Phantoms Earn Hard-Fought Victory Over Sioux City


The Youngstown Phantoms seem to have more gusto in their step than in years past. JT Stenglein and Ryan Belonger both scored twice to vault the Phantoms to a very physical 5-4 win over Sioux City.  Despite being outshot 26-19, the Phantoms were able to push the puck when it counted.  The win was the fourth in a row for the Phantoms (12-5-0).

Ryan Belonger got the Phantoms on the board first.  Belonger, crashing in from his right wing position, beat Matt Skoff (above) from just outside the goal crease.  The action started when Mike Ambrosia put a shot on net that deflected out to Austin Cangelosi who fired back in toward the goal.  Cangelosi was credited with an assist on Belonger’s seventh goal of the season coming with 5:48 left in the opening frame.

Sioux City responded with 2:46 left in the first to tie the game at a goal apiece. Kyle Criscuolo netted his fourth goal of the season beating Matt O’Connor.  The goal was scored at even-strength and Cliff Watson earned an assist for the Musketeers.  The first period ended without further scoring and the Phantoms outshot Sioux City, 8-5.


The Phantoms did well killing off a two-man penalty about halfway through the second. Dan Molenaar picked up a slashing penalty putting the Phantoms in a powerplay opportunity.  JT Stenglein made the Musketeers pay at the 13:11 mark as he found the net for the eighth time.  Jordan Young gathered an assist on the go-ahead goal.

“I told our guys that if we could kill that 5-on-3 penalty that we were going to win.  We went out there and drew up in practice how we were going to kill a 5-on-3, and to our guys credit, they executed it.  I don’t even think that they [Sioux Falls] had a great shot at scoring during the penalty“, said Coach Anthony Noreen.  “From a pure effort standpoint, that was the best effort we had all season.”

The opportunistic Phantoms went up 3-1 when they got an extra attacker on the ice awaiting a delayed penalty call.  The strategy worked to perfection as Richard Zehnal became the third different Phantom to put one between the pipes on the evening. Zehnal’s goal was his third and came with 2:50 left in the second.  Young was credited with his second assist of the game.  Sioux City cut the lead to 3-2 when Brad Robbins went top shelf on O’Connors glove side with just 15.3 seconds remaining in the period.


With 16:37 remaining in the third period, David Henry gathered a rebound off of a Jackson Leef shot that O’connor blocked.  Call it a bad luck goal that tied the game, 3-3.

Stenglein gave the Phantoms the lead at 4-3 with 6:49 left in the game on an unassisted goal, his second.  Stenglein wound up from the top of the right face off circle and his shot tapped the post and went in.  The Phantoms added an empty-netter with 51 seconds left in the game.  Belonger got the freebee to push the lead to 5-3. The Musketeers wouldn’t go away without a fight.  With 34.5 seconds left, the Musketeers scored to make it 5-4.  O’Connor and the defense survived the onslaught of offense in the final half minute to secure the win.

“It was definitely two of the bigger goals in my career”, said Stenglein.  “The coaches are putting us in position where we can make a lot of plays and my line has been playing really good.”

“Everything has been going my way lately.  You kind of are getting to a point in the season where you know that your line mates are going to be in certain spots.  We aren’t invincible, but we do expect to win, and we have a will to win.  It doesn’t matter whether we are down by five or up by five, we are going to stay even keel“, added Stenglein.

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