Archive for December, 2009
Youngstown State faced off against a lesser-known yet qualitive opponent on Wednesday night at Beeghly Center. Robert Morris already had a victory against Cleveland State on the road and looked to knock off another Horizon League team in the Penguins. Free throw shooting (65.7%) and rebounding proved to be enough for Robert Morris (5-7 ) to prevail 72-67.
The Penguins and Colonials both seemed in and out of sync in the early moments of the game. Sirlester Martin hit a jumper from just inside the three-point line and a short hook off of the right line of the key to keep YSU down just one point at 5-4 with 15:46 left in the first half.
An Ashen Ward 3-point shot staked the Penguins to a 13-10 lead with 11:15 left in the half. YSU was doing a good job penetrating to this point and had the Robert Morris defense collapsing which allowed better looks from the outside.
The Colonials tied the game at 15 when Dallas Green took a lead pass in the paint and stuffed the ball with both hands. Karon Abraham added three when he was fouled and his reverse layup fell at the 8:21 marker of the first half. Vance Cooksey hit Eddie D’Haiti with a beautiful no-look pass to give the Penguins a 21-20 lead.
Abraham gave Robert Morris its biggest lead of the game at 28-23 with a 15-foot jumper that found nothing but the twine. Coach Slocum called for a timeout to regroup, but a couple of turnovers and cheap fouls prevented a momentum shift as the Colonials went on a 15-2 run to take a 35-23 lead with under two minutes remaining in the first half of play. YSU, however, managed to shave the 12 point lead to nine before the intermission and only trailed 38-29.
Karon Abraham was top banana on both teams in scoring with 14 first-half points for the Colonials. D’Haiti, Ward, and Martin had six apiece for YSU.
At the 16:25 mark of the second half, YSU had dug themselves into an 11-point hole that was going to be hard to crawl out of unless they started doing a better job rebounding on both ends of the court. To this point in the game, the Colonials were just a step ahead, winning the matchup battles and forcing YSU to take shots that they may not have been accustomed to.
A pair of free throws by Green reestablished the double-digit lead that the Penguins seemed unable to cut into. With 11:20 left in the game, the Colonials pushed their lead to 52-39.
Riding the hot hand of Ashen Ward, the Penguins finally sliced the lead to nine with 8:41 to go. The 6’3″ Sophomore from Cleveland first connected on a three from the left arc area, and then converted a steal for a good-hustling two. A Rob Robinson slam put the Colonials back in front by 13 just :38 later at 60-47.
Kelvin Bright’s dunk ignited the crowd and reaped the benefits of a full-court press that was forcing turnovers. With 5:08 left in the game, the Penguins had cut the lead to four points at 61-57 on a DeAndre Mays three. The pressure had the Colonials coming unglued.
Vytas Sulskis buried a three to trim the lead to one. The Penguins tied the contest when Sirlester Martin hit the second of two free throws. With four minutes left it was a new game as the two squads were knotted at 61 points each. The teams exchanged points and remained tied at 65 with 2:21 left in the game. The crowd was really into the game and chanting defense with every Colonials possession.
Abraham, who led all scorers with 20, first knocked the ball away from Cooksey and then converted a layup to give the Colonials a 69-67 lead with just :33 to go in the contest for his team-high 18th point. After Robert Morris converted the first of two free throws, YSU regained possession and Sulskis heaved a three for the tie but was an eighth of an inch short. With nine seconds left, YSU had to foul and Abraham missed the first of two. After he missed the second, YSU could not garner the rebound.
Robert Morris had 16 offensive rebounds to Youngstown State’s 8. A dejected Jerry Slocum talked about a flat start and how turning the ball over hurt down the stretch. “We came out and stood around in the first half. I am very, very, disappointed. We come back and take the lead by four and miss two wide open shots and turn the ball over twice. If you want to have a season like we are aspiring to have, you have to make plays when the game is on the line. No one stepped up and made those plays. We gift wrapped it for them.”
YSU (5-7) returns to action Saturday when they face Cleveland State at the Beeghly Center.
The Youngstown Phantoms returned to action following a ten-day layoff, a mandatory break that the USHL takes each year for the Christmas Holiday. The Phanoms unwrapped a 4-3 win over the visiting Waterloo Black Hawks before a good crowd at the Covelli Centre as Jordan Tibbett made 41 saves and Jefferson Dahl was a kneepad shy of a hat trick.
