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Youngstown Phantoms Press Release

Phantoms score 3 in 3rd, down Gamblers 4-2

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GREEN BAY, Wis. - The third period has been the Youngstown Phantoms' best throughout the season, and it showed once again Wednesday night in Wisconsin. Trailing 2-1 and facing the prospect of a 2-0 series deficit heading back to Youngstown, the Phantoms scored three goals over the final 20 minutes to down the Green Bay Gamblers to take Game 2 of the best-of-five opening round Clark Cup Playoffs series.

First-year forward JJ Piccinich evened the score 2:51 into the third and five-year veteran John Padulo put the Phantoms in front on the power play less than three minutes later. Sam Anas found the back of the net to put Youngstown up two with less than nine minutes remaining. Cam Brown also scored a power play marker as the Phantoms went 2-for-3 on the man-advantage.

"There weren't very many chances for either team 5-on-5. You feel when you get a power play how much more important it is," head coach Anthony Noreen said. "Last night they won the special teams battle and tonight we did. That's the difference. That's playoff hockey."

Goaltender Sean Romeo turned away 23 of 25 shots to secure the win and even the best-of-five opening round series at 1-1. It will resume in Youngstown with Game 3 set for Saturday at 7:15 p.m. EST and Game 4 set for 4 p.m.

The Phantoms outshot the Gamblers 16-8 in the final period and Piccinch knotted it up before the three-minute mark on a rebound from and Markus McCrea shot that bounced out to him at the left circle. The 16-year-old forward teed up a slap shot and blasted it into a crowd in front and it caught Green Bay goaltender Tony Kujava and deflected in.

"The goalie almost made the save," Piccinich said. "I'm just glad it went in. [It was a relief] especially from yesterday. I got a lot of grade-A chances and it just didn't happen. Tonight I happen to get one and it feels like I got a gorilla of my back."

Padulo put Youngstown on top on the man-advantage with a backdoor tap-in at the five-minute mark. The Phantoms power play unit, which was clicking all night with tape-to-tape passes, moved the puck around the offensive zone at will. Austin Cangelosi ended up with the puck at the right circle and threaded a pass across the slot to find Padulo open on the far side, with a shot on the open net.

"We had a lot more time and guys used patience and found the open guys," Padulo said. "I was fortunate to be on the backend of it."

Anas added the dagger with 8:25 remaining when he picked Gamblers' defenseman Jordan Gross' pocket in the offensive zone, got a quick low shot off and then wrangled in his own rebound and roofed it.

Alex Kile put the Gamblers in front 7:30 into the opening period with a sharp-angle shot off a 3-on-2 rush. Defenseman Jake Linhart dished it to him on the backdoor and Kile put fired it low and the puck banked off Romeo's inner pad and in.

But Youngstown knotted it back up with 53 seconds remaining on their first power play of the game. Cangelosi found Anas for an open look at the right circle but Anas faked the shot and then dished it off to Brown streaking down the far-side, and he buried it to even the game up.

Nick Schmaltz scored a power-play goal for Green Bay at the 3:27 mark in the second period as the Gamblers went 1-for-2 on the man-advantage.

Noreen said it is fitting that the Phantoms are heading back home with the series tied - the same situation they were in last season, before falling to the Gamblers in both games at the Covelli Centre.

"It's the same place we were last year," he said. "Right now will show whether we as an organization have made that next step. We've got the home ice advantage."

Phantoms by the Numbers

Shots - 28

Saves - 23

Power Play - 2-for-3

Penalty Kill - 1-for-2

Goals - Anas, Brown, Padulo, Piccinich

Assists - Anas, Brown, Cangelosi (2), McCrea

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