Gresock’s hat trick lifts Phantoms in OT
By Brian Dzenis
It was the kind of game in which Youngstown Phantoms coach Brad Patterson didn’t like anything except the final score.
In Saturday night’s game against the Dubuque Fighting Saints, a wild third period saw a combined five goals, three ties to the score and one of Patterson’s players ejected, but the Chase Gresock’s overtime goal delivered a 6-5 victory at Covelli Centre.
The win snapped the Phantoms’ four-game losing streak.
“The fortitude amongst the group was terrific. There were a lot of swings in the third period and you don’t like that as a coach, but you love the pushback of the guys,” Patterson said. “You could say that [about the team] over the past two weeks and it hasn’t been going our way, but the puck went in the back of the net tonight and I’m happy for them.”
Gresock’s goal completed a hat trick. The Powell native already surpassed his season totals from last year with 17 goals and 10 assists in 34 games after having 12 goals and four assists all of last season.
“[Gianfranco Cassaro] just shot the puck and I went to the net hard,” Gresock said of the game-winning goal. “I went for the rebound, hit it toward the net and it went in.”
The Phantoms (15-14-4-1) held a 3-2 lead going in to the third having already lost a two-goal lead. Two minutes in and ex-Phantom Dalton Hunter equalized for Dubuque. A little under three minutes later, the Saints’ Alex Steeves put his team ahead by one on the power play.
Phantoms center Joey Abate — the team’s second-line center — was booted from the game five minutes into the final period when he was called for a checking-from-behind penalty for a second time — his first came early in the second period. Patterson was coy when asked about the ejection.
“I didn’t like some of the stuff in the third period,” he said.
Jack Malone was then called for the Phantoms’ third checking-from-behind penalty and while Matthew Barry’s short-handed goal was impressive — coming off a long pass from Cassaro — the Phantoms conceded another power-play goal in that same penalty to Dubuque’s Adam Tisdale.
With a little over five minutes in regulation, the Phantoms’ Tommy Parrottino was on the right end of a 2-on-1 with teammate Matthew Thomson to tie the game at 5.
That set the stage for Gresock’s goal in OT.
The Phantoms’ top line of Gresock, Michael Regush and Barry forced two Saints turnovers that led to two goals. The trio has been Patterson’s top line since late December.
“I think we’ve been playing really well together. We just seem to gel really well and we really know each other out on the ice,” Gresock said. “[Barry and Regush] are really good at finding me and getting me the puck.”
After Thomson put Youngstown up 1-0, Regush stole the puck from a Dubuque defender. He then found Barry, who backhanded a pass to Gresock, who buried the chance to go up 2-0.
After Dubuque tied up the score the first time, Regush intercepted a Saints pass. Regush skated to his left and fired a shot at Saints goalie James Durham, who made the save, but Gresock was there to put away the rebound.
After giving up five goals in a 5-3 defeat to the Muskegon Lumberjacks Friday night, Flemish goalie Wouter Peeters did so again on Saturday, but made 31 saves for the win.
The Phantoms and Fighting Saints meet again today at 3:05 p.m. at Covelli Centre.