Flying Aces sweep Phantoms
Youngstown squanders early lead, drops 2nd straight
By ALEXIS BARTOLOMUCCI
Once again, the Central Illinois Flying Aces soared over the Youngstown Phantoms for a weekend sweep.
The season-opening weekend for the Phantoms didn’t go as they hoped after they suffered Sunday’s 5-1 loss against the Flying Aces at the Covelli Centre.
“I felt like we chased the puck around a lot,” Phantoms head coach Brad Patterson said. “Fifty-fifty battles I didn’t feel were 50-50 battles. I thought it was us waiting for them to go get the puck and us reacting to it.”
The energy level from the Phantoms was strong in the beginning when Curtis Hall scored the opening goal of the game 10:34 into the first period.
“He pursues pucks, he’s tenacious,” Patterson said. “I think that’s the asset of Curtis. He’s got a big frame, he’s mobile and he doesn’t quit on pucks.”
Michael Joyaux and Chase Gresock received assists.
“I was just trying to get the puck to the net and it bounced out to Hallsy and he had a great shot,” Joyaux said.
That lead was short-lived as Drew Elser tied the game 32 seconds later for the Flying Aces. Elser scored his first goal of the year by shooting the puck past Phantoms goalie Wouter Peeters. Peeters made 30 saves in his debut in the USHL.
Matt Gosiewski scored his first of two goals for Central Illinois with less than three minutes left to play in the first period. Gosiewski’s goal gave the Flying Aces a 2-1 lead going into the first intermission.
Two of Central Illinois’ goals were made on their power plays. Youngstown had four power-play opportunities but was unable to capitalize on their advantage when it came to having more players on the ice.
“We have to work on puck movement and getting to the open space,” Joyaux said. “Playing as a team and not as individuals.”
Chasing the puck caused the Phantoms to lose their energy and become tired. This showed when it came to how they played the second and third period.
“I don’t have a problem with making an aggressive mistake, but being passive to the point of not pursuing that and not wanting to touch first or not getting there to touch first that’s the stuff we need to work on,” Patterson said.
Gosiewski found the back of the net for the second time on a Central Illinois power play at 3:52 into the second period.
One more goal in the second period by Max Andrev put the Flying Aces up 4-1.
“We just didn’t come ready to play,” Joyaux said. “We need to go back to work this week and focus on all the things we did wrong and get back at it for the weekend.”
Scoring the final goal of the game was Jakub Lacka on another Central Illinois power play.
The Flying Aces outshot the Phantoms 35-25.
“It looked at points today like we didn’t want to go and get the puck,” Patterson said. “We didn’t want to be willing to put in the hard work to win a battle and when you don’t have battles on the ice it’s not really a game.”
Next weekend, the Phantoms will play the Fargo Force twice in North Dakota.