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Phantoms force game 5 with another 3rd-period comeback

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Seconds after scoring to bring the Youngstown Phantoms back even with the Dubuque Fighting Saints late in the second period, John Padulo was sitting in the penalty box. The veteran winger got carried away with his celebration, then let his temper get the best of him and was given a 10-minute misconduct on top of a two-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. When he was finally released nearly eight minutes into the third, he was eager to make amends.

On his first shift, back on the ice, Padulo chased down a dump-in in the corner, pinned Dubuque defenseman Kyle McKenzie to the boards and swept the puck out for Cam Brown, who whipped it across the slot for a trailing Austin Cangelosi. The captain rifled it past goaltender Christian Frey to put the Phantoms in front 3-2.

"I sat in the box for 14 minutes," Padulo said. "That was the least I could - make a difference. I think I did. That may be a turning point in the game, but honestly my teammates are the ones I should be thanking. I don't deserve the credit. They picked up while I sat out."

Youngstown on to win 4-2 thanks to an empty-net goal from Padulo to even the Eastern Conference Finals at 2-2 and send the series back to Dubuque for a decisive Game 5 Saturday.

Eric Sweetman also scored for Phantoms, who outscored the Saint 5-0 in the third period to stave of elimination two nights in a row at the Covelli Centre. Goaltender Sean Romeo made 18 saves to bring Youngstown within a win of advancing to the Clark Cup Finals.

The Phantoms were up 1-0 entering the second thanks to Sweetman's first tally of the postseason, but saw the lead evaporate by the midway point of the period. Mike Szmatula tied it for the Fighting Saints 1-1 on a power play at the 4:53 mark, when he rang a wrist shot off the right post for his second goal in as many nights.

Dubuque grabbed the lead less than five minutes later when an aggressive mistake led to a 3-on-1 counter rush for the Fighting Saints. Romeo managed to stretch out and deny a shot fired for the left post with a toe save, but he could not freeze the puck and the defense could not clear it. Seamus Malone dug it out and put it high to make it 2-1 with 10:50 remaining in the period.

Youngstown got a shot on the power play less than four minutes later when with Dubuque's Joe Manno in the box and capitalized. Ryan Lowney was able to keep a Saint's clearing attempt in at the blue line and swung a pass for Sam Anas at the right point. Anas lofted a low shot on net that deflected along the way and bounced off Frey, who got the start in net when Arthur Brey fell ill overnight Monday.

Padulo pounced on the rebound and stuffed it past him for his second power-play goal in as many nights and celebrated by skating up to the glass and pounding at it, much to the delight of the fans

"I make friends with everyone on the ice," Padulo said. "Just not with the other team."

However, it was to the distaste of the officials and his response to the penalty earned him an additional 10 minutes in the sin bin.

"I lost my head a little bit with that penalty. I've got to credit my teammates for calming me down," Padulo said. "I've got a bit of a short fuse and it was definitely undisciplined, but they had my back and I can't thank them enough."

Head coach Anthony Noreen credited Markus McCrea, who served the two-minute minor for helping to quell feisty right wing.

"We didn't tell [McCrea] to, he took it upon himself to spend that two minutes talking to John in the box," Noreen said. "He told him we need him. He told him to rest up, that he's been the player in the playoffs. Come out of the box and do what he's done all series.

"The first shift he scores a goal and he was the best player the rest of the game."

Phantoms by the Numbers

Shots - 21

Saves - 18

Power Play - 1-for-4

Penalty Kill - 4-for-5

Goals - Cangelosi, Sweetman, Padulo (2)

Assists - Anas, Brown, Tommy Davis, Alexander Dahl, Lowney

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