Phantoms edge Ice 3-2 in shootout - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Phantoms edge Ice 3-2 in shootout

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INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – The Youngstown Phantoms made the most of limited chances Sunday securing two vital points in the standings with a 3-2 shootout win over the Indiana Ice. The Ice racked up 40 shots, but goaltender Sean Romeo was the difference, turning away all but two of them through three periods and overtime and then denying both skaters in the shootout.

Dan Renouf and Alexander Dahl scored in regulation while Sam Anas and Kyle Connor capitalized in the skills competition to propel the Phantoms (22-19-0, 44 points) to their 10th win over their last 13 games – and sixth in seven meetings with Indiana this season. In a contest that hinged on special teams play, the Youngstown penalty kill was staunch and Romeo, who picked up his 18th win of the campaign, was stellar as the last line of defense.

"Your goalie's got to be your best penalty killer and Sean was that," head coach Anthony Noreen said. "When they tilted the ice a little bit and took over for spurts, he held it together for us. He was just his calm, normal self in net."

Renouf opened up the scoring 5:12 into the first with Phantoms down a man. The Pickering, Ontario native intercepted a pass from Joe Fiala at the half wall, took off down the ice and strode in on a breakaway. Fiala hustled back and tried to hook him down, but the 6-foot-2 Renouf simply brushed the stick off and put the puck past goaltender Dalton Iyzk for his second short-handed goal of the season.

"Danny's deceptively fast, but the thing he does really well is protect the puck," Noreen said. "He's got a long reach and a big stick, and when he gets an outside advantage on a guy, it's almost impossible to catch him."

The lead would be short-lived as the Ice (16-26-4, 36 points) capitalized on their man-advantage the following shift. Austin Hervey won an offensive zone faceoff straight back to Matt Krug at the top of the left circle and he beat Romeo with a wrist shot to knot it up at 1-1 just 17 seconds after Renouf's goal.

Dahl put the Phantoms back in front at the 15:32 mark of the second, finishing off a lethal counter attack. Luke Stork hit Austin Cangelosi entering the zone and he split the Indiana defense, and then threaded a picturesque backhand pass across the crease for Dahl, who tucked it in for his ninth goal of the season.

The Phantoms were dealt a tough blow in the waning seconds of the second period when Cangelosi was handed a five-minute major and game misconduct for checking from behind. The Boston College recruit bumped Ice defenseman Jake Cass during a race for a puck and Cass slid headfirst into the boards with 15 seconds remaining. The major spilled over into the third period, but the Youngstown penalty kill was up to the challenge, allowing just one puck to get through to Romeo and generating a pair of shots at the other end.

"When we really needed the them, especially with probably our best penalty killing forward (Cangelosi) off for the whole time, they did a great job," Noreen said. "We had some guys who had to kill penalties for the first time all year and they stepped up."

The Ice finally broke through with 2:56 remaining in regulation when Mikhail Plotnikov slipped a shot through a screen and past Romeo low on the glove side. Indiana finished the game with 36 shots compared to just 21 for Youngstown and added another four in overtime, but Romeo was a brick wall.

Noreen gave Anas the nod as the first shooter and he beat Iyzk with backhand fake that he pulled back to the forehand and slid around the netminder's skate to improve to 3-for-3 in shootout attempts. Connor beat Izyk on the stick-side after a quick deke between the circles in the top of the second round and then facing down the man who had beaten him earlier, Romeo stoned Plotnikov to seal the victory.

With the win, Youngstown preserved its three-point lead on the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, who have played three more games, for fourth place in the Eastern Conference, and the final Clark Cup Playoffs spot. In such a tight race, Noreen said the two points were crucial, but his team's performance would need to improve when they meet with the Ice again this Thursday.

"We needed it," Noreen said. "But we're 100-percent are going to have to be better if we expect to come back in here and have a chance to win."

Phantoms by the Numbers

Shots – 22

Saves – 38

Power Play – 0-for-1

Penalty Kill – 4-for-5

Goals – Dahl, Renouf

Assists – Cangelosi, Stork

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