Anas nets 2 late, but can't lead Phantoms to comeback - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Anas nets 2 late, but can't lead Phantoms to comeback

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Despite a frantic third-period push, the Youngstown Phantoms could not complete the comeback Saturday night at the Covelli Centre, falling 5-2 to the Green Bay Gamblers. The Phantoms (5-10-0, 10 points) outshot the Gamblers 17-6 in the third, but were unable to dig out of a three-goal hole late in the period.

Sam Anas scored both the Phantoms' goals – both coming within the final nine minutes of regulation – to lead the late flurry against the Gamblers (5-7-2, 12 points). In net, goaltender Patrick Spano was steady turning away 25 of 29 shots, but was saddled with the loss.

"We've been staying positive because we know we've been playing well," Anas said. "We've just got to trust that it's going to start paying off."

Kyle Novak opened up the scoring just 4:22 into the first period when he finished off a 3-on-1 rush. Nick Schmaltz hit the 20-year-old with a backdoor pass and he put the puck high as Spano scrambled to get in position. Ryan Siroky made it 2-0 nearly 12 minutes into the second when he picked off a breakout pass and went in alone on a breakaway.

Alexander Dahl had the chance to bring the game within one later in the period when 16-year-old goaltender Cam Hackett kicked a rebound out to his stick, but the Eau Claire, Wis. native slid the puck through the crease and just wide of the post to come up short. Then Green Bay defenseman Brandon Kirk stretched the lead to 3-0 less than four minutes into the third with a blast from the top of the left circle.

Affiliate forward Kiefer Sherwood nearly got the Phantoms on the board later in the period when he rang a wrist shot off the left post. Then finally with less than nine minutes left, Anas broke Hackett's bid for a shutout. First-year forward JJ Piccinich swept a puck over to Anas at the left hash marks and he patiently waited for the young netminder to go down in the butterfly before tucking it just underneath the crossbar to make it a two-goal game.

"I saw their ‘D' was laying out to block it, so I figured just wait another second and hoped no one was behind me," Anas said. "Then I just threw it on net. Sometimes you've just got to read off what the other guys are doing."

Just as it had seemed the Phantoms had the momentum swinging in their direction, Green Bay stole it right back when Adam Winbord hit Schmaltz on a 2-on-1 to make it 4-1 a minute and a half later. Anas was able to cash in again with 35 seconds left in the regulation when he beat Hackett high on the glove side, but Sebastian Weberg was able to notch an empty-net goal after the ensuing faceoff to clinch the win.

Phantoms by the Numbers

Shots – 32

Saves – 25

Power Play – 0-for-3

Penalty Kill – 2-for-2

Goals – Anas (2)

Assists – Kyle Connor, Piccinich, Sherwood

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