Photo by mjoy Photography
Despite giving up the game-tying goal in the final minute of regulation, the Youngstown Phantoms registered a 3-2 win in overtime of Saturday night’s Game 2 of the 2018 Clark Cup Final at Scheels Arena, evening the best-of-five series at one game apiece. Nicholas Cardelli capped a three-point night by scoring the game-winning goal on a partial breakaway at the 6:32 mark of overtime.
In the first period, Fargo quadrupled Youngstown in shots (16-4) and power play opportunities (4-1), but the game remained scoreless after 20 minutes of play.
Fargo defenseman John Schuldt opened the scoring at the 4:24 mark of the second period, as the puck was determined to have been jammed over the goal line after video review.
Fargo opens the scoring after video review results in overturning the call on the ice. Looks like puck slid just over the goal line before Prosvetov's left leg kicked it back out. Credit the goal to D John Schuldt (Minnetonka, MN/UNO).— Rob Sanderson (@RobSandersonPxP) May 13, 2018
The Phantoms found the tying marker less than four minutes later with Cardelli’s first goal of the night, a back-door tip off a feed from Max Ellis. The power play goal was scored at 8:16.
Youngstown then grabbed its first lead of the weekend thanks to captain Eric Esposito, who received a pass from Cardelli, skated in on a breakaway and buried a backhand shot past Fargo netminder Strauss Mann’s blocker.
The Phantoms’ lead lasted until the final minute of regulation. While shorthanded, Mann headed to the bench for an extra attacker, and Fargo’s Griffin Loughran found the puck in the slot and fired a shot over Youngstown goaltender Ivan Prosvetov’s glove with 52.6 seconds remaining, forcing overtime.
In overtime, the Phantoms outshot the Force 6-2. Youngstown defenseman Liam Dennison created a turnover, allowing Joey Abate to bring the puck out of the defensive zone and feed a pass through neutral ice to Cardelli. Cardelli caught up to the puck in the left circle, pushed it to his forehand and slid a shot under Mann’s pads for the winner.
Fargo outshot Youngstown 38-27. The Phantoms went 1-for-4 on the power play and stopped all seven Force opportunities on the man advantage. Games 3 and 4 take place Friday and Saturday nights, May 18-19, at Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio, with puck drop set for 7:05 PM ET both nights. If a Game 5 is necessary, the series will shift back to Fargo on Wednesday, May 23.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 16th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2017-18. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in five consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.