Archive for January, 2011

Youngstown State Falls At UIC, 83-61

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UIC used a strong rebounding effort and converted 85.7 percent of their second-half free throws to defeat the Youngstown State men’s basketball team, 83-61, on Saturday afternoon at the UIC Pavilion.  The Guins were outrebounded by the Flames, 53-26, and UIC made 18-of-21 free throws in the second half to seal its first Horizon League win.

Youngstown State falls to 7-14 overall and 1-10 in the Horizon League while the Flames improve to 6-16 overall and 1-9 in the league.

Sophomore Blake Allen led the Penguins with 14 while senior Vytas Sulskis added 11 points.

Over an eight-minute span in the second half, the Flames turned a tie game, 38-38, at the 16:57 mark into a 17-point advantage, 65-48, with 8:43 to go after a 27-10 run. The Flames converted 13 straight free throws during that span to put the game out of reach.  In the first half, the Guins and Flames battled through two ties and five lead changes before the Flames lead 34-32 at the intermission.

The Guins took a 23-18 lead after a DuShawn Brooks 3-pointer at the 9:50 mark before the Flames scored nine straight points to a take a four-point lead, 27-23.  Junior Ashen Ward drained a 3-pointer at the 6:45 mark to cut the deficit to one, 27-26. 

The Flames again rebuilt a six-point, 32-26, before another 3-pointer by Ward, a jumper by Sulskis and a free throw by Tre Brewer brought the Guins within two, 34-32, at the half. 

The Penguins, who made nine 3-pointers, return home to host Butler, Thursday, Feb. 3. Tipoff is set for 7:05 p.m.

Youngstown State Women Victims of Red-Hot Cleveland State Offense

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Youngstown State sophomore forward Brandi Brown scored 24 points and had seven rebounds, but Cleveland State shot 54.2 percent from the field and used a big second-half effort to hand the Penguins an 86-65 loss on Saturday afternoon at the Beeghly Center.

With the win, Cleveland State improves to 12-8 overall and 4-4 in the Horizon League. The Penguins are now 3-17 and 1-8.

On the heels of her peformance, Brown has now scored 707 points while grabbing 503 rebounds in her 50-game Penguins career. She is the just the third player in school history to score 700 points and grab 500 rebounds during her sophomore campaign.  Also for the Penguins, Kenya Middlebrooks scored 16 points, 15 of which came in the first half while Bojana Dimitrov had 13.

Both teams had an impressive first half offensively.  YSU shot 53.8 percent making 14-of-26 from the field while connecting on 7-of-16 (43.8 percent) 3-point attempts. CSU made 18-of-34 attempts (52.9 percent), most coming from inside the paint.

The Vikings scored 30 of their 47 points in the paint and held an 8-0 advantage in second-chance points. On the other hand, the Penguins scored 21 points from behind the 3-point arc compared to just six from deep by CSU.  Both teams combined to go 16-19 from the free-throw line as well.

YSU scored the first four points of the game, but following a 8-0 run by the Vikings had to play catch up the remainder of the half. The Guins cut the deficit to 8-7 on a three-point play by Bojana Dimitrov before the Vikings scored the next five to go on top 13-7.  The Penguins tied the game at 13 scoring the next six points, but CSU scored 11 of the next 14 points grabbing a 24-16 advantage at the midway point of the half.

With 5:07 left before halftime, the Guins pulled within 31-29 on a Middlebrooks 3-pointer.

The Vikings scored 30 of their 47 points in the paint and held an 8-0 advantage in second-chance points. On the other hand, the Penguins scored 21 points from behind the 3-point arc compared to just six from deep by CSU.

YSU cut the deficit to 37-36 on a Brown putback at 3:08 and was within 42-39 on a triple by Middlebrooks with a minute to go. The Vikings scored the next five points, but Middlebrooks drained another three just before the buzzer to pull YSU within 47-42 at halftime.

The Vikings scored the first 11 points of the second half and the Penguins could not get back in the game. After falling behind 58-42, YSU was only able to get within 14, at 60-46 on a 3-pointer by Brown at the 16:16 mark.

