YOUNGSTOWN, OH (WKBN)-The Youngstown Phantoms fell to the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders by a final score of 4-3 Sunday afternoon in Youngstown. After cutting Cedar Rapids’ lead in half with just under five minutes left in regulation, the Phantoms were unable to put an equalizer past Rider’s netminder Ben Blacker.
“We didn’t come out as hard as we did on Friday. We fell behind in the first period and could never dig ourselves out,” said Phantoms defenseman Matt Miller.
Fresh off a suspension Friday, Cedar Rapids leading scorer Ross Colton didn’t take long to make his mark on the contest. Colton scored twice in the first frame to give the Rough Riders a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes. Colton’s first tally came seconds after getting out of the penalty box, beating Phantoms goaltender Ryan Bednard to open the scoring.
Kevin Conley would tie the contest just over four minutes later, when his backhander found its way past Blacker. It was Conley’s eighth tally of the season.
Colton would strike again with just 4.8 seconds left in the opening period to give Cedar Rapids a lead it would never relinquish.
The Riders would extend their lead early on in the second frame, when Jacob Hayhurst scored on the power play for his seventh goal of the year.
Youngstown would respond under a minute later, when James Winkler roofed a wrister over Blacker’s shoulder to cut the Cedar Rapids lead in half. However Cedar Rapids would extend its lead back out to two goals when John Deroche was the beneficiary of a sloppy Phantoms defensive breakdown.
Matt Miller would give the Phantoms life with just under five minutes left in regulation, when he jammed home a feed from his defensive partner Vas Kolias for his fifth goal of the season. Despite some late chances, Youngstown was unable to force overtime.
“This loss stings. I know the players are feeling it right now. We’ve got to use this feeling of disappointment and go to work this week,” said Phantoms Head Coach John Wroblewski.
The Phantoms will be back in Youngstown this coming Friday and Saturday against the Bloomington Thunder. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. both nights.
COURTESY: YOUNGSTOWN PHANTOMS