Gamblers Weekend Primer: Youngstown Phantoms, Feb. 15-16

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Dropping two competitive matchups against Sioux Falls this past weekend, the Gamblers will return home for a two-game set against the Youngstown Phantoms Feb. 21-22. The two-game weekend set will start Green Bay’s longest homestand (9 consecutive games) of the regular season, with games against Omaha, Cedar Rapids, Fargo and Indiana to follow. Both clubs split the two regular season games at the beginning of the season.

Let’s get an in-depth look at the matchup. Follow myself @alecdopp and @GamblersHockey on Twitter for coverage this week and throughout both games this weekend.

Season Series: Green Bay 1-0-1, Youngstown 1-0-1
2012-2013 Series: Green Bay 5-1-0, Youngstown 1-5-0
Record vs. Youngstown under Derek Lalonde: 10-2-2
Record @ home vs. Youngstown since 2011: 5-1-0

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Team Season Stats
Green Bay: 21-17-6 record (.545 WPCT) | 48 team PTS (fourth in Eastern Conference)
Youngstown: 11-27-5 record (.314 WPCT) | 27 team PTS (eighth in Eastern Conference)

Categorical Leaders
Points: GB Nick Schmaltz (43), YST Kyle Connor (53)
Goals: GB Kevin Irwin (16), YST J.J Piccinich (23)
Assists: GB Nick Schmaltz (33), YST Kyle Connor (33)

Goaltender Comparison
Jared Rutledge (GB): 20-12-4 record | 2.76 GAA | .910% save rate | 27.9 SV/G (36 GP)
Cam Hackett (GB): 1-5-4 record | 2.57 GAA | .908% save rate | 21.7 SV/G (10 GP)
Colin DeAugustine (YST): 5-7-4 record | 3.50 GAA | .881% save rate | 23.3 SV/G (20 GP)
Sean Romero (YST): 5-16-0 record | 3.62 GAA | .881% save rate | 24.3 SV/G (21 GP)

Storylines to Watch

  •  Shaky Between the Pipes — Youngstown may well be the worst goaltending unit in the league to this point of the season, owning league-worst marks in save rate (.869) and goals allowed on average (3.98). They’ve been better of late, however, posting a save rate of .902% and goals allowed average of 2.80 over their last five games, which have powered them to wins over Muskegon and Des Moines.
  • Offensive Woes — The Gamblers have been one of the better offensive units in the USHL this season, but have struggled to convert their shots recently — converting on just 6.9% of their shots over their last 10 games. Their season mark remains at .106, but has been on a slight decline due to three shutout droughts offensively over their last seven contests.

Game Briefs

9/27/13 — Green Bay 4, Youngstown 3 (OT) — In a game that featured three lead changes in regulation, the Gamblers came out on top thanks in part to a Nick Schmaltz overtime score. Schamaltz scored twice in the contest, while Green Bay goaltender Jared Rutledge saved 19 of Youngstown’s 22 shots en route to his second victory of the season.

9/28/13 — Youngstown 3, Green Bay 2 (OT) — The second game of the weekend set didn’t disappoint, as both clubs traded of goals in the second and third period, which sent the game into overtime once more. Kiefer Sherwood found Alex Smith in the overtime period for Youngstown, however, which sealed the victory for the Phantoms. Cam Hackett played all 61:18 of the game in goal for Green Bay, saving 30 of Youngstown’s 33 shots. 

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