The Penguins return to the road on Thursday when they visit Milwaukee. Tipoff for the contest between YSU and the Panthers is set for 8 p.m.

Harlem Globetrotters Satisfy Crowds in Youngstown

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The Harlem Globetrotters made a visit to Youngstown to do a couple of shows at the Covelli Centre.  The well-known ambassadors of goodwill amused the crowd of about 3,000 with their time tested tricks and some new twists.  Gone are Geese Ausby, Curly Neal, and Meadowlark Lemon.  This era of traveling hoopsters are known by names like Big Easy, Firefly and Scooter. They sound more like Muppets than basketball players, but when the tricks and skills start, these guys can really play.

The victims are still the Washington Generals, winners of only two games against the Globetrotters in the 85-year existence of the traveling franchise.  The Generals remind all Cavs fans that there is a team out there that is worse than what is being displayed in Cleveland these days.

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The new-era Globetrotters pulled all of the old tricks out of the bag.  The three-man weave (above), the buckets of water and confetti, plenty of dunks, the constant spinning of a ball on a finger, and the thievery of the fans refreshments.  The magical act never gets old and is still one of the only entertainment ventures that brings joy to all ages.

The new wrinkles put into the act were good and fresh concepts.  Big Easy served as a frontman.  He roamed the court with a wireless microphone and made very smooth transitions from skits back to game action.  The wireless mic is a good technological advancement and enhanced the bits.  The other innovation was the creation of a “four-point shot” (below).  The four-pount shot is a circle located between the three-point line and half court.  There are four four-point circles placed even distances from the hoop, 35 feet to be exact which is 12 feet farther than an NBA three.

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WFMJ-21 Sports Anchor Mike Ackelson was an honorary Washington General.  There will be a complete story here on Ack’s experience as a guest player later in the week.  Big Easy walked Ackelson through a fun-filled journey from one end of the court to the other.

The other interesting feature was the amount of different styles of dunks.  There were tomahawks, alley-oops, backboard-pass slams, fast breaks, reverses, you name it, they covered it.

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Abe Saperstein turned his dream loose in 1926 with his creation of The Harlem Globetrotters.  This team actually originated in Chicago and have played a remarkable 25,000 + exhibition games all over the world for Popes and Presidents, for the rich and the poor.  One thing that has remained consistent over the duration of their storied history has been the ability to amaze with skills and to make people smile.  There were plenty of smiles to go around Youngstown for a day.

Phantoms Lose Shootout But Still Get A Point On YSU Night

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A rivalry is brewing.  The Youngstown Phantoms came into their game with the Muskegon Lumberjacks with aspirations of moving a little closer to the visiting team in the standings.  Heading into this game, Muskegon was fourth while the Phantoms were holding on to the sixth and final playoff spot.  On YSU night, the Phantoms came up big with 34 seconds left to force overtime on a Ty Loney goal.  Unfortunately, the Phantoms lost the shootout 3-2 giving Muskegon the extra point.

In front of one of the biggest crowds the Phantoms have welcomed in all year (2,200), both teams deserve credit for playing a very crowd-pleasing physical style of hockey.  These guys were hitting, like rivals.  Both teams jumped on their respective busses after a shower and headed North to Muskegon for the second leg of the home-and-home series.

Coach Carr talked about the effort that his Phantoms put forth.  ”I feel we outplayed them. We had more opportunities and I am disappointed about not getting two points tonight, but I can live with getting one.  That’s like eight of our last nine games that we have recorded a point. I’m not upset and thought we did a lot of things well tonight.  It was the first time we pulled our goaltender and successfully converted for a goal.”

In the first period, the Phantoms managed to take a 1-0 lead to the game just seconds after an apparent goal was disallowed.  The referee claimed that the net had come off just before the puck crossed the plane.  No goal, no problem.  Just seconds later, Adam Berkle connected on a power play chance for his eleventh goal of the season.  Ty Loney and Cody Strang picked up assists on the first score in the contest.

