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Youngstown Phantoms Press Release

Phantoms set slew of records in win over ice

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – As the final period commenced Friday night at the Covelli Centre, the Youngstown Phantoms looked in good shape. Their 3-1 lead over the Indiana Ice could have been more if a goal had not been waved off late in the second period, but when Alfred Larsson scored on a power play eight minutes into the third, a three-goal cushion seemed plenty for the Phantoms.

Less than a minute later the Indiana Ice had made it 4-3.

Down two men for the final 1:51 of regulation, with top penalty killer Eric Sweetman in the box and Ice goaltender Anderson Snair on the bench for the extra attacker, Phantoms captain Austin Cangelosi did what he's done more than any player in the Tier 1 era of the United States Hockey League – scored short-handed.

Youngstown held for the 5-3 win. With the victory the Phantoms (33-22-0, 66 points) set a franchise record for wins (33) and home wins (19), while goaltender Sean Romeo picked up his 28th win of the campaign, tying former teammate Matthew O'Connor single-season record.

"This is just a fun group to be around right now," head coach Anthony Noreen said. "I don't know how else to explain it. They're enjoying each other, they're enjoying playing and they're doing things the right way."

Ryan Lowney, Kyle Connor and Cam Brown also scored for the Phantoms, who picked up their eighth straight win on home ice – another franchise record.

The Phantoms got a quick jump on the Ice (19-32-5, 43 points) for the second straight night. First-year forward Mac MacSorley, who was playing in his first home game since mid-October, drove with the puck toward the high slot and then kicked it out to Lowney at the blue line and he fired a wrist shot off the crossbar and in.

The Ice tied it up 10 minutes later when Mikhail Plotnikov beat Romeo on a rebound that deflected straight up and fell down behind him. Connor put Youngstown back in in front just 40 seconds later when Cangelosi found him on the backdoor for an easy put-away off an odd-man rush. The goal was Connor's third in as many games and extended he and Cangelosi's point-scoring streaks to eight straight games.

"I moved it to Austin and he made a really nice pass back to me," Connor said. "I think that really got us going."

Brown made it 3-1 with another goal off the transition two minutes later. The Maine recruit broke a play up in his end and moved it to Anas, who in turn dropped it to him on the 3-on-2 and he fired it in to extended his goal-scoring streak to four straight games.

Connor had a chance to extend the lead with 50 seconds remaining in the second period when he was awarded a penalty shot, but Snair turned him away. Then 25 seconds later, John Padulo appeared to put the Phantoms up 4-1 on a power play, when his wrist shot deflected up and then fell down behind Snair. The goal light and horn both went on, but defenseman Matthew Krug was quick to sweep it out and after reviewing with the to goal judge, referee Cameron Voss waved it off.

Larsson capitalized on the man-advantage 7:55 into the third period when he walked out from behind the net and banked a shot off Snair. But Youngstown was penalized less than 30 seconds later and Jason Salvaggio capitalized on the ensuing power play. Then the following shift, The Ice drew within one when Joseph Widmar redirected a shot from Joshua Jacobs.

"It's frustrating to let in two quick goals like that," Romeo said. "I just kept telling myself, ‘We still have the lead. We're still ahead. Don't panic. Just make saves and do what you can do to keep the lead.'"

After a slew of penalties – assessed to both teams – over the final 11 minutes, the Phantoms were left short-handed with less than two minutes remaining. Romeo made one of his finest saves of the season when he denied Plotnikov on the doorstep with a quick right kick save.

"How many times have we said this? We're holding onto a lead and killing off a penalty late, and Romeo makes a huge save," Noreen said. "He was completely un-phased after they made it a one-goal game with lots of hockey left to play, and that save showed that.

"The puck kind of just popped out and I saw [Plotnikov] coming in and just stuck my leg out," Romeo said. "It was a desperation save, but it just hit it and made me look pretty good I guess."

Shortly after, Lowney blocked a shot and cleared the puck from his knees, and Cangelosi chased the puck down, fought through a hook from defenseman Matt Roy and scored on the empty net for his 11th career short-handed goal.

"You know once he makes it a foot race, it's going in the net," Noreen said. "There isn't a guy that deserves that record more than Austin. His work short-handed is special."

Phantoms by the Numbers

Shots – 30

Saves – 25

Power Play – 1-for-8

Penalty Kill – 6-for-7

Goals – Brown, Cangelosi, Connor, Larsson, Lowney

Assists – Anas, Brown, Cangelosi, Connor, Lowney, MacSorley, Luke Stork

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