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Youngstown Phantoms Press Release

Deaugustine, Connor propel Phantoms past Steel in overtime

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BENSENVILLE, Illinois - Phantoms head coach Anthony Noreen has spoken a lot lately about the "maturation process" of his team-stringing positive performances together, and quickly rebounding from poor ones.

Tonight, at the Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville, his team proved that they are making great progress.

Backed by a stellar 42-save performance from Colin DeAugustine, and thanks to an overtime winner by Kyle Connor, Youngstown snuck past Chicago by a 2-1 final.

"We've had a lot of games that were very similar, where the other team found a way to beat us, or we found a way to let it slip away," remarked Noreen. "I've said it a lot lately, but the maturation process of this team is figuring out how to be better at things that we've failed at in the past-how to grow and learn from it. Tonight was a great example."

The Phantoms entered the game having been shut out by Green Bay the night before, but were able to rebound with a performance where they got better as the game went along. That fact is more impressive given that Sunday marked Youngstown's third game in three nights.

In the game's early moments, it appeared as if the Phantoms would be in for a bit of trouble-Chicago scored on their first shot following a beautiful passing play. From that point on, however, DeAugustine and the Phantoms shut the door and came back to prevail in the extra session against a team that had won five in a row entering the match.

"In the first period, in my head, I was thinking about the first goal," said DeAugustine. "[Chicago scored] on their first shot of the game, but you have to get that past you. After I had that, I don't really like to think about the game; I just let it happen. Once I'm thinking about the game, I feel like I do a lot worse. As soon as they're coming at me, I just get ready to make a save. That's all I can do."

The Phantoms' netminder received high praise from all of his teammates following the game.

"DeAugustine played a great game. He kept us in it throughout the whole game," said Connor.

"He made saves on three breakaways. He really helped us. He made some great saves; his glove save in the second period was a great moment for him and for our team," said Maxim Letunov, who was commenting on a particularly flashy glove stop DeAugustine made to rob a great Chicago chance from the slot.

Letunov, meanwhile, helped the Phantoms plenty on his own in the game. He recorded the primary assist on each of Youngstown's two goals, including the goal that tied the contest at one with 1:31 to play in the first period.

"It was a huge goal at the end of the first period to tie it up," said Noreen. "The period ended at a perfect time: let us get back in and regroup. I thought we had the better of the play in the second, and the third period was pretty even."

Down the stretch, the Phantoms kept a surging Chicago team off the board-the Steel entered tonight having scored 32 goals over their last five games, and the Phantoms held them to just one. Not only was DeAugustine locked in, but his defensemen did a great job of blocking shots.

"There were a couple shots that I couldn't see from the point; there were a lot of people in front," said DeAugustine. "My 'D' were getting down and blocking them. Tommy Parran actually hurt his foot and finished the game; I remember it, it was a great block, [Chicago] had a slapshot from right in the slot, and he blocked it. It's nice when the 'D' is helping me out too."

The tight-knit nature of the contest continued through the final moments of play. With 35 seconds left, Robbie Payne took a roughing minor, and although Youngstown could not score in regulation, Connor did the job on the man advantage 27 seconds into the extra frame.

"I got the puck in the zone," said the overtime goal-scorer. "[Conor Lemirande] did a good job of retrieving it and getting it up to me. I played catch with Letunov up top, walked in, saw an opening, and figured I'd get it on net. Luckily, it went in."

Of note in the contest: Trey Bradley left the game after two periods with an injury, and did not return. Noreen said he was held out as a precaution, and he would be re-evaluated when the Phantoms get back to Youngstown.

Overall, this game will be remembered for the Phantoms' resiliency, and DeAugustine's superb effort in net.

"I started out pretty well, but towards the middle of the season I had a bit of a slump-I wasn't playing badly, but I had six losses in a row," said DeAugustine. "Even though I lost my last game, I thought I played a lot better than I did. Coming in for Romeo in Muskegon, and then today, it feels good. Hopefully I can keep it up, and keep playing well."

Phantoms by the Numbers

Shots - 31

Saves - 43

Power Play - 1/6

Penalty Kill - 3/3

Goals - Lemirande (5), Connor (21)

Assists - Letunov 2 (18, 19), Pellah (19, 6 as a Phantom), Lemirande (9)

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