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The Lumberjacks tied the game when Matt Berry hit the twine for the 16th time this season.  Berry tied the game from close range and John Parker and Mark Yanis were credited with assists.  After two periods the Phantoms held a 25-18 edge in shots on goal.  The 18 shots that Greg Lewis stopped were not easy.  Lewis is looking good between the pipes these days.

In the third, Muskegon took a 2-1 advantage on a nice play.  Isaac Kohls was the recipient of a nice pass from Travis Belohrad allowing Kohls to shoot over Phantoms goaltender Lewis’ right shoulder.  Belohrad set Kohls up from behind the net floating a soft pass just right of the crease. Travis Walsh was also credited with an assist for the Lumberjacks.

The Phantoms sent the crowd into a tizzy when Andrew Sinelli connected shorthanded.  Mike Ambrosia picked up an assist on the goal and the rejuvenated Phantoms knotted the contest at two goals apiece with 10:40 left in the game.

With 7:02 left in the game, Muskegon went ahead again.  Mike Conderman tallied for the ninth time on the season.  Alexx Privitera, who always manages to get a point or two against Youngstown, gathered an assist on the even-strength chance.

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With just 34 seconds left in the game, Loney picked up a rebound right in front of the net and beat Joel Vienneau on a put back.  Jiri Sekac picked up an assist on Loney’s team-leading 13th goal of the season that would force overtime.  No one was able to score a goal in the extra session setting up a shootout.

Muskegon got the first shot with Chris Lochner.  Lochner got stuffed by Lewis straight on.  The Phantoms responded with Stuart Higgins.  Higgins was stuffed.  Travis Belohrad was next for the Lumberjacks and he converted to beat Lewis.  Next up for Youngstown was Adam Berkle.  Berkle went top shelf to beat Vienneau and tie the shootout at one apiece.  The third shooter for Muskegon was Matt Berry.  Berry also went high to score.  Jiri Sekac, the third Phantom, was stoned.  The fourth Lumberjack was Mike Conerman who scored to put Muskegon up 3-1.  Loney, the hero who forced overtime, kept Youngstown alive  when he converted.  Muskegon’s final shooter was Isaac Kohls who mishandled the puck from the get-go and failed to ice the win.  The Phantoms last hope was Scott Mayfield who could not convert giving Muskegon the extra point.

Ty Loney talked about connecting to tie the game with under a minute left.  ”Jiri [Sekac] just threw it toward the net and I was able to dig it out and put it between his legs.  The shootout was a little bit nerve racking.  Some of the shot is premeditated and some of it is what the goaltender is going to give you. My shot was a combination of both and went in.”

This game was only the third time the Phantoms were involved in a shootout all season.  Muskegon has vast experience in the tie department with twelve, giving them a definite advantage.

“This one wouldn’t have hurt as bad if we could have won a few games earlier in the season when we had leads and lost”, remarked Carr.

WATTS To Be A Spectacular Benefit To Youngstown State

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Anyone who drives on Route 422 to get to or from Youngstown State University will notice a huge structure being erected.  That structure will be called the WATTS, as many of the local readers already know.  Tim Stuart (above) will be in charge of many of the scheduling and personnel decisions as well as the day-to-day operations of the center.  I recently got a chance to interview Stuart about the facility and learned many interesting points that I did not know.

Paneech: I called the new facility the WATTS Center when I first learned about the plans to build it, and Matt Morrone nearly took my head off correcting me.  Why is it wrong to call this place the WATTS Center?

Stuart: WATTS stands for Watson and Tressel Training Site.  So if you called it the WATTS Center, you would be calling it a training site center.  It would get a little redundant, so we just call it the WATTS.

Paneech: How long before it opens and what will it be used for?

Stuart: We anticipate the facility not being used until May.  With some of the inclement weather we have had this past Fall and so far, this Winter, things have gotten backed up a little bit.  Once it opens, it will be used for all of our sports and we anticipate it being used 365 days a year.  It will be used by recreation and intramural sports.  There will be a 300 meter track, a 7500 square foot mezzanine on top of our offices that we will be utilizing for batting cages and stuff like that.