The return to the ice was without Coach Bob Mainhardt who drew a one-game suspension from league headquarters for his outburst in a 9-3 loss against Team USA. Associate Coach and Director of Player Personnel, Curt Carr, played top banana for an evening, a role he is quite capable of.
Mainhardt spoke of his brief vacation. “I got three days off, seemed like an eternity. It was very nice to get some time in with the family, but it’s a little bit painful to watch the game and not have much input as to what is going on. It reinforces some thoughts and brings up other things I may not have seen before. I’ll be back on the bench for the next game.”
The Phantoms struck first as Jefferson Dahl collected a shorthanded goal at the 8:40 mark of the first period. The goal was Dahl’s tenth of the season and eighth time the Phantoms connected with the other team holding a numbers advantage on the season. Dahl stayed hot as this goal marked the fifth game in a row he has hit the back of the opponents netting.
Dahl’s shorthanded score would stand as the lone goal of the first period. The Phantoms were outshot 13-9 in the opening period thanks in part to Waterloo drawing four penalties against the Phantoms. Despite the penalties, Youngstown, behind Jordan Tibbett, was able to keep the Black Hawks off of the scoreboard.
The Phantoms would tally again at the 10:41 mark of the second period courtesy of Tom Serratore. Serratore’s goal was assisted by Dahl and David Donnellan and was a successful powerplay conversion. Serratore beat Waterloo goaltender CJ Motte with a short-range blast for his eighth goal of the season.
At the 16:30 mark of the second period, Dahl collected his second goal of the evening. Dahl was assisted by Stuart Higgins and Richard Young on the even-strength score, which put Youngstown up 3-0.
Waterloo managed to score at the 18:39 mark of the second period on their own powerplay goal to cut the lead to 3-1. Brock Monpetit capitalized for Waterloo with assistes from Nick Sorkin and Soren Jonzzon.
Scott Mayfield connected on another powerplay goal for the Phantoms at the 9:01 mark of the third period to regain the three goal lead. Goalee Jordan Tibbett picked up the rare offensive assist on Mayfield’s fifth of the year.
Jonzzon cut the lead to 4-2 at the 10:12 mark of the third with an even-strength goal. The assists went to Nick Ebert and Jamie Hill as the Black Hawks showed no signs of throwing in the towel.
The Black Hawks again scored to cut the fast-evaporating lead to 4-3. Ebert connected from 10 feet as Tibbett had already stopped over 40 shots in the game but could not stop the rocket fired by Ebert.
The Phantoms held on to improve to 13-11-2 on the season. Waterloo dipped to 9-15-1. Tibbett stopped 44 shots in garnering the win between the pipes. Goodness, nothing is easy.
Jefferson Dahl, who will play hockey for Wisconsin next season, is on a roll. “Before Christmas break, we kind of went into a slump, so it felt real good to win the first game back after the break. I am on a great line and have had good chances. It just felt great to help get a win.”
Richard Young Tilt-O-Meter:
Coming Into 12/29 Game: 118 Penalty Minutes (Leads USHL)
Following 12/29 Game: 120 Penalty Minutes
Young was a jovial host during warmups as he chatted it up with members of the visiting Waterloo Black Hawks. He was almost surely filled with some leftover Christmas spirit.
The peaceful and festive Richard Young that we are unaccustomed to was gone by the time the third period began as Young picked up a two-minute minor at the 5:02 mark. However, that would be it. Merry Christmas, Waterloo.
Cleveland has recently announced that Mike Holmgren is the new Browns Team President. The deal was very generous as the former Packers and Seahawks Coach is set to make $10 million per year. Some say it is a great move because Holmgren is battle-tested and knows the steps that have to be taken. Here are five reasons why Holmgren will ultimately fail in Cleveland:
Early success by the Browns over the next couple of years will have people chirping about what a great job Holmgren is doing. Naive people take notice, this is a case of ‘Bill Parcells Syndrome’, when you go somewhere that is rock bottom and have moderate success and the media calls you a genius for “turning things around“. Nothing stays the same. If the Browns finish 2009 with three or four wins, and the Holmgren group goes 8-8 next season, fans will be yapping their praise toward Holmgren.
