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Covelli Curse Lifted: Fighting Saints Blank Phantoms

By Jordan Kuhns, 10/21/16, 9:15PM CDT

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Jaxon Castor’s 18 saves steady Dubuque, who have won two of three

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — It had been since October 13, 2012 since the Dubuque Fighting Saints had defeated the Youngstown Phantoms at the Covelli Centre. Add October 21, 2016 as the next time. The Saints received tremendous goaltending from Jaxon Castor, and timely scoring to upend the Phantoms 3-0 on Friday night.

Castor’s second career shutout was surrounded by a 60-minute effort defensively. Youngstown was held to just nine shots on goal through two periods of play. Only two shots found a way to Castor in the second period, and he fended all 18 offerings the Phantoms fired his way. His last shutout was on January 1, 2016 vs. Team USA’s U17s.

His best stop came on Austin Pooley, on a third-period shorthanded rush. He extended the leg pad to deny the veteran forward, and preserved the shutout in the process. The Phantoms had one more chance with time winding down with Alex Esposito, but he ran out of time on the breakaway, and the win was sealed for good.

Youngstown’s penalty kill and high-flying offense seemed to be the overlying stories headed into Friday’s game. That 21-for-21 penalty killing streak ended first, as on the first man advantage of the night, Zach Solow ripped a shot through traffic that beat Phantoms goaltender Darion Hanson clean to start the scoring for Dubuque.

Solow now has goals in three consecutive games for Dubuque, dating back to last Friday in Sioux Falls.

Just six minutes later, Cole Guttman stole the show. A missed shot by defenseman Jeff Baum ricocheted to Guttman behind the net. He took a look and threaded a cross-crease needle to Dallas Gerads, whose tap-in goal was the first of the 2016–17 season, and made it 2-0 Dubuque.

Austin Rueschhoff completed the scoring with his first USHL goal at the 12:41 mark of the second period. Regen Cavanagh centered a pass to a streaking Rueschhoff right through the middle, and he finished on the opportunity. Dubuque’s power play got nine chances on the night, and tallied on two.

The Phantoms, who came into tonight with 30 goals in seven games, and the reigning USHL Forward of the Week in Esposito, could not find a way to muster many chances. They were shut out for the first time all season, and the first time they could not score two goals all season long.

The Saints and the Phantoms will renew their pleasantries at the Covelli Centre on Saturday night, starting at 6:05 p.m. CDT. Join the action on Dubuque’s Super Hits 106.1 FM, or on the USHL’s streaming video provider, HockeyTV, starting at 5:50 p.m.