Archive for November, 2011

Phantoms Earn Hard-Fought Victory Over Sioux City

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The Youngstown Phantoms seem to have more gusto in their step than in years past. JT Stenglein and Ryan Belonger both scored twice to vault the Phantoms to a very physical 5-4 win over Sioux City.  Despite being outshot 26-19, the Phantoms were able to push the puck when it counted.  The win was the fourth in a row for the Phantoms (12-5-0).

Ryan Belonger got the Phantoms on the board first.  Belonger, crashing in from his right wing position, beat Matt Skoff (above) from just outside the goal crease.  The action started when Mike Ambrosia put a shot on net that deflected out to Austin Cangelosi who fired back in toward the goal.  Cangelosi was credited with an assist on Belonger’s seventh goal of the season coming with 5:48 left in the opening frame.

Sioux City responded with 2:46 left in the first to tie the game at a goal apiece. Kyle Criscuolo netted his fourth goal of the season beating Matt O’Connor.  The goal was scored at even-strength and Cliff Watson earned an assist for the Musketeers.  The first period ended without further scoring and the Phantoms outshot Sioux City, 8-5.

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The Phantoms did well killing off a two-man penalty about halfway through the second. Dan Molenaar picked up a slashing penalty putting the Phantoms in a powerplay opportunity.  JT Stenglein made the Musketeers pay at the 13:11 mark as he found the net for the eighth time.  Jordan Young gathered an assist on the go-ahead goal.

“I told our guys that if we could kill that 5-on-3 penalty that we were going to win.  We went out there and drew up in practice how we were going to kill a 5-on-3, and to our guys credit, they executed it.  I don’t even think that they [Sioux Falls] had a great shot at scoring during the penalty“, said Coach Anthony Noreen.  ”From a pure effort standpoint, that was the best effort we had all season.”

The opportunistic Phantoms went up 3-1 when they got an extra attacker on the ice awaiting a delayed penalty call.  The strategy worked to perfection as Richard Zehnal became the third different Phantom to put one between the pipes on the evening. Zehnal’s goal was his third and came with 2:50 left in the second.  Young was credited with his second assist of the game.  Sioux City cut the lead to 3-2 when Brad Robbins went top shelf on O’Connors glove side with just 15.3 seconds remaining in the period.

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With 16:37 remaining in the third period, David Henry gathered a rebound off of a Jackson Leef shot that O’connor blocked.  Call it a bad luck goal that tied the game, 3-3.

Stenglein gave the Phantoms the lead at 4-3 with 6:49 left in the game on an unassisted goal, his second.  Stenglein wound up from the top of the right face off circle and his shot tapped the post and went in.  The Phantoms added an empty-netter with 51 seconds left in the game.  Belonger got the freebee to push the lead to 5-3. The Musketeers wouldn’t go away without a fight.  With 34.5 seconds left, the Musketeers scored to make it 5-4.  O’Connor and the defense survived the onslaught of offense in the final half minute to secure the win.

“It was definitely two of the bigger goals in my career”, said Stenglein.  ”The coaches are putting us in position where we can make a lot of plays and my line has been playing really good.”

“Everything has been going my way lately.  You kind of are getting to a point in the season where you know that your line mates are going to be in certain spots.  We aren’t invincible, but we do expect to win, and we have a will to win.  It doesn’t matter whether we are down by five or up by five, we are going to stay even keel“, added Stenglein.

DuShawn Brooks Block At Buzzer Seals 60-59 YSU Win

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Senior DuShawn Brooks hit the game-deciding 3-pointer and blocked two Red Flash shots, including an attempt at the buzzer, as the Youngstown State men’s basketball team squeaked past Saint Francis (Pa.), 60-59, on Saturday afternoon at the DeGol Center.  The Penguins improve to 4-1 for the second straight season while the Red Flash fall to 0-5 overall.

Sophomore Kendrick Perry was the lone Penguin scoring in double figures with 12 points while Brooks, junior Blake Allen, senior  Ashen Ward and freshman Cale Zuiker each had nine points.

Brooks nailed his first 3-pointer of the season with 2:15 left in the game to give Youngstown State a four-point edge, 60-56. However, Saint Francis’ Stephon Whyatt answered with a 3-pointer of his own to cut the deficit to one, 60-59, with 1:59 to go.

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Tied 33-33 at the half, the Guins used a 12-2 run to start the second half to take a 45-35 lead with 17:13 left in the game. Ward scored five of his nine points during the run and Damian Eargle‘s layup put the Guins up by 10.

The Red Flash rallied to cut the Penguins lead down to one, 53-52, on a Scott Eatherton layup with 4:22 to go.

Allen hit a jumper at the 3:16 mark to give the Penguins a 57-54 edge and SFU’s John Taylor hit a jumper to slice the lead back down to one, 57-56, before Brooks’ game-deciding 3-pointer.

YSU trailed by as many as 11 points, 17-6, in the first half, but quickly found their rhythm offensively.  Allen hit a 3-pointer and jumpers by Kendrick Perry, Shawn Amiker and another by Perry brought the within three, 19-16, at the 10:10 mark.

The Guins tied the game at 25-25 on a 3-pointer by Zuiker with 4:42 to go and two more 3-pointers by Zuiker gave the Guins a 33-30 lead before SFU’s Scott Eatherton made a free throw to knot the game at 33-33 at the half.

Youngstown State shot 45.8 percent in the first half, including 40 percent from 3-point range.  The Penguins open Horizon League play against Detroit, Thursday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. at Calihan Hall.