- The Browns did not check the references. Didn’t this experiment already happen in Seattle? Holmgren was paid generously by a city that had never won much and got a Seahawks team to the Super Bowl, as a coach. With the fancy GM/President hat on his head in Seattle, Holmgren floundered until he was placed exclusively on the sidelines to coach. A month later, and what I sensed as fear of not being able to get close to the success of the Super Bowl Seahawks team, you started hearing Holmgren say he wanted off of the sidelines and was just tired of coaching.
- He needs to make moves now, if he is going to make any. Will Eric Mangini be back as the coach? Will Brady Quinn return as a quarterback? A Starter? Will Josh Cribbs, all 180 pounds of him, get moved to running back? (Brilliant move Browns fans. You might as well bring back Michael Dean Perry to return kickoffs since Cribbs is busy.) If Holmgren plans on making changes, he needs to make them at around 4:05 PM on January 3rd when the regular season comes to an end. In the typical Browns draft style of what feels like picking names out of a hat, Holmgren needs to pick one side of the ball to beef up for next season, probably the needier of the two, defense. Draft a good linebacker from USC instead of passing on him twice so he can destroy you twice a year in Cincinnati.
- No Brett Favre. Brett Favre was in his prime when Holmgren had him in Green Bay. Now, at age 40, Favre is leading a Minnesota team and has had his name thrown around in the MVP circles. Did Holmgren underachieve with Favre in Green Bay? You bet he did. Favre was the perfect cornerstone to build a team around and there just wasn’t enough winning going on, yet one Super Bowl victory with Reggie White, Sterling Sharpe, and of course Favre made him a “good coach”.
- Keep the wallet open. Holmgren will probably can Mangini. Who is next, Urban Meyer? The Browns will then be paying several coaches instead of one. Romeo Crennel is still on the payroll, Mangini would surely collect a check for a few more years, Holmgren is now making rock star money, and whomever is selected to lead the fiasco next year will be handsomely rewarded. Will there be any money left to pay players with?
Sorry Browns fans, I wish the future had something for you. If you are content with making the playoffs a couple of times over the next five seasons then rejoice, that plan is now in place. If you wanted to exceed just making the playoffs, then be bitter about the hiring of Mike Holmgren.
One of the most eventful parts of the boxing card held at Beeghly Center was the pro debut of Chris ‘Christo’ Hazimihalis. Hazimihalis received a warm greeting from the very partial hometown crowd.
Admittedly, Hazimihalis came out nervous and tentative. “I had some jitters, but once I got in there and started mixing it up, I got more comfortable. It was a learning experience and now I know better what to expect. I am going to get back into the gym and keep working on things to get better.”
The untested Hazimihalis faced Norman Allen of Toledo. Coming into the fight, Allen was winless in six pro fights.
The first round was tentative until Hazimihalis landed a flurry near his corner. Allen was swinging wildly and missing Hazimahalis. Hazimihalis was active enough to win the round, connecting with much better accuracy than Allen.
The second round also went to the local rookie. Hazimihalis landed several big blows throughout the round, hurting Allen a couple of times. The judges had to see it as a 10-8 round for Hazimihalis.
About a minute into the third round, Allen went to knee after a Hazimihalis flurry and that would be enough. Allen was unable to take the wave of activity that Christo was serving him and the fight would end with a third round TKO.
Hazimihalis is trained by Jack Loew who said he saw good and bad in a typical professional debut. “Chris Hazimihalis is a young kid with a limited amateur background, maybe 35 or 40 fights. He showed some ring generalship out there tonight and he didn’t get carried away. He got a little lazy for awhile, but it was his first fight and he stopped a kid who didn’t want to fight back.”
Kelly Pavlik returned home to get back in the ring and defend his championships against Miguel Espino. Pavlik needed to have a good showing to merit the favor of his critics. The mission was accomplished, at least partially. Pavlik used his power, body shots, and some timely uppercuts to turn away the challenger Espino in front of 3,407 fans at Youngstown State’s Beeghly Center.