Paneech: Was the concept developed as a way to keep up with the Joneses or was it designed out of necessity?

Stuart: A little bit of both actually.  It will most definitely be used as a recruiting tool against the Kents and Akrons.  It is a great tool for us.  Regardless of weather, it allows all of our athletes to train in a climate-controlled environment.  If we get a week of rain in April, our baseball and softball teams can be in there practicing.

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Paneech: The average distance of a centerfield fence is about 400, is there space for all that, or will it just be fungo and cages?

Stuart: There is netting that will be draped.  The netting is so tight that you will not be able to hit a golf ball through it.  It contains a full-length football field, or 120 yards from the back of one end zone to the back of the other end zone.  Obviously, they will not be able to play a baseball game because it isn’t a full field, but many simulations can be accommodated by the great amount of space between the walls.  Hitting, pitching, and fielding practice will be just like practicing outside.

Paneech: So how long before Hively Construction throws you guys the keys and says you can start moving in?

Stuart: We are still, a few months away.  The in-ground heating is in. (*Note - The heat will be on the ground and move upward toward the ceiling not to lose much for optimum temperature control. )  We are almost done with the windows and once everything gets enclosed we will be able to really get rolling.

Paneech: Tell me what your role is.

Stuart: I have been appointed to be the manager of the facility.  I will be overseeing the scheduling as well as coordinating what will simultaneously take place in Beeghly and Stambaugh.  Whether that is scheduling practices, basketball events at Beeghly, football events at Stambaugh, or whatever is coming must be coordinated by us.  With the renovation of Kilcawley Center, all three of these facilities are going to be used more than ever.  We will be in charge of scheduling camps for our programs as well.  In the past, camps have always been restricted to the two facilities and trying to coordinate intramural activities and regular practices was becoming more and more of a challenge.  The WATTS will eliminate many of these overcrowding problems and time conflicts.

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Paneech: Because it generates the most money traditionally, will football be the top priority or is there more of an even-split attitude about who gets first use of the facility?

Stuart: It is an all-sports facility.  Obviously when football is in-season, it will take precedence over other sports, but it is so big that as long as there is coordination between the coaches, there will be enough room for multiple sports at any time.  Football can be on the field having practice and baseball pitchers and hitters can be throwing and hitting on the mezzanine at the same time.  We now can stretch things out a little with the extra facility so everyone will have a place for adequate practice times and conditions.

Tom Morella, the Assistant Athletic Director, spoke about the WATTS opening soon as well.  ”I really can’t wait for the day we can get in there.  It will make everything in the two existing buildings smoother as far as time commitments.  It is a nightmare in Stambaugh and Beeghly Center some days because there just isn’t enough space for everything.  This facility is a tremendous asset to not only the sports programs, but also for the students.

YSU Baseball To Hold First Pitch Breakfast Fundraiser

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 The Youngstown State baseball program will hold the inaugural “First Pitch” Breakfast at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church Banquet Hall in Youngstown on Feb. 12.  Keep in mind that the baseball program does not generate much revenue at the gate like football or basketball do, so these types of activities are paramount to the baseball and softball teams.

The fund-raising event will provide fans to meet the 2011 Penguins, as well as win great prizes through a Chinese Auction.

Doors for the event will open at 8:30 a.m., and the breakfast will begin at 8:45 a.m. The program will start at 9:30 a.m. The donation of $15 includes a breakfast buffet and a game ticket for any 2011 YSU baseball game.

Chinese Auction items include YSU baseball attire, gift baskets from Belleria Pizza and Italian Restaurant and the Mahoning Valley Restaurant (MVR), autographed YSU baseball memorabilia and the opportunity to spend pre-game in the Penguins dugout and throw out the first pitch at YSU’s May 17 game at Eastwood Field.

The “Home Run” prize includes dinner for four at the Belleria in Boardman with the YSU Coaching Staff, four YSU baseball season tickets, four YSU baseball hats and pullovers, the rights to throw out the first pitch at any YSU home game and two movie ticket vouchers for Cinemark Tinseltown at the Southern Park Mall.   Raffle tickets for the “Home Run” prize will be $10.

