YOUNGSTOWN – Clad in their blue and orange SteelHounds threads, the Youngstown Phantoms took the second of a three-game set, beating the Muskegon Lumberjacks 4-3.
Despite the win, coach Brad Patterson said the team looked flat for the early parts of the game.
That being said, the Phantoms buckled down when they needed to. The Phantoms were outshot 37-18, but made the most of what they took.
“I thought it was pretty flat for probably 25-30 minutes there,” Patterson said. “Some special teams became involved and I did not feel like either team really generated a ton when they were a man up. There weren’t a ton of fluid plays being made and then through the second, I felt like we were on our heels for the majority.
“The guys held the fort. We got a timely goal. We did not get a ton of opportunities there. In the third I thought we played a little bit more on our toes, just forced plays more and also we were better with the puck. … Not the prettiest game, but we’ve been on the opposite end of that multiple times. “
Winnipeg native Kyle Bettens potted two goals on the night, one in the first and the other in the second period.
“He’s a powerful skating forward and he gets rewarded by putting the puck in the net,” Patterson said.
Grant Porter and Garrett Wright each scored in the third period.
As the time wound down, Muskegon pulled their goaltender to go up a man. They peppered Phantoms goaltender Jacob Fowler for the final few minutes, sneaking by him once.
After that surrendered goal, the Clarkson commit held the fort down and kept the game from going to an extra period. He finished the night with 34 saves.
“Especially I felt like the last couple of minutes in the second, they controlled play quite a bit and he made some big stops,” Patterson said about his goaltender. “I felt like it was those last two or three minutes he was making some big ones.
“Kenta (Isogai) had a big block, a couple blocks from our D and you need that. It was a playoff-like game. Neither of the teams coming this weekend thought it was going to be a walk through and dominate for long stretches. You expect that up and down a little bit over the course of the weekend. ”
The nostalgic feeling was there for Patterson, seeing his team in the old uniforms, but quickly shifted back to normal when the puck dropped.
The most important thing of bringing these two eras of Youngstown hockey together, is a part of Patterson’s continuing push to build a culture with his teams.
“Right when they stepped onto the ice but then it was like then you do not notice it a ton,” he said. “It brings back memories, but not during the game for me. The biggest point for me with our guys is, they do not know anything about that and they should not, but the culture that is there. Our culture now is similar to what our culture was as a player and what the community means to us. ”
The Phantoms go back to black, purple and orange tonight, when they close out the series with Muskegon. Puck drop is set for 4:05 at the Covelli Center.