Phantoms cruise to 13th straight win

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN)-The Youngstown Phantoms (32-13-5) collected a 4-2 win over the Sioux City Musketeers on Friday night. Forward Kevin Conley potted a pair of goals, while defenseman Vas Kolias and forward Ryan Lomberg each had lone tallies. The win extends the Phantoms’ winning streak to 13 games, and moves them into the top spot in the USHL’s Eastern Conference.

Like last weekend, the power play was put to work early, as 15:11 into the opening frame, forward Matt Alvaro crashed the net from the right wing and sent a pass through the crease to Conley who tapped it in past Sioux City netminder Collin Olson, giving the Phantoms a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.

After Sioux City’s Adam Johnson tied the game, 1-1, 8:50 into the second, Youngstown regained the lead at 17:23, when Kolias came streaking down the left wing and flipped a backhander past Olson, giving the Phantoms a 2-1 lead.

“It was a great play by Myllari to poke the puck off the defender’s stick and get it to me, and I saw I had a lot of space and saw the goalie sliding over so I just shot it five-hole and it went in,” said Kolias. “I’ll be honest, I’m a big fan of offense. Obviously I pride myself on my defense first, but being an offensive defenseman is something special, and to be on a team that can find you in the right spots is awesome.”

Youngstown found the back of the net just over a minute later, when Conley followed up a rebound after a Connor McDonald shot and fired it past Olson, extending the Phantoms’ lead to 3-1, 18:34 into the second, on his second goal of the game.

“I had been working on that play all week in practice and I told myself I wasn’t going to miss the net, so it was good to see that hard work pay off,” said Conley.

“Vas and Kevin stepped in and capitalized on some key moments,” said Phantoms Assistant Coach Brad Patterson. “That’s the great thing about the past couple of months for us. It’s been 20 guys consistently contributing, and when that happens it really builds a confident group and that’s what happened tonight.”

The Phantoms capped off their monstrous second period 56 seconds later, when defenseman Alec Vanko took a shot that was kicked out by Olson right to Lomberg who slammed it into the net, putting the Phantoms up 4-1 after two periods.

The Musketeers cut the Phantoms’ lead in half on a goal from Jake Ryczek midway through the third, however that was all the offense Sioux City was able to muster, as Phantoms goaltender Colin DeAugustine stopped 33 of the 35 shots he faced to collect his eighth win in a row.

“We knew coming into this week it was the biggest weekend of the year by far,” said Lomberg. “We knew they were a great team capable of putting the puck in the net, and I feel like midway through the second we got to our game plan and got picks deep and to the net, and it paid off.”

The Phantoms were outshot, 35-34, on the night, while the power play converted on one-of-six chances. The Phantoms wrap up their weekend series with Sioux City on Saturday night at 7:05.


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