Home-ice frustration continues for Phantoms
By Dan Hiner
The Phantoms entered Friday’s game with three wins in their last four games. But there was still one obstacle the team needed to overcome.
Winning at home.
And after falling 8-5 to Team USA, the Phantoms now own the worst home record in the USHL Eastern Conference at 1-4.
The Phantoms have been outscored 23-14 at the Covelli Centre.
With the game tied at 2 in the first period, Team USA scored two goals in 27 seconds to take a 4-2 lead.
After two more USA goals, the Phantoms cut the lead to 6-4 with scores by Matthew Thompson and Jake Gingell.
But Team USA responded with two more goals and the Phantoms entered the third quarter down 8-4.
“After it was 4-2 or 6-4, I really felt like we had something going,” Phantoms head coach Brad Patterson said. “We go out and have a bad line change and one ends up in the back of our net. It seemed like every time we generated a little bit of momentum, we were digging one out of the back of our net. That just can’t happen.”
Chase Gresock scored the final goal for Youngstown with 15:35 left to play. Shooting lanes became tighter as the game continued.
“I thought we generated momentum, and I did have a good feeling a couple times,” Patterson said. “But you give up a goal and the wind kind of goes out of your sails. You see it once or twice — where we’ve been able to battle back with this team — when it continues to happen and the game gets away from you, it’s definitely frustrating.”
Patterson pulled starting goalie Ivan Prosvetov after the first period in favor of Wouter Peeters. But the move didn’t help.
Both goalkeepers allowed four goals each. Peeters had a team-high 14 saves and Prosvetov had seven.
Youngstown’s Curtis Hall, the Week 6 USHL/CCM Forward of the Week, continued his hot shooting with another goal. Hall had four goals and an assist last weekend.
Matthew Barry scored in the first period to tie the game and had an assist on Thompson’s goal in the second.
Barry said Team USA knows how to play with the lead and the Phantoms needed to find holes in the defense.
Patterson said the loss on Friday was the worst the Phantoms had at home, but they need start winning at the Covelli Centre.
“We need to take care of home ice,” Patterson said. “We take pride when we’re on the road and that’s got to be amplified when we’re at home. The great part about hockey is we have another opportunity to come back here tomorrow night.”
The Chicago Steel comes to the Covelli Centre tonight. Barry said the Phantoms need to work on their defense if they want a win.
“We got to be better in our defensive zone,” Barry said. “We can’t be giving up goals that easily. [We] need to keep doing what we’re doing offensively. Five goals is enough to win the game. We just need to tighten up defensively and take care of the puck.”
Patterson also said the team needs to play better on defense, but the offense needs to take care of the puck and capitalize on opportunities.
“Every team in the league is able to score,” Patterson said. “To give up opportunities they haven’t generated themselves, our mistakes, those are what you got to cut out of your game. Obviously you can’t give up eight [goals].”