Pre-registration for the event is required. To reserve your seat, call the YSU Baseball Office at (330) 941-3485. Payment will be accepted at the door. Groups of eight will have tables reserved at prime locations. Individuals and smaller groups are also welcome for open seating.

Fans who would still like to contribute to Penguins baseball, regardless of attendance at the event, can sponsor a student-athlete’s breakfast for $10. For information, contact the baseball office.

The Banquet Hall is located at  343 Via Mount Carmel Ave., Youngstown, OH, 44505.

Detroit Defeats Youngstown State, 73-69

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Detroit had about three centers, YSU had one (Dan Boudler), and sometimes Damian Eargle who is more of a power forward.  As a result of a serious problem with height, rebounds, especially on the offensive end would be scarce.  The Penguins overcame the size disadvantage but were their own worst enemy at the free throw line again finishing the game 6-14 from stripe as they dropped another close one, this time to Detroit, 73-69.

In the first half, Detroit raced out to a 10-point lead just over five minutes into the game.  YSU would keep cutting into that lead only to see Detroit extend the lead back to at least seven a couple of times.  By the time the buzzard sounded, Detroit held a 41-40 lead.  Eli Holman paced the Titans with nine points and nine rebounds.  Chase Simon and Chris Blake had ten each in the opening half for the visiting Titans.  YSU got 12 points from Blake Allen and eight more from Kendrick Perry.

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In the second half, YSU came out smoking and nabbed a 48-43 lead with 15:49 to go.  Vytas Sulskis led the charge for the Penguins with a couple of buckets.  Blake hit a layup to give Detroit back the lead on an 8-0 run at 49-48 with 14:31 left.  Blake Allen gave YSU a one point lead, the eighth lead change in the game, to put the Penguins ahead 58-57 with 11:15 remaining in the contest.  Chris Blake popped his career high (16 points) with 9:27 remaining for Detroit, putting the Titans ahead, 61-58.

YSU was struggling at the free throw line.  With 8:23 left in the game, the Penguins were an awful 3-10 from the charity stripe, points they need to beat the bigger Titans.  Detroit would battle over the next five minutes to maintain the lead and at the 3:56 mark, the Titans still held a 66-64 lead thanks in part to the Penguins lousy free throw shooting and some equally lousy officiating.  YSU had three very questionable calls go against them over he span of two minutes, and the 3,000 + in attendance really let them know.

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Trailing 67-64 with 3:09 left in the game, Tre Brewer took a good shot that hit every part of the inside of the rim, but did not go.  Perry then hit a pair of free throws to cut Detroit’s lead to 68-66.  Perry’s second three of the game came with 18.4 seconds remaining and cut Detroit’s lead to one point at 70-69. Nick Minnerath was fouled to shoot a pair of free throws with 15.5 seconds to go and he made the second to make it 71-69.  Perry tried to hoist a three, but was unsuccessful.  YSU fouled Blake and the rest is academic.

YSU was lead by Allen and Sulskis with 15 points each.  The Penguins dropped to 7-12 on the season, and 1-7 in the league.  With the exception of Butler and Valpo, YSU has been in every league game until the end.  Having seen each Horizon League team with the completion of this game, no one will be writing off YSU as an easy win in the second half.

Detroit got 20 points from Chris Blake, his career-high.  Simon also contributed 14 points for the Titans.  With the win, Detroit improved to 11-10 and 5-4 in the Horizon.

Youngstown State goes West to Illinois for games against UIC and Loyola this week.

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After the game, Coach Slocum talked about the woes that hamper his squad.  ”We just aren’t good enough yet to win those close games.  It is very disappointing to work so hard all of the time and not reap the reward of winning.  This was a very tough match up for us because of the size difference, but I thought we did a great job battling and working hard.”

