Chicago rallies to take weekend finale from Phantoms
By Greg Gulas
Adam Robbins’ goal at 16:17 of the second period proved to be the game winner as the Chicago Steel defeated the Youngstown Phantoms 4-3 in USHL Eastern Conference play Sunday at Covelli Centre.
It was the third of three unanswered goals by the Steel as they took the rubber game of the weekend series.
“I thought that this was the most competitive game of the weekend,” Phantoms head coach Brad Patterson said. “Our power play was very good early because we stuck to our keys. We had our chances at the end but fell short.”
The Phantoms (10-11-3, 23 points) got on the board first, taking advantage of their man-advantage opportunity when Liam Robertson’s power play goal found the back of the net at 6:23 of the opening period for a 1-0 lead.
It was Robertson’s fourth goal of the season.
Youngstown extended its lead to 2-0 when Ohio State commit John Larkin rippled the nets for his initial goal at 8:58 of the period.
“It was very exciting to get that first goal of the season,” Larkin said. “I got my first assist on Friday and first goal today. In practice, assistant coach Jeff Potter works with the defensemen in getting our shots off as soon as possible. It was a one-timer that snuck through the hole.”
It was a goal that Patterson was hoping would hold up.
“He’s wanted that goal for some time,” Patterson said. “It’s a great feeling to get that first one, I just wish that it would have held up for us.”
With time ticking down, Chicago’s Mathieu De St. Phalle notched his sixth goal of the year at 19:21 to cut the Phantoms lead in half heading to the second period.
The Phantoms held a 13-9 shot advantage after the first 20 minutes of action.
Brett Murray gave Youngstown a 3-1 lead at 2:50 of the second period when Liam Dennison led him in front of the Steel net.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Chicago’s Christian Sarlo connected with his one-timer 36 seconds later to pull the Steel to within 3-2.
“This was a tough loss,” Murray said. “Our power play was clicking early, then they made some adjustments. It’s tough coming off a 7-2 loss the night before, but I thought that we played much better overall today. On my goal, we won the draw back and I was just in the right spot at the right time.”
The Steel knotted the game at 3-3 on Ryan Doolin’s goal at 13:52 of the second period, adding their third unanswered tally for their and only lead and the game-winner on Robbins’ rebound goal at the 16:17 mark.
Neither team scored in the final period with Youngstown holding a 26-21 shot advantage.
Chicago (15-9-1, 31 points) was one for five on the power play while the Phantoms cashed in twice on nine tries when faced with a man advantage.
The Phantoms will break for the Christmas holiday, then resume play on Dec. 28 when they travel to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to take on the RoughRiders.