With their backs against the wall, the Youngstown Phantoms were fighting for survival and trying to force a game five. Through two periods, they did just that. However, the high octane offense of Green Bay came to life when it needed life fast and eliminated Youngstown from the postseason with a 4-1 win.
Following the game three home loss on Tuesday night, Anthony Noreen vowed that his team would come out fighting for their lives and doing all they could to survive. The first-year coach can be proud of the effort his team put forward against ,arguably, a USHL dynasty, in Green Bay.
It only took 1:35 for the Phantoms to nab a 1-0 lead. Mike Ambrosia emerged from some early chaos in front of Green Bay’s Ryan McKay and whizzed it past the Gambler’s netminder to stake the Phantoms to the early lead. Sam Anas earned an assist on Ambrosia’s goal. Unfortunately, the goal would be their last of the year.
Matt O’Connor was a brick wall of resistance through two periods, recording 32 saves. The 6’5″ Phantoms goaltender sent the message to both his teammates and the Green Bay squad that nothing was going in easily.
With the Phantoms ahead 1-0 when the second period buzzer sounded, a frustrated McKay heaved his water bottle across the ice toward the red line. The Phantoms had only taken 14 shots at McKay through the first two periods, but one of those found the underdog Phantoms ahead of his Gamblers.
With 11:26 left in the game, Nolan LaPorte made a nifty move putting the puck through a Phantoms defenseman’s legs, skating around, and then bursting toward O’Connor and finishing by hitting the inside of the right post for a Gamblers goal.
Typical of Green Bay, the next goal came fast. With 7:37 left in the game, Sam Herr gave Green Bay its first lead of the game. Alex Broadhurst and Jordan Schmaltz were credited with assists on Herr’s tally.
Grant Arnold and Herr knocked in empty-netters to cap the scoring.
The Phantoms accomplished a great deal in Noreen’s first season and this franchise has so much to look forward to with him leading the charge.