Anas, Walker power Phantoms past USA; Romeo pick up 29th win - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Youngstown Phantoms Press Release

Anas, Walker power Phantoms past USA; Romeo pick up 29th win

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ANN ARBOR, Michigan - The Youngstown Phantoms weathered an early flurry of shots to pick up a decisive 5-2 win over the U.S. National Under-17 Team Friday. Left wing Nathan Walker put the Phantoms (34-25-0, 68 points) back in front just 1:29 after Team USA (21-35-5, 47 points) drew even early in the second, and linemate Sam Anas closed it out with a pair of goals over the final 25 minutes.

Both Walker and Anas had two-goal nights, while John Padulo notched the other as the Phantoms, who rode a three-goal second period to their franchise record 15th road win. Goaltender Sean Romeo was steady, if not spectacular at moments, making 31 saves to pick up win No. 29 on the season, surpassing former teammate Matthew O'Connor's previous record of 28.

"We relied on Sean a lot in the first period," head coach Anthony Noreen said. "He made some big saves and held us in there. But when they scored to tie it up 1-1 [early in the second] I thought the game turned around completely. We responded really well."

The Phantoms were outshot 14-6 in the opening period but were able to grab the lead 8:35 in off Walker's sixth goal of the season. From his corner, Tommy Davis stretched a pass and found Austin Cangelosi in stride at the far blue line. Cangelosi opened up at the half-wall and snuck the puck through traffic right between the circles for Walker and the Australian winger whipped it past goaltender Blake Weyrick.

Team USA tied it up 4:37 into the second period, on its third power play of the game. Ryan Hitchcock slipped behind the defense, corralled a rebound and slotted it in. The goal was the first Romeo had surrendered in more than seven periods vs. the U-17 squad this season.

But Walker put the Phantoms back in front just 1:29 later. Anas intercepted a clearing attempt at the USA blue line and fed the puck out for Walker, where he loaded up and fired a wrist shot off the crossbar and straight down across the line.

"Nathan did a great job of under-handing pucks tonight," Noreen said. "Sometimes it doesn't matter how hard it is or how accurate, just put the shot on the goalie before he's set."

Padulo stretched the lead to 3-1 eight minutes later off another turnover forced at the National Team's blue line. The veteran winger took the puck away, skated in and sent a fluttering wrist shot on net that managed to elude Weyrick.

"We did a good job of pressuring the puck and causing turnovers in critical areas, and turning those into offense," Noreen said.

Anas notched his first of the evening on a power play with 3:45 remaining in the period. Ryan Lowney dropped a puck for him at center ice and he waltzed into the zone, beating three defenders before flicking a wrister bar-down.

Hitchcock made things interesting early in the third period when he redirected a point shot from Brandon Fortunato past Romeo to make it a two-goal game with 18:21 remaining. But USA could not find any other way around the Phantoms goaltender and Anas dealt a stunning deathblow five minutes later.

First-year blue liner Kyle Mackey floated a puck to center ice where Anas caught it, dropped it and side-stepped a defender in one fluid motion. He glided across the blue line and pulled off a toe drag on a lunging Louis Belpedio before wristing it between the USA defenseman's legs, off the right post and behind goaltender Hunter Miska, who replaced Weyrick to close out the second, for his team-leading 34th goal of the season.

"Where 'Sammy's' really evolved is on the rush," Noreen said. "He's so dangerous. You know he can beat you one-on-one. If you give him an inch - a bad crossover, you turn the wrong way - he can turn you inside out. Because of that guys have to back off, and that's where his shot's become a weapon with his ability to shoot on the move."

Phantoms by the Numbers

Shots - 24

Saves - 31

Power Play - 1-for-5

Penalty Kill - 3-for-4

Goals - Anas (2), Padulo, Walker (2)

Assists - Anas, Cangelosi, Davis, Lowney, Mackey

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