Dominic Basse plays the puck in a 4-2 loss to the Green Bay Gamblers Saturday night.Basse Plays the Puck! - Dominic Basse plays the puck in a 4-2 loss to the Green Bay Gamblers Saturday night.
 

You can't expect to win them all playing from behind. We seem to have this expectation that going into the third 1 or 2 goals down is a good idea. It's worked the previous two games at the Covelli prior to last night. It did not work last night.

The game started off a little better than Friday I thought. However, at the 10:09 mark, Kyler Grundy hit Ryan O'Rielly with a nice pass from the left faceoff circle to the right for a one-timer that Dominic Basse had no chance on. That was all the scoring in the opening frame and the Phantoms outshot the Gamblers by a slim 7-6 margin.

The Phantoms got on the board early off a powerplay when Aiden Gallacher stepped into a loose puck and launched a blistering slap shot that beat the Gamblers goaltender Nicholas Grabko. I don't know if Grabko was screened or not but he probably would have had a hard time with the heavy shot even if he had a clean lane in front of him.

The Gamblers got the next two goals. First, the Gambers Tyler Pauquette tapped a rebound from the side of the crease out to the slot for defenseman Dylan Moulten, and Dominic Basse was not able to change position in time to square up at 8:57. At 13:57 Nicholas Zabaneh fired a wrist shot from the slot on a breakaway, O'Rielly hitting him with a pass after he got behind John Larkin.

The Youngstown Phantoms and Green Bay Gamblers will be a lot better acquainted after playing 3 games in 3 days. The Phantoms won the first in OT, 4-3.Up Close & Personal! - The Youngstown Phantoms and Green Bay Gamblers will be a lot better acquainted after playing 3 games in 3 days. The Phantoms won the first in OT, 4-3.
 

The Phantoms have had their struggles this season. To highlight two of these, let's go back to the weekend of November 29-30, a road trip to Wisconsin where we played Green Bay and Madison. This was the last time we won a game we scored first in, and the last time we won consecutive games this season before last night. After meeting the Green Bay Gamblers at home for the first time this season, at least one of those droughts is over.

It wasn't about scoring the first goal, that one goes to the Gamblers. Green Bay's Camden Thiesing, on a 3-on-2, brought the puck into the Phantoms zone and passed to Jarrett Lee who one-timed one through Dominic Basse but rang it off the post. Basse overslid trying to make the save on the shot and was nowhere near the front of the cage when Jake Schmaltz tapped it in at 5:13. 

The Gamblers went into intermission up 2-0 after adding a goal by Tyler Paqutte who redirected a shot in the slot from John Prokop off a clean faceoff win in the Phantoms zone. Shots were 11-8 Gamblers after the first period.

Green Bay quickly added to that in the second. Camden Thiesing using his speed again, this time to get around Nikolai Jenson, and walk in on Basse. Basse appeared to make the initial save as Thiesing pulled up but the puck sat in the crease for a split second as Basse tried to block as much of the net as possible. It wasn't enough, and Thiesing tapped it in at 0:59. 

Dominic Basse flashes the glove as he makes the save in a 5-3 win over the Tri-City Storm.Gloved! - Dominic Basse flashes the glove as he makes the save in a 5-3 win over the Tri-City Storm.

The Phantoms were not happy with the way they played on Friday night. If you needed evidence of that, it was on display last night in the rematch. For the second consecutive week, the Phantoms managed to earn a split in a weekend series after a poor showing the the first game. This week it was the Tri-City Storm, a team that is hard to generate offense against.

The Phantoms came out flying in the first. They played with a lot more energy and more importantly, they played with a lot more purpose. Puck support looked to be remarkably better early on, multiple players converging on the puck instead of watching one guy try to pull it out of a crowd of Storm players.

Despite the increased effort, the Storm struck first. Phantoms defenseman Artyom Borshyov got trapped deep in the Storm zone as the puck went back up ice. Forward Georgi Merkulov was unable to keep up with speedy forward Matthew Knies, and the puck carrier, Chase McLean, slid the puck over to Knies in the slot for a one-timer that beat Dominic Basse at 11:30. That didn't take too much of the starch out of the Phantom's sails, but a late PP goal by Cole McWard, hammering home a loose puck from the left faceoff circle with :26 left in the period, didn't help. Shots were 9-4 Tri-City after the first.