Renouf nets a pair in the 3rd, Phantoms outlast Steel 4-1 - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Youngstown Phantoms Press Release

Renouf nets a pair in the 3rd, Phantoms outlast Steel 4-1

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BENSENVILLE, Illinois - For 40 minutes Saturday night the goaltenders stole the show. The Youngstown Phantoms' Sean Romeo was his staunch, economical self - a stark contrast to his Chicago Steel counterpart Alex Sakellaropoulos' athletic, sporadic save. Neither appeared willing to give an inch.

Chicago finally broke through 20 seconds into the third period, but it took only 48 seconds for Alexander Dahl to knot it back up for Youngstown.

Then Dan Renouf took over. The Phantoms blue liner gathered up a puck behind his net and began skating it up the right-wing side. He side-stepped a Steel defenseman inside the blue line with a quick drag of the puck, then darted toward the net, faked backhand before bringing it back around and sliding it behind Sakellaroupoulos on the far-side to put the Youngstown in front 2-1 with 17:09 remaining.

That proved to be more than enough for Romeo as the Phantoms (35-25-0, 70 points) went on to secure a 4-1 win and remain perfect against the Steel (27-30-4, 58 points) on the season. Zach Evancho also found the back of the net and Reonuf added an empty-net goal for good measure.

"That was a playoff hockey game," head coach Anthony Noreen said. "Great goaltending on both sides, both teams were physical - clean, hard-hitting - and we both had our chances.

"Similar to last night, they score and we take it to another level."

After 40 minutes of perfection, Romeo, who finished the night with 32 saves, was beat just 20 seconds into the final period. The Steel came bursting in the zone on an odd-man rush and Charlie O'Connor was able to get a stick on Alex Roos' shot from the high slot and redirect it past the Youngstown netminder to break the gridlock.

The Phantoms answered right back on the following shift. Josh Nenadal led the charge down the left wing boards and slid a pass to Dahl on the far side a millisecond before taking a hit from hulking Chicago winger Woody Hudson. Dahl quickly corralled the puck and slid it underneath Sakellaropoulos' left pad for his 11th of the season.

"To get it right back, right away on a hard-working, goalmouth-goal was huge," Noreen said. "Between the second and third we talked to the guys and said, 'In a playoff game, it's going to be an ugly goal that gets us going.'"

Renouf put the Phantoms in front at the less than two minutes later with his effortless end-to-end rush.

"We want our 'D' to be aggressive and jump in the play," Noreen said. "Danny's goal was a great example of that. He didn't just settle for getting in the offensive zone. He drove deep. He was relentless getting the puck to the net.

"We tell our guys all the time, 'Don't look for someone else to do it. Do it yourself.' That's what Danny did."

Evancho made it 3-1 at the 7:41 mark with another goal off the transition. Sam Anas skated the puck in on the right side and dropped it for Evancho in the slot and he fired it in for his fourth of the season. The Steel were granted a power play with little more than two minutes remaining and elected to pull Sakellaropoulos for the extra attacker. Renouf made them pay, lofting a puck from his own blue line down the length of the ice for his second of the night and 10th of the season, tying former Phantom Scott Mayfield's single-season record for goals for a defenseman.

The win, coupled with the Muskegon Lumberjacks' 5-1 rout of the Green Bay Gamblers ensured Youngstown would remain in fourth place in the Eastern Conference for the time being. The Phantoms trail third-place Muskegon (31-21-10, 72 points) by two points and second-place Green Bay (35-23-4, 74 points) by four points, but have two games in hand on both teams.

Phantoms by the Numbers

Shots - 39

Saves - 32

Power Play - 0-for-3

Penalty Kill - 4-for-4

Goals - Dahl, Evancho, Renouf (2)

Assists - Anas, Nenadal, Kyle Mackey, Renouf

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