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Youngstown Phantoms Press Release

Stewart saves all 17 as Ice blank the Phantoms

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INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana - The scoring chances were evenly spread throughout Saturday night's game against Indiana, but in the end, Ice goaltender Hayden Stewart was the difference, stopping all 17 shots that came his way to earn a shutout as Indiana won by a 3-0 final over Youngstown.

The game, which was played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, was closely contested throughout, but the Phantoms ultimately could not take advantage of their chances.

"I thought the effort was good. It was a pretty even game," said Youngstown coach Anthony Noreen. "They buried their chances, and we didn't bury ours. It was a sloppy game; I don't think the ice conditions were very good. Both teams obviously had tough travel. Bottom line-they got their chances, and buried them."

Noreen referenced several specific opportunities the Phantoms could not capitalize on, including a Kyle Connor breakaway in the final seconds of the second period.

"They got their breakaway and scored, we got our breakaway and missed. We came down, we had a backdoor open net and miss it, and they came down the other way and scored. The chances were there; I thought it was an evenly fought game. That's what teams that earn their position do-they find a way to win games, and they bury their chances when they get them."

Indiana opened the scoring on a fluky play in the first period when a shorthanded clearing attempt ricocheted off of an attacker's shin pads, finally coming to the stick of Brian Pinho, who scored unassisted to make it 1-0. In the second, Youngstown outshot Indiana by a 6-5 margin, but could not solve Stewart. The Ice made it 2-0 in the middle period courtesy of captain Tyler Pham, but overall, the game was more level than earlier January meetings between the two teams.

"It was nothing that we did as a staff," said Noreen on the overall improvement. "It was our guys' buy-in level, and the improvements that we've made since the last time we played them.

"Really, after that last game [against Indiana], the morning game, we really had a breakthrough as a team. We realized what it takes, and a big part of that is a credit to seeing them play, and us showing things that they did that gave them success. We've made strides, we've gotten better, and I expect us to give teams tougher games like this. Just like last night, I expect to be better against the teams that we see the next time around, and go into them expecting to win."

In the third, a nice individual move by Sam Kurker made it a 3-0 game, and despite a few additional chances, Stewart would not be denied in attaining his first shutout as a member of the Ice, and his second career USHL shutout.

"[Stewart] was very good," said Noreen. "He made big saves when he had to. There weren't a lot of grade A chances for either team, but when he had to make saves, he made them. He stops a breakaway with 10 seconds left in the second period that could have made it a one-goal game, and he made a big glove save on [Tyler Spezia]. He did a really good job controlling his rebounds. That was one of the better goaltending performances we've seen, for sure."

Much like previous meetings, Indiana again showed that they are a difficult team to play against.

"It's a combination [of size and structure]," said Noreen on the Ice. "They have an older team that's very mature. They play the game like men. They're well coached, and they're big and strong. They wear on you, without a doubt. You know you're not going to get many chances against them, so when you get chances, you have to shoot the puck, and you have to put the puck in the net, because you're probably not going to get many more."

Youngstown will now immediately turn around to play the Ice at home in an afternoon game tomorrow-a difficult challenge, to be sure, but one that the Phantoms are confident in given their relative improvement against Indiana tonight.

"There will be a couple of systematic things that we'll look at, but the biggest thing is [burying chances]," said Noreen on tomorrow's game. "We have to limit their chances, and we have to take advantage of ours."

Phantoms by the Numbers

Shots - 17

Saves - 22

Power Play - 0/6

Penalty Kill - 4/4

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