Omaha quite comfortable away from home

Lancers blast Phantoms

By Greg Gulas


Thursday’s battle of the USHL’s first-place teams turned out to be quite a dud.

Omaha goaltender Vinny Purpura rejected 23 shots, narrowly missing his first shutout of the season while eight teammates scored in the Lancers’ 8-1 victory over the Youngstown Phantoms at the Covelli Centre.

The Lancers (29-11-2-1, 61 points) won their sixth consecutive road game and improved to 14-3-2 away from home.

“We played an excellent first period and it was just one of those games where everything that we shot seemed to go in,” Omaha head coach David Wilkie said. “A game like this isn’t indicative of our play, nor is it indicative of the type of game played by Youngstown. We’ll look for some little things to tweak, but we’ll get right back at it tomorrow when we practice at the Ice Zone.”

Originally scheduled for tonight, the game was moved up a day when a concert was booked at the arena for tonight. That extended the Lancers’ visit to the Mahoning Valley by an extra day.

“We have an excellent team meal scheduled for tomorrow night, will relax a bit and then get back at it on Saturday evening,” Wilkie said.

Phantoms head coach Brad Patterson will do everything but forget the way his team played against the Lancers.

“It’s not a good feeling, that’s for sure,” Patterson said after the team’s second loss in 10 games. “We poked at pucks, we cheated the game in a lot of different areas and when you cheat against a good team like Omaha, it’s going to bite you.

“That’s something we’ll need to be much better at when we see them again on Saturday,” Patterson said. “You want to forget a game like this, but if you do then you miss out on the points that really need to be emphasized.”

The Lancers needed just a minute and 45 seconds to register the game’s initial goal. Filip Suchy, the USHL’s third-leading scorer, unloaded his 26th goal of the year, an unassisted tally that sailed past Phantoms goalie Ivan Prosvetov.

It was 2-0 just 3:04 in as Noah Cates’ shot found the back of the net.

In all, the Lancers scored five times in the first period. After the fourth, Patterson pulled Prosvetov in favor of Wouter Peeters.

The Lancers’ offense didn’t skip a beat in the second period, picking up right where they left off in the first as Jack Randl’s goal increased the Omaha lead to 6-0 just 4:34 into the [period.

Chase Brand then scored at the 7:55 mark.

Youngstown (22-16-4-1, 49 points) avoided the shutout when Sam Salonen sent a shot past Purpura with two minutes remaining.

“It would have been nice to get the shutout, but it’s not a big deal. We got the win and that’s all that counts,” Purpura said.

The eight goals by the Lancers tied a season-high allowed by the Phantoms, having dropped an 8-5 decision on Nov. 17 to Team USA.

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