YOUNGSTOWN, OH (WKBN)-Chase Gresock’s third goal of the game came 1:04 into overtime and lifted the Youngstown Phantoms (15-14-3-1, 35 points)past the Dubuque Fighting Saints 6-5 Saturday night at the Covelli Centre. It was Gresock’s second hat trick of the season and he has 11 goals in his last nine games. His 17 goals on the season tie him for fifth in the league.
“I worked really hard (in the offseason),” said Gresock. “I knew after last year getting some experience in this league what it took, what I needed to work on (to be successful).”
“That line (Gresock-Mike Regush-Matt Barry) has been a driving force for us,” said Phantoms Head Coach Brad Patterson. “They continue to play that way, they’re tough to stop. More importantly it doesn’t matter who you match them up against, they can play against anybody.” The combination of Gresock, Regush, and Barry combined for 4 goals and 6 assists on the night.
Youngstown opened the scoring with a power play goal 3:46 into the first period. Matt Thomson snapped a wrister past James Durham (24 saves)from the slot for his ninth goal of the season, all on the power play, and first in nine games. Even with the nine-game goal drought, Thomson’s nine power play goals still places him second in the league in that category.
The Phantoms doubled their lead at 13:03. Barry stole a puck at the Dubuque blue line and charged the net. He dropped a pass for Regush, who dropped a pass for Gresock, who fired and scored his first of the night to give Youngstown the 2-0 lead.
Dubuque scored the next two goals to tie the game. Chayse Primeau redirected a centering pass through Wouter Peeters’ (31 saves) five-hole to cut the Phantoms lead in half at 17:47 of the first period, and Quinn Preston fired a one-timer from a face off win off the bar and in at 3:48 of the second period to tie the game at 2-2.
Gresock gave the Phantoms back the lead at 5:57, putting home the rebound of a Regush shot after Barry created another turnover. Youngstown led 3-2 at the second intermission, but Dubuque scored two power play goals in the first five minutes of the third period to take the lead for the first time in the game. Former Phantom Dalton Hunter beat Peeters with a one-timer from the slot at 1:23 of the third period and Alex Steeves ripped a wrist shot from the left circle to the twine at 4:10 to put Dubuque in front 4-3.
Matt Barry tied the game with a shorthanded goal at 12:24, leaking behind the defense and taking a slap pass from Gianfranco Cassaro. Barry’s backhand-forehand move opened up Durham’s five hole and Barry slid the puck into the net for his eighth goal of the season, tying the game at 4-4.Adam Tisdale gave Dubuque the lead right back on the same power play, beating Peeters at 13:41 to put the Saints ahead 5-4.
The Phantoms came back one more time, knotting the game at 5-5 at the 15:17 mark. Thomson blocked a shot at the right point and carried the puck to the Dubuque end. He fired a shot from the left circle that was kicked out by Durham, but the rebound went right to Tommy Parrottino, who fired into a wide-open net to tie the game and force overtime.
In the extra frame, Barry carried the puck into the Dubuque end and dropped it off for Cassaro, who fired a shot from the left point. Durham made the save but left a rebound, and Gresock was right on the doorstep to chip it home for the game-winning goal.
The victory was Youngstown’s first win at home since December 14 (six games) and broke their four-game losing streak. Despite only winning three times in the last 13 games, the Phantoms still find themselves in playoff position in the Eastern Conference, just four points behind second place Chicago.
Youngstown and Dubuque wrap up their season series tomorrow afternoon in what could be a critical game for tie-breaking purposes come playoff time.Puck drop is scheduled for 3:05pm Eastern and the game will be broadcast on YPHR and HockeyTV.
COURTESY: YOUNGSTOWN PHANTOMS