Pavlik entered the arena with what has become his trademark music – KORN – blaring through Youngstown’s Beeghly Center. The ovation was authentic and the city that fell in love with a fighter had that special feeling again. Pavlik entered the ring looking hungry.
Pavlik worked hard the first round as Espino was fighting back. This was a mistake that Espino pointed out at the post-fight press conference. “I got away from the plan. The plan was originally to avoid going toe-to-toe and exchange blows with Kelly. He hit me a couple of times but never really hurt me. Respectfully, I don’t think he was at his best tonight.” For four rounds, Espino tried to exchange blows with Pavlik, and landed plenty of good shots of his own, but ultimately the firepower Pavlik’s punches contained were too much for the challenger.
Espino got a point deducted for hitting after the first round bell.
In the second round, Espino proved he was more than just happy to be in Youngstown by landing a couple of solid shots. Pavlik was pounding on Espino’s body throughout round two. Espino was behind two rounds to none. A small cut was noticable under the right eye of Pavlik. The other thing that was obvious was that the Espino Camp stressed blocking the overhand right – Pavlik’s mealticket. ‘The Ghost’ sought alternatives and came up with a couple of uppercuts in between vicious body punches.
Give Espino credit, he was here to fight. He was fighting Pavlik’s style and exchanging blows. Pavlik connected with a good right that started some blood pouring out of the nose of Espino mid-round. Espino was again warned for throwing punches below the belt. There was not alot of dancing and jabbing taking place to this point, just alot of leather flying at both fighters. After three, Pavlik was up three rounds to none in what was by far the closest round.
The fifth round was when Pavlik cashed in on all of those previous body shots. Pavlik nailed Espino with another and Espino took a knee, ala Gary Lockett. After regaining posture with the count at eight, the two boxers were throwing again. A sharp Pavlik uppercut dazed Espino and a nice combination that followed floored the challenger. As Espino struggled to regain his balance and barely beat the count, his corner threw in the towel to avoid serious injury.
The win hoists Pavlik’s record to 36-1 with 32 KOs. Espino fell to 20-3-1 with the loss.
Bob Arum, the man in charge at Top Rank, made a pretty strong statement directed toward the Paul Williams camp after the fight. “Kelly couldn’t go through with the [Williams] fight because of the injuries to his hand, he couldn’t even make a fist. They couldn’t wait and wanted to go ahead with a fight on December 5. Williams nearly got licked and many feel he lost that fight. We have got a signed contract that is truly no longer valid. All they have to do if they want to fight Kelly Pavlik is initial that contract and send it to me and the first available date that HBO has, we will do the fight.”
Pavlik was happy to return to action and vowed to be busier in 2010. “I felt more comfortable as the fight went on. The off time I had was not spent relaxing or doing things I enjoy. I couldn’t lift anything heavier than a half gallon of milk for six weeks, so the time spent in Vegas to train was me playing ‘catch-up’. I want the Williams fight. The reason I fought Bernard Hopkins was because the Williams camp pulled out. If we can’t get Williams, we will look toward Felix Sturm or someone else. I want to take about three weeks off and then resume training. Ideally, I would like to have three fights in a year.”
With Kelly Pavlik getting ready to defend his championships Saturday, I leaf around the internet looking for articles. There is so much negative stuff written about Pavlik because he is not fighting Paul Williams. Instead, the opponent is little-known, but ranked, Miguel Espino. The thing that surprised me most was the negativity directed toward Jack Loew and comments about how much grander Pavlik would be if he shook Loew away.
I don’t buy it for a minute. Emanuel Steward is like a pimp. He has many people with high profile matches in his stable. Is it really possible for him to channel his best effort to each and every guy he trains? I have not seen Mr. Steward in too many winning corners lately unless he is working for HBO and doing a post-fight interview with the victor.
Who else? Mayweather? The guy can’t even work with his own family (until recently, again).
OK… point taken. Jack Loew does blacktop work in the Summer. That fact was spotted in at least every fourth article Google lined up when I searched. SO WHAT? Loew is a person who also runs a gym and has an upcoming stable of local talent to heed notice of. Not only that, but he can focus on Pavlik as his big gun. I’m in no way downplaying what Pavlik has accomplished, but c’mon, give credit where it is due. Who knows where Kelly would be if he was just another one of Steward’s fighters?