YSU Women Fall 66-57 to Detroit At Home

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The Youngstown State Lady Penguins could only get better was the general feeling coming into this season under first-year coach Bob Boldon. Boldon has taken the stance that, “close but no cigar“, means nothing.  The improvement since last season is obvious and the team is much more competitive and focused.  Saturday, the Penguins played Detroit, team that demolished the Lady Penguins twice last year.  The Titans ended up winning by nine, 66-57, competitive and close but no cigar, yet again.

In the first half, Detroit built big leads on two separate occasions with the largest being nine.  Jalesa Jones (top photo) paced the Titans with nine first half points as Detroit  was ahead 31-26 at the break.  Brandi Brown had eight points and four rebounds for YSU in the half.  The story was shooting percentage in the opening half.  Youngstown State shot almost 35% from the field, but the Titans shot 41.4%.

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In the second half, Maryum Jenkins buried a three from the corner with 15:24 left to make it 41-37 in favor of Detroit.  YSU surged even closer when Kenya Middlebrooks hit a three to cut the lead to just one point at 43-42 with 13:01 left in the game.  As the second half rolled along, Detroit gained control of things and had a 55-47 lead with 8:59 to go.

Brown started to heat up and heat a three with 8:04 left to cut the deficit to three points at 55-52.  Tieara Jones fouled out with just over eight minutes to play.  Jones (next picture down) finished with 10 points and seven boards.

Interesting stat of the game, last year the Horizon League chose to award the Newcomer of The Year award to Detroit’s Yar Shayok instead of Youngstown State’s Brandi Brown.  Brown had much better statistics for the season but was passed over when the chalice was awarded.  In their first head-to-head meeting since that award was given, Brown had 18 points and 10 rebounds.  Shayok finished the game with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

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With Detroit ahead 51-47, Dominique Dixon, who finished with 15 points,  hit a pair of free throws to extend the Titans lead to 63-57. With just under a minute to go, YSU went into auto-foul mode and Detroit converted enough to keep the Penguins at arms-length.  Jones finished the game with 13 and Shayok had 17.  The Titans evened their record at 9-9 and 3-4 in the conference.

Youngstown State was paced by Brown’s double-double (18 points, 10 boards).  Boki Dimitrov chipped in with 11 points.  The Penguins fell to 3-16, and 1-7 in the Horizon League.

After the game, Coach Boldon talked about the loss.  ”Tieara [Jones] played well for us tonight, we really needed her when she fouled out with eight minutes left.  We came out flat in the second half and we are nota good enough team to try to exchange baskets with anyone.”

Sioux Falls Stampedes Youngstown Phantoms In Overtime, 3-2

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The Youngstown Phantoms didn’t let the law of averages get them, not until overtime.  Youngstown (12-19-2) was outshot 47-24 by the visiting Sioux Falls Stampede (18-10-4) but survived the barrage until overtime.  Marcus Perrier buried a twenty-five footer 1:53 into overtime to boost the Stampede to victory by the score of 3-2.

In the first period, Sioux Falls got a power play goal and a 1-0 lead from Thomas ORegan at the 11:33 mark.  ORegan’s goal was his third on the season.  Marcus Perrier and Sam Coatta were awarded assists on the game’s opening score.

Right before the first period ended, the Phantoms were able to tie the contest at one goal apiece when Jiri Sekac connected on an even-strength chance.  Sekac’s tenth goal came with just 19 seconds left in the opening session and he was assisted by Ty Loney and Ben Paulides. The Phantoms were outshot 16-6 in the period, but the only ones that count are the pucks that hit the back of the net.

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In an entertaining second period, Youngstown took a temporary 2-1 lead when Adam Berkle made a beautiful pass across the front lip of the crease to Quinn Smith, who buried the puck for his eighth of the season.  Smith beat Sioux Falls Goaltender, Juho Oikinuora with 3:48 of the second period elapsed.  The Stampede rustled back to a 2-2 tie on the wings of a couple of Reilly boys.  Connor Reilly scored on an even-strength feed from Ryan Reilly. Connor was credited with his sixth goal, and you guessed it, Ryan, with his sixth assist.  The fraternal twins are both headed to Minnesota on hockey scholarships.  At the end of the second period, nothing was settled and the Phantoms were outshot 35-17 to this point.

