YOUNGSTOWN, OH (WKBN)-The Youngstown Phantoms defeated the Tri-City Storm Saturday night by a final score of 4-2. Jason Cotton, hours away from his 21st birthday, scored with just 21 seconds left in regulation to give Youngstown a 3-2 lead over his former team. The Phantoms would add an empty net goal in the final seconds.
“It was a really tough game, both teams playing hard the full 60 minutes, but luckily it was me there in the end. I’m very happy,” said Cotton.
Youngstown drew first blood, when Noah Lalonde capitalized on a Storm turnover to tally his fourth goal of the season. The Storm would answer just over two minutes later, when Nico Sturm beat Ryan Bednard glove side on the power play.
The Phantoms would answer with a power play goal of their own in the final seconds of the first frame, when Yushiroh Hirano blasted a slap shot past Dayton Rasmussen. It was Hirano’s 16th goal of the year and his first since early January.
The two teams would play the next 30 minutes without a goal, until Tri-City equalized with just over seven minutes left in the game. Joe Cipollone was able to put a rebound past Bednard for his sixth goal of the campaign.
The contest seemed destined for overtime, until Jason Cotton picked up a deflected puck in the right wing circle. Cotton teed up a slap shot and blew it past Rasmussen for his second goal of the year with just 21 seconds left in regulation. Cotton, playing in just his ninth game in a Phantoms sweater, denied his former team of a point and an overtime opportunity. Cam Morrison would score his 23rd goal of the season on an empty net in the final seconds of regulation.
“If we keep this mindset of never letting up, we’re going to be a tough team to beat down the homestretch,” Cotton said.
Youngstown will hit the road this weekend and head to North Dakota to take on the Fargo Force Friday and Saturday night. Puck drop is set for 8 p.m. eastern time.
COURTESY: YOUNGSTOWN PHANTOMS