Jack Loew will succeed with another fighter in the sport of boxing. I have said it before and I will say it again, he is no one-trick pony. He loves what he does and is more successful than most trainers in the sport, Pavlik’s gold is the proof.
Before anyone opens their mouth about Jack Loew being the beneficiary of geographic proximity, think again. Loew is a boxing trainer with a pretty darn good record. Bravo!
The first conversation I ever had with Luke Eibler took place in the elevator at The Covelli Centre before a Youngstown Phantoms game. Granted, there are not many things you can talk about with someone you do not know when descending one floor in an elevator. However, one floor on that elevator is like ten floors on a normal one, it has to be one of the world’s slowest. I had seen this guy the night before wearing a suit and filming the game. I assumed he was a paid member of the Phantoms video team. The next night, as I struck up some matter-of-a-fact conversation, the young man informed me that he couldn’t wait to get back on the ice. The guy I met that night has always smiled and said hello since, drawn praise from his coaches and fellow Phantoms, and is probably the most humble athlete (with amazing upside) I have ever spoken with. That young man is Luke Eibler, and here are the highlights of our recent talk.
Paneech: Talk about how you first got into playing hockey.
Eibler: My father was never really big, so when I was about two years old he put me on the ice figuring I didn’t have to be huge to skate or play hockey. I have been playing hockey since, and I really love the sport.
Paneech: Talk about your future at Northeastern University and beyond.
Eibler: I’m excited about Northeastern. They have great coaching and there are alot of guys who can really play the game attending that school. Three years ago they only won three games and last year they won 25. If by some chance I got drafted, I would want to go to college for a couple of years. As an NHL defenseman, I would need to bulk up a bit, I’m just not big enough yet.
Paneech: How did you end up in a Phantoms uniform?
Eibler: Last year I played for Victory Honda. I played in a few tournaments and did well. In the Futures Draft, Indiana picked me and I got traded to Youngstown six days before training camp. Me and [Scott] Mayfield got traded to the Phantoms for Nick Madsen.
Paneech: Tell me how you injured your shoulder and how you are dealing with returning.
Eibler: I have hurt it twice. The first time, Nick Czinder hit me over the bench at practice. I broke a bone and was out for three weeks. I came back, played a few games, and my AC joint in the same shoulder got messed up and I missed a couple more weeks. It really hurt a couple of weeks ago, but it feels 100% now. I am hitting with my left shoulder more. I feel like I get more power when I skate off of my right foot and deliver a blow with my left shoulder.
Paneech: What is a harder skill, checking or digging the puck out of a crowd?
Eibler: Coming up to a guy, you always want to lead with your stick to poke the puck out and then follow through with your body afterwards.
Paneech: Describe the living situation. Do you guys all stay with a host family?
Eibler: We all live with host families. You either live with another player or by yourself. Some people live with two other guys. They [host families] have rooms for us. I live by myself in Poland. It is a very different experience because I have never lived with another family before. I am already graduated, so I will go work out and be on the ice until at least 3:30 pretty much every single day.
Paneech: Coach Mainhardt talks about “sticking to the gameplan” and is awfully frustrated after you guys lose usually saying someone did not follow instructions. How do these people get sidetracked?
Eibler: Sometimes guys can get off of the gameplan. Most of the time we try to stick to what the coaches are telling us. You have to forecheck and backcheck. If you stick to the system, you win more than you lose. When guys do their own thing like skating out of lines or throwing the puck around, it creates turnovers , 2-on-1, and 3-on-2 situations.
Paneech: What are your statistical goals for the year?
Eibler: If I could put up 20 points I would be happy. As a defenseman, you are looking to pass more than shoot and my stats are pretty uneven right now. I have three powerplay goals, but I do not look for shots too often. All of these guys have pretty good skills, but the forwards are much more skilled than the defenseman are. If we can hit them with a breakout pass or catch them wide, it lets them do their work. Sometimes defenseman shoot and the forwards crash the net.
Paneech: Explain all of the stuff I see going on behind the curtain and before a game. I have seen people sprinting, throwing Nerf balls around, soccer balls flying, and playing hackey-sack. Are these things to keep your mind free or loosen you up before a game?
