Playoff hockey will return to the banks of the Mahoning River this spring as the Youngstown Phantoms (28-22-6-4, 66pts) knocked off the Chicago Steel 2-1 Saturday night at the Covelli Centre. The win not only solidified Youngstown’s spot in the Clark Cup Playoffs but guaranteed them home-ice advantage in the first round of the postseason, which is slated to begin Monday, April 25.

If it weren’t for Anthony Dowd’s redirection goal with eight seconds remaining in regulation, Youngstown and their netminder Jacob Fowler (22 saves) would have shut out Chicago for the second time this season. “(The goaltenders) have been our backbone all year,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “Doesn’t matter who’s in the net, they give us every opportunity (to win).”

Youngstown grabbed a 1-0 lead late in the first period. Stiven Sardarian’s shot from an extreme angle in the right-wing corner somehow found its way past Gibson Homer (19 saves) at 16:16 for Sardarian’s eighth of the year, putting Youngstown ahead. The Phantoms got another late-period goal in the second when Adam Ingram crashed the crease and chipped home the rebound of Justin Varner’s shot at 18:55 for his 25th of the season and a 2-0 Phantoms lead. Ingram’s goal wound up being the game-winner due to Dowd’s late tally for Chicago.

The win for the Phantoms snapped Chicago’s six-game point streak and Youngstown’s three-game losing streak. The victory also gave Youngstown the season series win over the defending Clark Cup champions.

The Phantoms will take to the road to begin next weekend as they’ll travel to Michigan to take on Team USA in the front end of a home-and-home series on Friday night before returning to the Covelli Centre for Saturday’s regular-season finale. 

By the Numbers

Shots – 21

Saves – 22

Power Play – 0/3

Penalty Kill – 4/4

Goals – Ingram, Sardarian

Assists – Hall, Porter, Shoudy, Varner

Source:  Youngstown Phantoms