th straight game.
Waterloo’s two-man advantage opportunities came late in the second period. With Lukas Klok in the penalty box, Josh Nenadal was penalized five minutes and ejected for a hit to head of Zach Sanford.
The Phantoms killed that one off, but Klok was whistled for tripping. Eight seconds after Klok returned to the ice, Black Hawks defenseman Mark Friedman beat Phantoms goalie Sean Romeo with a long shot for a 4-2 lead.
With nine minutes remaining, Phantoms defenseman Tommy Parran scored his second goal of the game (and his USHL career) to make it 4-3.
Parran’s first goal came after Waterloo jumped out to a 3-0 lead. He was standing near the blue line when the puck found him.
“[Zach] Evancho fanned on the shot and it trickled [out] through their guys’ skates and I kind of took a shot on one leg,” Parran said. “I was on one leg and wasn’t even looking at the net. Somehow it went in.”
The Phantoms (8-19-5, 21 points) thought they had tied the game with 2:43 remaining in regulation when Kyle Connor swatted the puck out of the air past goaltender Cal Petersen. However, the play was ruled no-goal because referee Korey Chipperfield ruled Connor’s stick was above the crossbar when he connected.
“I thought it was really close,” said Connor, the Phantoms’ leading scorer who was named the USHL Forward of the Week on Monday. “It could have gone either way. Obviously, I thought it was a good goal.”
The Phantoms’ finish was much better than the start when Waterloo scored two power-play goals in the first period then padded the lead to 3-0 on Peter Krieger’s goal 73 seconds into the second period.
Parran said the team regrouped after Noreen challenged them to win the second period.
“We decided that we were going to kill [the penalties] off and go on a run,” Parran said.
Connor said the tide turned when Parran scored.
“Once we got one, we kind of kept going,” Connor said. “We knew we had to keep chipping away at it.
“They are really hot right now. This is probably the best they’ve ever played.”
Noreen said the comeback “speaks volumes about the character inside our [locker] room. That’s the best team in the league, as deep a team as any. Very easily, we could have folded.
“[But] we had a couple of chances at the end to tie it.”