Eibler: They are just warmup activities to keep the guys loose. You have to go into the game loose. You have to be focused, but you also have to be loose. You never want to go into a game uptight.
One Word Answers
Favorite Meal Of The Day: Dinner.
Favorite TV Show: Family Guy.
Favorite NHL Player: Joe Sakic.
Biggest Phobia: Feet.
Worst Habit: Taking a game too seriously.
Favorite Toy As A Child: My bow and arrow.
Favorite Musician: Kenny Chesney.
Favorite Holiday: Christmas.
Favorite Soft Drink: Arizona Iced Tea (Tropical).
Other Sport You Watch Besides Hockey: College Football.
A Couple Of Words That Describe Coach Mainhardt: Good Guy.
*** A note of interest. Eibler grew up near Ann Arbor, Michigan. When I asked the one-word answer about a sport besides hockey to which he responded ‘college football’, I was forced to ask, and yes Youngstown, I am sorry to inform you that he is a Michigan fan.
Being halfway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, I always seem to hear more from the Steelers fans. I do not really like or dislike either team, but the Steeler fans who have run their mouths for the past twelve months (on their latest run) sicken me.
I respect the way that the Rooney Family does their thing. They don’t indulge in the free agent market, nor do they re-sign many of their players who become free agents. They use a system to recycle a philosophy instead of players.
The Browns, on the other hand, spend all kinds of money on the wrong free agents, have an unstable front office, and seem to pull names out of a hat on draft day. On one cold Thursday night in Cleveland, I wanted the Browns to win.
What made Cleveland’s 13-6 win so satisfying to me was that I didn’t have to hear the fans of either team. The 2-11 Browns fans are probably pissed that their team blew draft position for a win, albeit against the hated Steelers.
The usually arrogant Steeler fans were nowhere to be found this past weekend. When you happen to see a known Steeler fan and call them out, they heavily rely on history and “six rings”. The past is done. What have you done for me lately? It is now hockey season in Pittsburgh. Those defending champs should fare better than the Steelers did this season.
The most verbal feedback I ever took from the locals was when three weeks ago, right here on this website, I predicted that Pittsburgh would not make the playoffs. Everywhere I went, I caught an earful. That earful has taken a sharp decrescendo with each passing week. Sorry Steelers fans, you cannot win all of the time.
Browns fans, you have my sympathy. By beating a half-hearted Steeler team Thursday night, you have probably gained the pleasure of suffering with Eric Mangini and Brady Quinn for a couple of seasons.
It was a rematch of opening night and the first meeting since for the two competing squads. The Youngstown Phantoms were leading that game 2-0 before the Indiana Ice overpowered the expansion hosts, who ended up losing 6-2. Thursday, there had to be revenge on the minds of the Phantoms.
Revenge would have to wait as Indiana shut out Youngstown, 3-0. Goaltender Cab Morris was on his game and held the Phantoms scoreless to earn his third shutout of the season. The Phantoms actually outshot the Ice, but Jordan Tibbett came out on the short end of the stick despite one of his best efforts of the year for the Phantoms.
Each team had a couple of powerplay chances in the first period, but no one managed to score a goal. It marked only the third time that Youngstown played a scoreless first period this season.
At the 7:43 mark of the second period, Bryon Paulazzo scored his sixth of the season to put the Ice up 1-0. Picking up assists on the goal were Nic Dowd and Max Cook. The Paulazzo goal would end up being the lone score of the game after two periods.
Paulazzo connected again in the third period, this time on the powerplay. Paulazzo was assisted by Cook in scoring his second goal of the game at the 6:45 mark of the third period.
For the Ice, Cab Morris was trying for his third shutout of the season between the pipes. At the 17:22 mark, John Parker took a pass from Alexander Kuqali to put the Ice ahead 3-0. All that was left to determine at this point in the game was whether or not Morris could blank the Phantoms.
Morris turned away 22 Phantoms shots to earn his third shutout of the season. Tibbett faced 20 Ice shots and stopped 17.
With the victory, the Ice climbed to 13-8-1 and the Phantoms fell to 10-9-2. The Phantoms take to the road and head to Michigan to play Team USA on Friday and Saturday. All of the action from both games can be heard on AM-1240 with Matt Gajtka calling ’em like he sees ’em.