In the third period, neither team could find the goal.  Sioux Falls had a total of 45 shots on goal while the Phantoms only had 23.  A five minute overtime period would be needed to determine a winner, or need be it, a shootout.

In the overtime, Perrier broke Youngstown’s hearts with a twenty-five foot slap shot just beyond the left face off circle that got past Greg Lewis for the game winner.

After the game, Coach Carr reflected on the loss.  ”It’s a point, we are 3-1-2 in our last six games, and we can’t be upset getting a point out of this game, but we need to be better tomorrow. Greg [Lewis] played a great game for us tonight, and he got screened by that last shot and unfortunately, we could not block it, but give Greg credit.  He has five starts and we have at least one point in all but one of those games.”

The Phantoms are holding on to the final playoff spot and the team right on their heels, Waterloo, makes a visit on Saturday.  Puck drops at 7:30 at the Covelli Centre.

YSU Lets Upset Bid Slide Away, 66-62 Losers To Wright State

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In a must-win game for both teams, Youngstown State needed a win to prove that it belonged in a conference.  Wright State, coming off of a 69-63 win over Butler, needed a win to prove superior in the same conference.  When it was over,  YSU (7-11, 1-7) was winning for a majority of the game, at times by as many as ten, but the team competing for a championship came out on top on this night, 66-62.

“We turned the ball over and we didn’t make shots”, was pretty much all Coach Jerry Slocum had to say after this game.

The Penguins came out fired up scoring the first five points.  Wright State would answer and take a 6-5 lead.  The rest of the opening half was nip-and-tuck and the Penguins forged ahead for a 28-24 halftime lead.  Ashen Ward hit a couple of threes and a couple of twos for ten first half points to lead YSU.  Wright State got eight from N’Gai Evans and seven from Vaughn Duggins.

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In the first half, Damian Eargle blocked a shot to become the second player in Youngstown State history to record 50 blocks or more in a single season.  Eargle finished the game with xx points and xx blocked shots.  Eargle joins Ricky Tunstill in the blocked shots hierarchy at YSU.

The beginning of the second half looked like the start of the first half.  YSU opened up with a 5-0 run to open a 33-24 lead.  Wright State took a timeout and then unleashed AJ Pacher.  Pacher hit a couple of threes to keep Wright State close.  At the 13:23 mark of the second half, the Raiders pulled within one at 41-40 until Vytas Sulskis nailed a three to make it 44-40.  Devonte Maymon then tacked on another three to make it 47-40 with 11:32 remaining.

Sulskis commented on the disappointment of this loss afterwards.  ”We didn’t finish.  Four points over the final six minutes is ridiculous and we know we are better than that.”

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YSU pushed the lead all the way to nine points with 8:15 left in the game at 53-44.  Every time Wright State would score a bucket or two, YSU was able to respond.  Tre Brewer had previously scored six points in three separate games, hit his ninth point, a free throw, to help the Penguins to a ten point lead at 58-48, biggest lead for either team in the game.  Wright State would chop that lead in half, and with 5:39 left in the game, YSU was ahead 58-53.

The Penguins lead was carved to just one point at 60-59 with just under three minutes left in the game.  Sulskis hit a runner down the lane to increase the advantage to three points.  Troy Tabler kissed one off of the glass to give Wright State their first lead of the second half at 63-62 with 1:11 left.  Eargle missed both free throw attempts after being fouled to keep the Raiders in front.  The Penguins then had a couple of wild looks that they could not convert.  A pair of Tabler free throws put Wright State up three, 65-62 with just 26.2 seconds remaining.

Youngstown State got a good all-around effort from Ward.  The junior from Cleveland finished this game with 12 points and battled for six rebounds.  Eargle played a great defensive game and increased his Horizon League lead in the blocked shot category with six swats and Devonte Maymon chipped in twelve more.

Wright State got 10 points from Evans, and another 10 from Duggins.  Pacher finished the game with three successful long-distance rainbows.