Stampede tramples the Phantoms

The Youngstown Phantoms (12-6) lost Thursday night after a shootout against the Sioux Falls (8-7-1), ending their four-game winning streak.

The Phantoms lead 1-0 on the ice after right wing forward Stephen Collins scored his first goal of the season with 2:26 left in the first period.

Head coach and general manager Anthony Noreen said it was good to get Collins on the board.

“It’s funny because we were just talking today that he’s one of the guys that we need to get going and need to get on the score sheet,” Noreen said. “He’s been playing really good hockey. It just hasn’t been going in the net for him one reason or another.”

After a scoreless second period, the Phantoms kept the slim one-point lead late into the third period and had a chance to score again. Center forward Austin Cangelosi drove to the net but was blocked by Stampede goalie Stephen Williams.

Noreen said it was one of the key moments in the game.

“He’s really good,” Noreen said on Williams. “That was as good as a save as I’ve seen all year.”

Shortly after, Phantom right wing Ryan Belonger dropped his gloves and began brawling with Stampede center Justin Selman. Belonger fell on the ice first, and the Stampede gained momentum.

Ed McGovern scored for the Stampede with 4:22 left in the third period, tying the game 1-1.

The game concluded with the Phantoms’ second shootout of the season. The Phantoms led early, 1-0, on Cangelosi’s goal. However, the Stampede made their final two shots while the Phantoms missed theirs.

Noreen said he’s not a fan of shootouts, but it could have gone either way.

“I don’t think it’s a great way to end the game by giving guys unearned chances, but when it goes there, you got to take care of it; we didn’t do that,” Noreen said.

Noreen added that the team had a couple of missed opportunities throughout the game.

“I thought they had decent puck possession in zone protection,” he said. “I didn’t think we created many grade A chances. I think it’s something we’ll review on video tonight and hopefully try to improve going into tomorrow.”

One aspect Noreen enjoyed was the individual defensive effort.

“I thought our defensive men and our goaltending were very good,” Noreen said. “I don’t think our team defense was our best, but you’d hope that giving up one goal would win you games.”

Noreen added, however, that momentum on the bench was not up to par. He said it was good but not good enough.

“I thought we played hard, but I thought we didn’t play well enough to our standard. I thought we just played okay,” he said.

Even thought the Phantoms played extra minutes on the clock, Noreen said it shouldn’t affect the players.

“If that’s going to affect our guys, we’re doing something wrong. I think our guys are fine,” he said. “I think at this age and the condition they’re in, they’ll be able to play two games in a night.”

The Phantoms hit the road to take on the Muskegon Lumberjacks Friday and Saturday. The Phantoms are winless in two games against the Lumberjacks this year, but Noreen said they’re going to prepare better for this weekend.

“We’re gonna go on the bus here, review the film,” Noreen said. “These guys are going to get a good stretch in here, get a good meal in here. I think based on the team we’re playing tomorrow and our history so far with them this year, there shouldn’t be much we have to save as a staff.”