DeAgustine shines in debut, Phantoms shut out Chicago 3-0 - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Youngstown Phantoms Press Release

DeAgustine shines in debut, Phantoms shut out Chicago 3-0

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - When the Youngstown Phantoms recalled affiliate goaltender Colin DeAugustine earlier this week, he didn't know what to expect. It wasn't until Friday morning that head coach Anthony Noreen informed him he'd be making debut his first career USHL start that night against the Chicago Steel.

Any nerves vanished once DeAugustine took the Covelli Centre ice and made his first save. Then he made another. And another. The 18-year-old turned away all 27 shots the Steel threw his way to lead the Phantoms a 3-0 victory and earn the shutout.

"I'm usually nervous about that first shot, but once I get that I usually calm down and play my game," DeAugustine said. "Obviously it worked out today, but it was really just a great team effort."

Josh Melnick netted his first career USHL goal five minutes into the second period, which held on to be the game-winner, while JJ Piccinich and Kyle Connor remained red-hot with a pair of power-play tallies. The Phantoms (2-4-1, 5 points) had to kill off more than a minute of 5-on-3 for the Steel (0-6-0, 0 points) late in the third, but were able to preserve the shutout and snap a two-game losing streak.

Noreen said the decision to give DeAugustine, a Phantoms 2012 USHL Entry Draft pick who opened the season with the Johnstown Tomahawks, the nod in net was made in part to give Jake Moore a much needed rest while Sean Romeo remains on the shelf with a lower-body injury. Moore had started all 11 of the Phantoms' preseason and regular season games.

"We were confident that we would get a solid performance from [DeAugustine], but it was kind of just one of those gut decisions for the coaching staff," Noreen said. "For Colin, what a thrill of a lifetime. It was his first game with tons of friends and family in town because he's a Pittsburgh kid. I couldn't be happier for him."

Melnick put the Phantoms in front 1-0 in the midst of a line change at the 5:19 mark in the second. Alex Smith stole the puck away at his own blue line and found the Princeton recruit open at the opposite one to launch him on a breakaway. Steel goaltender Chris Nell made the initial save but Melnick hit the breaks, picked up his own rebound and potted it.

"Alex gave me a great indirect pass and I took a quick look around and saw that I was by myself," Melnick said. "I tried to settle down a little bit and freeze the goalie.

"I saw the low side but he baited me a little bit and I shot it and he saved it with the pad. But it came right back to me and I stepped to the side and put it in. It was an open net."

Piccinich notched his league-leading fifth power-play goal a little more than six minutes later. Fredric Larsson wound up and blasted a slap shot from the blue line, and the rebound squirted out for Piccinich, who was perched outside the crease to throw it back in.

Connor gave Youngstown a three-goal cushion on a power play 5:33 into the third. The 16-year-old walked out of the corner and wristed a shot through a screen and beat Nell right below the glove. The Phantoms, however, were assessed four straight penalties over the next six minutes, but DeAugustine was rock solid and got plenty of help from his teammates.

"Everyone was blocking shots for each other," Melnick said. "There was a point on the 5-on-3 penalty kill that Alfred [Larsson] blocked three or four shots in a row. There were just a lot of scrambles in front of the net but everyone back checked and cleared the pucks out."

Phantoms by the Numbers

Shots - 39

Saves - 27

Power Play - 2-for-9

Penalty Kill - 5-for-5

Goals - Connor (4), Melnick (1), Piccinich (7)

Assists - Fredric Larsson (2), Smith (1)

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