Sunday swoon

Worn-out Phantoms can’t hold early lead as Steel rally in OT

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Youngstown’s Carter Rose, left, is shoved by Chicago defenseman Jack Bar as the two fight for possession of the puck on Sunday in Youngstown.

YOUNGSTOWN — The Youngstown Phantoms closed out their weekend series against the league-leading Chicago Steel Sunday, and took the Steel to overtime where they fell 4-3 in the extra period.

By the third period of Sunday’s game, the teams had played 160 minutes of hockey in a three-day span, and the fatigue was setting in.

“If you looked at that third, I think the pace was drastically different than the first, or even the 60 minutes last night or the night before,” Phantoms coach Brad Patterson said. “Not to say it was a bad period of hockey. It was a little more ‘sludge’, I’d like to call it.

“But two teams going at each other for over 180 minutes, it was a good weekend of hockey. It’s disappointing not to get the two points there in overtime. But I thought, as a whole, I thought we took some steps this weekend.”

Josh Doan, son of former NHL player Shane Doan, tallied a hat trick for the Steel. Doan opened the scoring midway through the first period, getting the puck past Phantoms goaltender Kyle Chauvette.

The Phantoms responded in a big way in the second period, scoring three-straight goals to go up 3-1. Forward Ben Schoen got his eighth of the year on an unassisted snipe, tying the game at 1.

Just a minute later, Bowling Green commit Jaden Grant scored his second goal as a Phantom to take the lead.

Finally, Yusaku Ando put the Phantoms up, 3-1, around the midway point of the period with an assist from Georgii Merkulov.

Toward the end of the second, the Steel closed the gap as defenseman Jack Bar beat Chauvette to make it 3-2 at the second intermission.

The Steel hit the ice in the third period with the momentum as Doan tied the game up just 44 seconds into the final period.

Despite chance after chance on both ends of the ice, neither team could close out the game, and overtime was needed. Doan scored the game-winner to send the Steel home with their 16th win of the season.

As one of the deepest teams in the league, Chicago thrived on the power play, scoring four goals with an extra man over the weekend. Patterson sees the other side, where the Phantoms did a very good job of containing the high-scoring Steel.

Staff photo / Brian Yauger
Youngstown Phantoms forward Winter Wallace and Steel defenseman David Ma race to the corner to retrieve the puck. The Phantoms lost

“They’re high pace, high tempo and you can look at it, glass half full, half empty,” Patterson said. “Would we like to be better on our (penalty) kill and not give up two tonight and two last night? Yeah. That’s an area we’d like to be better at. At the same time, five-on-five I thought the guys did a terrific job of at least minimizing.

“They’re always gonna see threats, but minimizing in those areas and I think our d-core did a great job here this weekend.”

The Phantoms (5-13-1-1 Eastern Conference) close out the month of January with three games in three nights against the US National Team Development Program U18s, starting Friday.

Patterson sees the successes this weekend and hopes the team can use this as a building block going forward.

“I think our confidence was down before the weekend,” he said. “We weren’t great on (Jan. 16) and sometimes it’s a hard look in the mirror, and that was kind of our Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. There was a lot of video that they were almost squirmish to see. I can understand that guys not appreciating what we were showing and what we were talking about as a group.

“For us, sometimes you need to see that, and I thought the guys responded well to it. I thought we were upbeat by the end of the week there and really pushing forward, and you saw it on the ice, here this weekend.”


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