Brown, Mazza help Phantoms close out ‘Jacks 3-1 - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Brown, Mazza help Phantoms close out ‘Jacks 3-1

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Jimmy Mazza picked quite the time for his first career USHL goal. With less than five minutes to go in the third period, and just four minutes after the Muskegon Lumberjacks had cut the lead in half, the first-year Youngstown Phantoms defenseman gathered up a bouncing puck at the blue line and drilled a slap shot that glanced off the goaltender's glove before skipping across the line.

Comeback? No thanks.

The Phantoms held on to win 3-1, picking up their fourth victory in six meetings with the rival Lumberjacks this season. Cam Brown's second-period goal held up as the eventual game-winner and Alfred Larsson added a power-play marker in the first to open up Youngstown's five-game homestand with win. Goaltender Sean Romeo confidently turned away 30 shots to pick up his 20th win of the season.

"A little bit of the third period was going in [Muskegon's] favor and obviously they get the goal and it tilts the momentum in their way," head coach Anthony Noreen said. "For Jimmy Mazza to come back and get the first one of his career – it's absolutely huge."

The Phantoms (24-20-0, 48 points) led 1-0 after the first period but the defensive core was dealt a blow early in the second when Tommy Davis was ejected for fighting after the play stoppage. Right wing John Padulo was smashed from behind into the boards by Muskegon defenseman Carter Foguth, and as the officials addressed the incident, Davis skated in from the blue line to stick up for his teammate and challenged Cam Darcy, who was more than willing to oblige.

Davis landed a slew of right hooks throughout the bout, and took down Darcy with a final blow and then escorted to the penalty box by the linesman before referee Sean Fernandez informed both players that their night's were over, leaving the Phantoms with just five defenseman for the final 35 minutes.

"I have no issues whatsoever with what Tommy did," Noreen said. "All five of those ‘D' played a ton of minutes and I thought those guys did a great job of stepping up."

Brown put the Phantoms up two 10 minutes into the second period, finishing off an excellent offensive sequence that he initiated himself with an electrifying end-to-end rush. Mazza sent a snap shot from the point that was trapped by Sam Anas in the slot. The Quinnipiac commit slid the puck through Muskegon defenseman Patrick Koudys' legs, retrieved it and dished it over Brown at the bottom of the circle, who fired it past goaltender Kevin Lindskoug for his ninth goal of the season.

"It was a nice play by Sammy," Brown said. "He kind of shot it and it came right back to him and he gave it back to me. It was a pretty easy finish."

The Lumberjacks (26-15-8, 60 points) came out with a purpose in the third outshooting the Phantoms 9-2- to open the period. Chad McDonald got Muskegon on the board at the 11:07 mark when he redirected a shot from Michael Brodzinski out of mid-air to make it 2-1 and ruin Romeo's bid for his fifth shutout.

"Usually I think you would see most goalies go nuts disputing it saying it was a high stick," Noreen said. "Sean was un-phased. He skated around, got right back in there and was ready for the next shift.

"That's why he's the backbone of our team, because that's the attitude we all want to have."

Mazza put the Phantoms back in front two at the 15:09 mark after a hardworking shift from Padulo and Zach Evancho.

"I'll give myself a little credit on that one," Mazza joked. "I've been practicing. Hopefully they start coming a little more often."

Larsson opened the scoring on a power play 13 minutes into the first period, firing the puck in after Kyle Connor rang it off the far post. It marked the sixth straight game Youngstown has scored the first goal.

Phantoms by the Numbers

Shots – 32

Saves – 30

Power Play – 1-for-3

Penalty Kill – 3-for-3

Goals – Brown, Larsson, Mazza

Assists – Anas, Connor, Evancho, Mazza, Padulo, Dan Reounf

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