Trailing 5-4 with under three minutes left in regulation, Ryan Belonger gave the Phantoms a chance to win with a game-tying goal. Ian McCoshen snuck a long one past Matt O’Connor in overtime to erase the heroics of Belonger and send the Youngstown Phantoms to their second straight overtime loss, 6-5, in a wild one.
Waterloo scored first as Vince Hinostroza scored just 2:54 into the contest. By the end of the first period, however, it wa the Phantoms who took a 2-1 lead into the intermission. Goals by Dylan Margonari, who was assisted by J. T. Stenglein, and Chris Bradley‘s unassisted gem temporarily vaulted the Phantoms into the lead.
A wild second period saw five total goals scored, unfortunately for the purple Youngstown skaters, three of them were by Waterloo. Austin Cangelosi pulled out a shorthanded goal, unassisted, 6:12 into the second to increase Youngstown’s lead to 3-1. After Tony Cameranesi cut the lead to 3-2 with a Waterloo goal, Mike Ambrosia scored to give the Phantoms back the two-goal lead with three-and-a-half minutes to play in the period.
Goals for Waterloo from Scott MacDonald and a Taylor Cammarata powerplay goal with just three seconds remaining in the period tied the game at four goals apiece.
In the final period, Waterloo jumped out to a 5-4 lead when Mark Naclerio scored with 6:57 elapsed in the final stanza. Neither team would muster much offense until the final horn was ready to sound. Belonger then took an unassisted chance and put the puck into the net, beating Stephon Williams with 2:35 left in the game.
In the overtime, McCoshen scored with 3:36 gone in the extra session to lift Waterloo to the victory.
Matt O’Connor faced 41 shots and stopped 35 of them in a gallant effort between the pipes.
With the loss, the Phantoms fell to 51-29-15 and trail Indiana by one point for second place in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Dubuque is only one point behind the Phantoms and this race for second, third, and fourth places looks to be heading down to the wire.
The Phantoms will now travel to Chicago to face an Ice team that has been pretty well removed from the playoffs and has nothing to lose. On the other hand, Youngstown needs the points and will have to put their best skate forward.