Green Bay Gets By Youngstown, 4-3, In A Thriller

It was a special Friday the 13th at the Covelli Centre. There were bombs and fireworks, Joey Fatone and Guy Fieri, and the Youngstown Phantoms and Green Bay Gamblers providing spectacular USHL Hockey action in front of a good crowd. There was a lot at stake in this game. If the Phantoms could get a win, they would be playing for first place against idle Chicago on Saturday.   Unfortunately, the home team came up a bit short in dropping a 4-3  verdict to the visiting Gamblers.

The Green Bay Gamblers took a 1-0 lead with just 45 seconds left in the first period. Ryan Furne connected to beat Matt Mahalak from 15 feet in a mad flurry of action on an unassisted chance. The first period would come to a close as Green Bay outshot Youngstown 13-8.

After a Richard Young fight riled the crowd up a bit, Jefferson Dahl connected on a power play goal to tie the game at the 4:50 mark of the second. For Dahl, it was his fourth goal on the year and he was assisted by Andrej Sustr. For Young, the season total on penalty minutes climbed to 60, most by a Phantom. I am going to buy him his own camera to snap me some photos when they move his locker plate to the box.

Green Bay reclaimed the lead when Anders Lee scored his second goal in as many games at the16:57 mark.

The lead would be short lived as Green Bay went on the power play and Brett Gensler connected for a shorthanded goal. The goal was Gensler’s ninth, ironically tying him with Lee for second in the USHL for second. Lee had scored his ninth just seconds earlier for Green Bay. At the end of two periods, the score was tied at 2 and the stage was set for a thunderous ending.


During the second intermission, Guy Fieri of cooking fame, hosted a meatball eating contest at mid-ice. Joey Fatone was also nearby,  but incognito, disguised as the Phantoms Mascot (see above right). The two celebrities made appearances and mingled with fans throughout the evening.  On the left, Fatone is pictured with Phantoms President, Alex Zoldan.

With 8 minutes left in the game, Richard Young was ejected for fighting, With Matt Stewart serving a Green Bay penalty and the teams playing four-on-four, Anders Lee scored again to give the Gamblers a 3-2 lead at the 12:09 mark.

With 3:22 left in the game, the Gamblers took advantage of a two-man advantage to increase their lead to 4-2. David Makowski scored on the Gambler power play and was assisted by Mr. Everywhere for Green Bay, Anders Lee.

A minute and eight seconds later the Phantoms scored to make it 4-3. The goal was scored by Joe Zarbo who was assisted by Brian Dowd on a successful power play conversion. The Covelli Centre was jumping as the Phantoms had a chance to pull off an unlikely comeback with 1:38 remaining.

Green Bay held off the mad charge to come away with a hard-fought victory. The Gamblers took 27 shots on goal as compared to the Phantoms 23.

After the game, Coach Bob Mainhardt was not upset with his team’s effort.  “I’m not uspset at all.  Quite frankly, it was probably the best 60 minutes we have played in a long time.  If we can continue to play with that level of effort we will be just fine.  We will take the positives out of this tonight and turn it against Chicago tomorrow.  Our guys aren’t real happy that they played so hard and came away the loser tonight.”

First place Chicago is rolling into town atop the standings.  Tomorrow is a special night and in my eyes, the most important promotion of the year.  A donation of $3 for every ticket sold will be donated to the Luke Holko Foundation.  Please make an effort to attend this game to assist the Holko family during a very rough time.  I will have my blue “Pray For Luke” armband on, stop by and say hello.

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