Gamblers school Phantoms in AM
By Greg Gulas
Josh Dunne’s goal with 8:14 remaining helped lift the Green Bay Gamblers to a 2-1 win over the Youngstown Phantoms in USHL Eastern Conference action Friday at the Covelli Centre.
The early start on Youngstown City Schools “Get Schooled Day” was the first of three early games for the Phantoms.
“My teammates battled down low, Trent Bliss got the puck off the wall and then passed it over to me,” Dunne said. “I went around the Phantoms goalie [Ivan Prosetov] and was trying to put it between his legs. It hit off his pad, bounced back a bit but then snuck in.”
The teams battled to a scoreless deadlock in the opening session with the Gamblers, holding a 9-6 shot advantage.
Youngstown (1-3-1, 3 points) got on the board first at 9:18 of the second period, talking advantage of a power play opportunity after Green Bay’s Michael Vukojevic was whistled for a five-minute major (head contact) and game misconduct penalty (5:16).
Matthew Thompson, with an assist from both Eriks Zohovs and Matthew Barry, snuck the puck past Gamblers goalie Maksim Zhukov at 9:18 for his third goal in five games and the early goal advantage.
Green Bay (3-1-1, 7 points) tied the game with 99 seconds remaining when Nolan Moyle’s unassisted goal made it a 1-1 game heading to the final 20 minutes.
The two unanswered goals now puts Green Bay at 0-1-1 in their two road contests, leaving the Phantoms winless in three home games.
“I’m frustrated at this stage as some of our mistakes were internal and mental,” Phantoms second-year head coach Brad Patterson said. “We didn’t play a good first 10 minutes, but the second period was great. We had our chances, but need to bury the puck when we do.”
The Phantoms have now been outscored 5-1 after the second period.
“Green Bay played terrific, but it’s still on us. We made multiple mistakes today,” Patterson said. “They forechecked well, but this is stuff that we talked about. We want to get the puck moving north and not east to west.”
Despite then win, Green Bay head coach Pat Nikesh has concerns.
“This was a hard-fought game, but we really need to start scoring some goals,” he said. “The game definitely had passion, it just lacked execution.”
Youngstown won two of three regular-season games against the Gamblers last season outscoring them 8-4.
They split their two games at the Covelli Centre and won the only contest at the Resch Center.
Green Bay held a 28-25 shot advantage while Gamblers goalie Maksim Zhukov improved to 3-1-1.
The Phantoms’ three-game homestand continues tonight when they play host to the Muskegon Lumberjacks at 7 p.m. They will host Muskegon again next Friday before starting a five-game road trip.