The Phantoms played the second game of the weekend less than 24 hours after the 9-3 loss to the U18 squad. The question was would the U17 squads age and inexperience make up for the fatigue of the quick turnaround. It did in a lot of ways, just not in one area. That area was the Phantoms goaltending. It was a brutal continuation for Jake Moore, surrendering another 7 goals on 35 shots with no relief coming from the bench with Scott Trellis backing him up. The only info I have on Trellis is that he's in the 1996 birth year class and playes on the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite ( MM U16) last year.
Offensively, there was a lot of fireworks from both sides not just the Phantoms. The boys from Youngstown opened the scoring just over four minutes into the game with a Kyle Connor goal, his first of two in the period and on the evening. USA responded with a pair of goals before Blake Christensen scored to even it up and Connor rounded the period out with his second, with just a bit under 3 minutes to go.
The second period is when things went horribly wrong for the Phantoms. After Kiefer Sherwood and JJ Pichinich scored goals with the NTDP kids getting one in between, the Phantoms gave up shorthanded goals on back-to-back powerplays to let USA even up the score. Any life the Phantoms had seemed to have been sucked out completely. Worse still, with a little more than an minute and a half things looked really bleak as the NTDP scored another one to put them up by a goal. However, Luke Stork picked off the puck and broke in on the young USA goalie one-on-one and buried one high into the twine with :41 left in the period.
The final frame the Phantoms just ran out of gas. USA scored less than five minutes into the period and despite a few awesome chances, the Phantoms were unable to answer it. The best chance was when Tyler Spezia made a nice feed to spring Kyle Connor on a breakaway for an bid to get his first USHL hat trick. USAs goalie Luke Olpika, their backup who came in relief of Michael Lackey to start the 3rd, was up to the challenge.
This left the Phantoms on the losing side of the scorecard for the second time in less than 24 hours. The bottom line is Jake Moore put up abysmal numbers again and our defense did very little to bail him out. Both will have to improve for long term success, even when Sean Romeo returns.