This was not the way Coach Bob Mainhardt wanted to start the three-day stretch of games. “We lost too many one-on-one battles tonight and they [Indiana] just wanted it more. It’s obviously not how we wanted to start this stretch, but we will have to bounce back and show some maturity. We know we will have to play better if we are going to het a couple of wins against Team USA”.
Richard Young Tilt-O-Meter:
Coming into 12/10 game vs Indiana: 114 Penalty Minutes (USHL Leader).
After 12/10 game vs Indiana: 116 Minutes.
In the first period, Young actually drew a penalty against the visiting Ice and almost blew his stack, but was restrained before the gloves could fly. Indiana had the second lowest penalty minute total in the league coming into Youngstown. Young picked up a two minute minor in the third period for roughing, but no takers on scrapping.
The Youngstown Phantoms stretched their regular season record to 4-0 against the Chicago Steel. Matt Mahalak gave up one late goal which spoiled his shutout bid, but the offense had enough to get him the win in taking down the Steel 3-1 in a game marred by a mele for the ages in the third period. Tom Serratore (pictured), the #1 Star of The Game had a goal and an assist.
The Phantoms got on the scoreboard first at the 16:35 mark of the first period as Taylor Holstrom connected just to Chicago Goaltender Nick Pisellini’s stick side. Holstrom’s sixth on the season was assisted by Brett Gensler and Ben Paulides. The goal would be the only score by either team in the first period and the Phantoms would take a 1-0 lead to the locker room for intermission. The 16 shots on goal that the Phantoms took in the first period tied their season-high, an accomplishment met twice earlier this season.
There was no scoring in the second period. Chicago had two powerplay chances and Youngstown had one, but nobody could find the nets. The Steel outshot the Phantoms 11-5 in the period as Matt Mahalak was stellar between the pipes for Youngstown.
At exactly the 10 minute mark, Adam Berkle got his second goal in as many nights. The goal by Berkle, which extended the Phantoms lead to 2-0, was assisted by Tom Serratore and Brian Dowd.
All hell broke loose when Stuart Higgins and Alex Simonson were set to draw at the right faceoff circle in the Phantoms zone and Simonson opted to sucker punch Higgins instead of trying to win the draw which prompted a pier six brawl with 9:01 left in the game. Ryan Jasinsky was sent off for a ten-minute major minute fighting penalty. Richard Young picked up another five for fighting penalty, an automatic ejection because it was his second fight on the evening. Newcomer Jiri Sekac even got tossed but surely gained the respect of his new Phantoms mates.
At the 15:24 mark of the third, Mark Anthione broke up the Mahalak shutout bid with a goal. Jake Chelios and Andrei Kuchin picked up assists on the goal that cut the Phantoms lead to just a 2-1 margin.
With 3:26 left in the game, the Phantoms Tom Serratore answered off of a nice pass from Nick Czinder. For Serratore, it was his fifth on the year and Czinder picked up his fifth assist of the season to reclaim a two goal lead for the Youngstown Phantoms which is how this one would end.
Coach Bob Mainhardt was very satisfied. “These last two nights were probably the best 120 minutes of hockey we played. Give credit to Matt Mahalak, the kid will be an NHL goaltender someday. I was happy with the complete effort we got tonight.”
Mahalak praised his defense. “They were diving and blocking shots, I was able to see everything that I stopped and that is a credit to the team. We are really starting to pick it up. We knew who their shooters were with Anthione and Wolfe, and what our defense wasn’t blocking I was able to stop for the most part.”
Richard Young Tilt-O-Meter:
Coming into 12/5 Chicago game: 94 Penalty Minutes (USHL Leader)
After the 12/5 Chicago game: 104 Penalty Minutes
A trend with Richard Young has been developing over the past few games. Behave for the first two periods and go nuts in the third. Tonight was no exception as Young and Charlie Thauwald dropped the gloves for a second consecutive night. There were no cheap WWE takedowns in this one as Young and Thauwald traded punches with Young landing the big blow in the end. The result was five more minutes in the box for the USHL leader in penalty minutes. Young was ejected for a second fight giving him ten minutes on the evening. Young spoke after the game saying, “Gotta give the people what they want. They want to see a fight, they like the hitting, and we delivered tonight with both.”