YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - The Youngstown Phantoms saw their franchise record winning streak come to an end after a split with the Indiana Ice last weekend at the Covelli Centre. Now they look to get a new streak started and continue to climb the Eastern Conference standings this week with a three-game road swing. The Phantoms (19-17-0, 38 points) will open Thursday in Ann Arbor, Mich. against Team USA before heading west to take on the Muskegon Lumberjacks Friday and closing out Saturday in Iowa against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.
The Week In Review
Game No. 35: Phantoms Plow Through Ice 5-1
The Phantoms carried a slim 2-1 lead into the third period Friday, but erupted for three goals in the final 20 minutes to down the Ice 5-1 and their winning streak to six straight games. Cam Brown and John Padulo led the way with a goal and assist each, while Sam Anas,who left the game in the first period after suffering a cut that required 13 stitches to close, scored the put-away goal less than a minute into the final period. Captains Austin Cangelosi and Alexander Dahl both found the back of the net as well as the Youngstown improved to 4-0-0 to open the season against Indiana (16-23-3, 35 points). Meanwhile goaltender Sean Romeo was sharp in his return from a two-game suspension, turning away 33 of 34 shots to pick up his 15th win of the campaign.
Game No. 36: Anas Scores Twice But Phantoms Slip On Ice, Fall 4-3
The Ice jumped out to a three-goal lead in the first period Saturday night and then held on as the Phantoms pressed frantically to tie the game, only to come up short falling 4-3. The loss snapped Youngstown's franchise record winning streak at six games and was Indiana's first win in five meetings between the Eastern Conference rivals. Anas scored a pair of goals and Eric Sweetman chipped in with a power-play tally as the Phantoms outshot the Ice 24-14 over the final two periods. Between the pipes, Romeo turned away 22 shots, but was saddled with the loss.
-- The Phantoms announced goaltender Sean Romeo's commitment to the University of Maine Tuesday. The Cary, N.C. native became the 10th player on Youngstown's current roster to secure a college commitment. Teammates Cam Brown and Dan Renouf are both Black Bear recruits as well.
-- Right wing Sam Anas stayed red-hot tallying three goals last weekend. Quinnipiac commit has racked up seven goals in his last five games to bring his team-leading total to 19.
-- Left wing Nathan Walker continued the torrid start to his USHL career with a pair of assists last weekend, giving him at least a point in each of his first six games. The Sydney, Australia native has put up 2-6-8 during the streak.
-- Since Walker, Brown and Anas were put together on a line on Jan. 12 in Lincoln, they've been on a tear, and it continued over the weekend. In five games, the line has racked up a combine 10 goals, 10 assists and 20 points to go along with a cumulative plus-7 rating.
-- Center Austin Cangelosi's game-opening goal Friday was his 11th of the season, but first since Dec. 15 in Des Moines. The marker snapped a nine-game goalless drought, the longest of the Estero, Fla. native's USHL career. When head coach Anthony Noreen learned about the slump he responded, "I'll be honest, I had no idea it had been that long. I feel like Cange scored last game."
The Week Ahead
Game No. 37: Thursday, Jan. 31 at 7:00 p.m. EST - Phantoms at Team USA
The Phantoms make their first visit of the season to the Ann Arbor Ice Cube where they will face off the U.S. National Under-18 Team this Thursday night. Team USA (9-23-4, 22 points) has just three wins over its last eight games and finds itself in the Eastern Conference basement. Two of those three wins, however, have come from the U-18 squad and back on Dec. 21 and 22 they split a series with the Phantoms at the Covelli Centre. Team USA shut out Youngstown 3-0 the first night but the Phantoms bounced back to blank them 3-0 the following night on the back of a 28-save performance from Romeo.
Game No. 38: Friday, Feb 1 at 7:15 p.m. - Phantoms at Muskegon
Saturday night the Phantoms travel to the banks of Lake Michigan to take on the rival Lumberjacks (22-13-7, 51 points). Led by Michigan natives Ryan Lowney (three goals, two assists) and Kyle Connor (two goals, two assists), the Phantoms have taken two of three meetings with the Lumberjacks, including a 6-3 victory Nov. 17 at Muskegon's L.C. Walker Arena. Padulo, a former 'Jack, put up 1-1-2 in win and since that game Youngstown has been on fire going 13-6-0, while Muskegon has been middling, going 11-8-6 over the span.
Game No. 39: Saturday, Feb. 2 at 8:05 p.m. - Phantoms at Cedar Rapids
The Phantoms finish up their three-game swing Saturday night at the Stable in Cedar Rapids. Entering the weekend the RoughRiders (15-19-5, 35 points) trail the Phantoms by three points for fourth place in the East, and the final Clark Cup Playoff spot that comes with it. Youngstown came away with a 5-1 win in the lone previous meeting between the teams, back on Oct. 6 in Iowa. The win was one of the Phantoms' most lopsided of the season, as Markus McCrea led the way with a pair of goals. The RoughRiders enter the weekend reeling, without a win in their past six games. However they have gotten solid contributions from recently acquired forward Ross Olsson, who has racked up 2-3-5 in just five games - matching his production in 22 games with the Lincoln Stars.
They Said It
"The winning streak was obviously nice, but we weren't in it to set records."
-- Anas on the team's six-game winning streak coming to a close Saturday.
Points: Austin Cangelosi (11-25-36)
Goals: Sam Anas (19)
Assists: Cangelosi (25)
Power-Play Goals: Anas (4, T-fourth in USHL)
Short-Handed Goals: Cangelosi (2, T-fourth in USHL)
Plus/Minus: Dan Renouf (plus-23)
Penalty Minutes: Markus McCrea (95)
Points by a Defenseman: Ryan Lowney (5-19-24, T-fourth in USHL)
Wins: Sean Romeo (15-12-0)
Goals Against Average: Romeo (2.91)
Save Percentage: Romeo (.904)
Shutouts: Romeo (4, T-second in USHL)
Phantoms Alumni Watch
-- Princeton forward Mike Ambrosia (2010-12) racked up a pair of goals and added an assist to lead the Tigers to a 5-2 win over Sacred Heart Sunday.
-- Wisconsin forward Jefferson Dahl (2009-10) scored the game-winning goal Saturday night as the Badgers downed Alaska-Anchorage 2-1.
-- Northeastern forward Ryan Belonger (2010-12) tallied a goal but it was not enough to push the Huskies past No. 12 UMass-Lowell Saturday as they fell 5-4.
-- Northeastern defenseman Mike Gunn (2011-12) registered an assist to lead the Huskies past UML 4-3 the prior night.
-- Nebraska-Omaha defenseman Andrej Sustr (2009-10) notched an assist as the No. 14 Mavericks beat Bemidji State 5-3 Friday.
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Headquartered in Chicago, the USHL celebrated its 10th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2011-12. With 28 picks during the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and more than 280 players already committed to NCAA Division I schools this season, the USHL has emerged as the world's foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at www.USHL.com.