Early deficit dooms Phantoms

Staff report


Steven Johnson scored a pair of goals in the first period and Omaha jumped out to a big lead en route to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Youngstown Phantoms in a United States Hockey League game on Friday at Ralston Arena.

Ryan Tait also scored twice, including a power play goal eight minutes into the first period, and had an assist for the Lancers (35-11-5, 75 points), who led 3-0 after the first period.

The Phantoms cut their deficit to 3-2 with two goals in the first 91 seconds of the second period. Alfred Larsson scored on a power play goal just 1:09 into the period, getting assists from Kyle Connor and Josh Melnick.

Twenty-two seconds later, Zach Evancho scored off assists from Luke Stork and Kyle Mackey.

But Tait scored his second goal five minutes later and Zach Jordan added an empty net goal late in the third period to end the suspense.

Sean Romeo made 23 saves for the Phantoms (14-29-6, 34 points), who are in last place in the Eastern Conference. Youngstown plays in Omaha again today, then has two games at Muskegon before returning home to play Team USA on March 23.

Hayden Hawkey had 21 saves for Omaha, which has already clinched a playoff berth and is just one point behind Waterloo for the top spot in the Western Conference. Gage Hough, Niklas Folin, Jimmy Schuldt and Jake Henderson all had assists.

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