Barry’s goal, Prosvetov saves power Phantoms
By Tom Williams
Desperate for elusive winning momentum, goaltender Ivan Prosvetov stood extremely tall when the Youngstown Phantoms needed him most.
Nursing a one-goal lead heading into Sunday’s third period, the 6-foot-5, 185-pound goalie stopped 20 shots in the final 20 minutes to preserve the Phantoms’ 2-1 victory over the Dubuque Fighting Saints at the Covelli Centre.
“He was a brick wall, making great saves,” said Matthew Barry, who scored the game-winning goal in the second period. “That definitely gives your team a lot of confidence going forward.”
The victory was the Phantoms’ second straight, giving them a weekend sweep of the Fighting Saints (16-13-4-1, 37 points). It was the first time the Phantoms have won two consecutive games since Dec. 8.
“Hard-fought game,” Phantoms head coach Brad Patterson said. “We’re happy with the results — fewer mistakes today.”
The game was anything but similar to Saturday’s 6-5 overtime victory for the Phantoms (16-14-4-1, 37 points).
“Ivan was unbelievable,” defenseman Andrew Petrillo said.
The Phantoms were outshot 20-3 in the third period.
“The guys were just working hard, playing from the middle of the ice out. When you do that, you give up more chances sometimes [and] you’re not very offensively-minded.”
Patterson said one reason Prosvetov did well early is that “we limited what got around him. The third period, they had a push-back. When we needed him, he was there.”
The Saints had two power-plays in the first half of the final period but could not slip the puck past Prosvetov.
“Power play [or] penalty kill, whenever it goes your way, it gives your bench energy,” Petrillo said. “Doing it twice in a row helped us push forward through the rest of the period.”
The Phantoms dominated at the start, registering 13 of the first 15 shots on goal. But Fighting Saints goalie Cole Weaver was up to the challenge, stopping all of them. When the opening frame ended, Youngstown had a 14-8 edge in shots.
The Phantoms struck first, just 34 seconds into the second period. On the tail end of a power-play chance that began late in the first period, Thomson pounced on a rebound off Weaver’s pads and buried the puck into the open net.
It was Thomson’s 10th power-play goal, tying him with Cedar Rapids’ Marek Valach for the USHL lead. Thomson credited Chase Gresock for creating the play.
“I came down the ice, saw Gresock open a little bit,” Thomson said. “I slid [the puck] over to him and he made a perfect [pad] pass. It squared right on to my stick — I didn’t even have to move. It was a great play by Gresock.”
Prosperity did not last long — just 100 seconds later, Roman Kinal tied the game.
Barry’s game winner came four minutes later on another power play, set up by a pass from Michael Regush.
“He came out of the corner and [made] a forehand pass across the crease for a back-door tap-in,” said Barry, who admitted that pressure goes when you’re so open. “Your eyes get big as saucers.
“It’s not very often you get that opportunity,” Barry said. “Pretty much can’t miss so you’re holding your breath. It’s an amazing feeling — indescribable.”
The Phantoms, Saints and Green Bay Gamblers are tied for fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. They are one point behind the Muskegon Lumberjacks and two behind the Chicago Steel. Only the top four teams qualify for the postseason.
“Massive,” Barry said of the sweep. “We’re struggling in the standings. We played so well defensively today. Going into a big test next week in Chicago, it’s great.”