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Youngstown Phantoms Press Release

Phantoms close out perfect 5-game homestand

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Youngstown Phantoms hit rock bottom eight and a half into the third period, surrendering a short-handed goal to fall behind 4-1 to the Tri-City Storm. Sam Anas started the climb out scoring later on the power play to ignite a three-goal comeback over the final 11 minutes and force overtime.

Then with 27 seconds remaining in the extra frame, Anas led the Phantoms to the top, getting the puck off the turnover and firing it five-hole to complete the 5-4 come-from-behind victory. Markus McCrea, John Padulo or Alfred Larsson all scored in the third period as Youngstown (28-20-0, 56 points) closed out a perfect five-game, five-win homestand.

"Giving up the short-handed goal was kind of a dagger in the side, but there's going to be adversity throughout the season," Padulo said. "I think we handled it very well. We just chipped away one-at-a-time and our power play finally started clicking.

"Today was a big step in the right direction. I really can't compliment every guy in the locker room enough."

Tri-City (20-24-6, 46 points) entered the third period leading 2-0 off of goals from Michael Vecchione and Trevor Mingoia and Grant Opperman made it 3-0 just 47 seconds in, banking a shot from a sharp angle off the right pad of goaltender Jake Moore, who got the start between the pipes, providing Sean Romeo with a well-earned night off.

McCrea got the Phantoms on the board three minutes later when Ryan Lowney broke up a Storm counter attack and kicked it up for the Temecula, Calif., native for a breakaway. Youngstown was awarded a four-minute power play after Heikki Liedes checked Anas from behind at the 6:37 mark. But the Phantoms man-advantage unit sputtered at the onset, leading to a 2-on-1 rush for Tri-City and Mingoia hit Ben Foster to make it 4-1.

"That was tough to see," Anas said. "Giving up a short-handed goal is hard as is, but to make it down three, we knew we had to get back at it."

Anas did just that 1:27 later. Lowney laid the puck off the to Potomac, Md., native at the top of the right circle and he drilled a slap shot through Padulo's screen and past Storm netminder Justin Quale to cut the lead in half. The Phantoms added another one on the power play at the 13:54 mark when Austin Cangelosi drove to the net from the high slot and was hauled down from behind but managed to get off the shot off as he was falling. The puck caught Padulo's skate and slipped past Quale to make it a 4-3 game.

"I don't have a problem going to those dirty areas," Padulo said. "I think that's more my style of game. I'm more of a blue-collar guy in front of the net and I'll pick up the trash."

The Phantoms earned another power play with 4:22 remaining in regulation when Tri-City's Kyle Eastman was boxed for tripping. The second unit opened up the man-advantage for Youngtown with Kyle Connor and Alexander Dahl going back and fourth along the sidewall. Then Connor decided to take it to the top of the circles and fired a slap shot low and along the ice and Larsson got a stick on it at the last moment to deflect it past Quale.

"Our power play when we needed them the most – probably the most we've needed them all year – came up huge for us," head coach Anthony Noreen said. "They were calm and they kept the energy on the bench and most of all, they outworked the penalty kill.

"That's a big, strong, gritty team. It wasn't easy to get to the ugly areas against them but in the third period I thought we flipped the switch and we started wanting pucks more. That was the difference."

The Phantoms outshot the Storm 4-0 in overtime and after a turnover in the final minutes, Anas saw the opportunity and took it.

"The whole game we were saying ‘You've got to shoot the puck,'" Anas said. "I knew if I tried to make the pass and it got tipped, I'd regret it so I just figured I'd cut to the middle and shoot through the defenseman's legs, and hope for the best."

Phantoms by the Numbers

Shots – 40

Saves – 18

Power Play – 3-for-6

Penalty Kill – 0-for-1

Goals – Anas (2), Larsson, McCrea, Padulo

Assists – Anas, Cangelosi (2), Connor, Dahl, Larsson, Lowney (2),

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