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Phantoms bounce back in win over Muskegon

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Robert McCollum, left, tries to break up a pass intended for Phantoms center John Beaton during Youngstown’s 5-4 win at the Covelli Centre on Saturday.

YOUNGSTOWN — The Youngstown Phantoms took some early punches but were able to recover and punch back to complete a series sweep over Muskegon, winning, 5-4 Saturday night at the Covelli Centre.

“We talked about a playoff mindset going into the weekend and I think they were treated to playoff hockey in both games,” Phantoms coach Brad Patterson said. “The energy, the guys really fed off it tonight. We go down one early and come back and we go down 2-1 and we come back right away… I definitely felt the energy in the room tonight.”

Just a minute into the game, Muskegon took the lead with Montreal Canadiens draft pick Rhett Pitlick scoring the game-opening goal.

Three minutes later, the Phantoms locked the score up at one each with Garrett Dahm scoring his second of the year.

A couple of minutes later, Muskegon did it again with Dylan Wendt scoring. Once again, three minutes later the Phantoms responded with Ben Schoen scoring with an assist from Yusako Ando.

The second period was all Phantoms as they took a 3-2 lead four minutes into the second frame. Artyom Borshyov tallied his fifth of the season. Just after, Trevor Kuntar scored his 24th goal of the season to make it 4-2.

Schoen scored his second of the night just after to make it 5-2. Danil Gushchin scored to close out the second period and then once more with three seconds remaining in the game to make it 5-4 in favor of the Phantoms.

Schoen had a late start to the year, breaking his collarbone, but has come back strong after an adjustment period that Patterson referred to as a “training camp again.”

“It’s really hard to step into something when guys have been going for four months full go and it was almost like he had a training camp again,” Patterson said. “That’s not a knock on Ben at all, he’s been very receptive to everything and I think today he was moving his feet consistently. It’s great he scored the goals and he’s an elite offensive player, he’s going to get those opportunities.”

His adjustment period was a slow process, but feels better than ever.

“I was out for a while, but when I came back, the guys were there for me, the coaches believed in me and trusted me,” Schoen said. “Even though I was out for a while they just gave me the confidence to come back and play my game and be the player I am.”

Schoen scored two goals Saturday against the Lumberjacks and was a couple feet away from scoring a hat trick on an empty net.

“I wanted to get that third one,” Schoen said. “I mean, all it comes down to if the team won. It would have been nice, but I’m happy that the team won. That’s a huge, huge weekend for us.”

The Phantoms take to the road to visit Waterloo and Des Moines before returning home Feb. 26 for a morning game against the Chicago Steel. Puck drop is set for 10:30 a.m.

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