YSU Football Wrap-Up: Christian Bryan Player Profile

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Christian Bryan finished 2012, not only establishing himself as the future of Youngstown State football, but also by rewriting anything in the record books that had the word freshman next to it.  Bryan, an undersized receiver, was passed over by larger schools.  The records he broke in 2012 include most yards by a freshman in a game and in a season, most receptions by a freshman in a game and in a season, and the most impressive part about all of these broken records is that his totals are nearly double of what the old marks were.  He seems like a possession-type receiver with good hands, runs good routes, and isn’t afraid to go across the middle.

Paneech: How did you get to Youngstown State?

Bryan: During the recruiting process, I picked out a few schools and Youngstown State was one of them I liked.  Really, they [YSU] were the only ones who made an impression with me and they punched that ticket for me.  Some schools wrote me off because of my size and measurements, but Youngstown State extended themselves, so I committed early.  I had a good host on my recruiting visit, Kurt Hess.

Paneech: Tell me how Kurt [Hess] has helped you this season.

Bryan: I was one of the people that voted for Kurt to be a captain.  When I came in for my visit, I could just tell what kind of a person he was and what kind of teammate he would be.  When I got onto a field with him, his leadership and ability really stood out.  He deserves everything he gets and is on track to lead this program to great things.

Paneech: Are you surprised that you were able to make a quick impact as a freshman?

Bryan: Actually, I was very surprised.  I came in and wanted to prove that I had the right mindset and the right attitude.  Coach Coleman and the other coaches all seem to believe in me.  I feel like I fell into a good role as a possession receiver.  People will look at me and maybe think that I am just small and quick, but I like the role that I have now, I think I fit it perfectly.

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Paneech: There were no seniors starting on offense a majority of the year.  What does that say about the great finish you guys put together and the future?  Do the seniors hold their lack of playing time against you?

Bryan: I think it is a sign of great things to come.  We had a great team this year and had a shot to get into the playoffs.  The seniors have been cool about the situation. Ely [Ducatel] was one of the guys when I got here this Summer that pulled me aside and helped me out with the playbook and in the weight room.  He has a great attitude and doesn’t  dislike any of the freshmen.  All of the older guys have been supportive, there is no hatred amongst any of us.

Paneech: How different is the speed of the game at this level compared to high school?

Bryan: There is a big difference, I was really shocked at how much the difference is.  When we lost my final high school game last season, I really started to doubt myself.  I regrouped and pulled everything together, worked really hard to get better, and so far it has been amazing – a dream come true for me.  I was a military kid, so I got used to moving.  Being this far away from Irwin, PA isn’t getting me homesick.  I miss my girlfriend, but I am only an hour and twenty minutes away.

Paneech: How has it been working for receivers coach, Andre Coleman?

Bryan: Awesome, but not easy.  He is very critical sometimes.  When I got here, I thought I ran good routes.  I thought I was pretty good when I got here, but I was nothing compared to where he has got me now.  Little things like rounding out of our breaks, if it is off a hair, he lets you know.  Little things like pressing up and exploding out of your breaks, he sees it all.

Paneech: What is the thing you like most about Youngstown so far?

Bryan: I feel real comfortable here in this environment.  I am around the right people, from my friends, to my teachers, to my coaches.  My coaches are good people in the sense that they really want to make me a better person for my future.  They are always tough on me whether I am doing good or bad.  I try to stay at the same level knowing they are going to push me to do more, to be more.

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Paneech: What do you do with your free time?

Bryan: I am around my friends as much as possible, or I am just relaxing in my room.  We have study tables figured into our schedules, so I go there and do my homework.

Paneech: Who was your biggest influence to get into football?

Bryan: My father.  Aside from myself, he is my number one critic.  When I was in first grade, I wanted to be like a GI Joe type of kid.  He threw me into football and has pushed me to be the best that I can ever since.  He was my coach for a couple of years, and we would go at it.  I respect him so much though, and if it wasn’t for him, there is no doubt I would not be here today.

Paneech: If there were three people on the game show Jeopardy – Marc Kanetsky, Coach Wolford, and Coach Montgomery, who would win and why?

Bryan: (laughs) Coach Montgomery would win.  He is a genius.  That guy’s brain is always working on something.  He sees everything all of the time and his mind just never stops working.

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One Word Answers

Typical Fast Food Order: Three Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers and Fries from Wendy’s.

Favorite TV Show: Sponge Bob.

Favorite NFL Team: Philadelphia Eagles.

Favorite Player: Desean Jackson.

Dream Place To Play: Penn State.

Favorite Fruit: Pineapple.

Song No One Would Expect On Your ipod? Bagpipe Music.

Biggest Phobia: Spiders.

Worst Habit: Always Playing with My Fingers.

High School Employment: Landscaping and Washing Cars.

YSU Football Wrap-Up: Quotable Coach

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In Eric Wolford‘s second season as football coach at Youngstown State, he gave some great quotes, things that will be repeated and remembered throughout his tenure as the head Penguin.  Respectfully, this guy is a quote machine when asked a question that triggers a unique response more times than not.  These were the three best from this season.  Enjoy!

When Wolford was asked if the season was over following a loss to South Dakota State to put the Penguins at 2-3:

“The season is not over.  I’ll tell you when it’s over.  If we can get on a roll, we can get right back into the playoff picture and I am not ruling any of that out yet.”

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The week spent preparing for Valparaiso, a mismatch on paper, I asked Wolford if he was planning to do anything special or experiment with personnel:

“Well, our plan is to shine the car up, make it shine real nice, and then Saturday take it for a ride and see how it runs.”

At the Northern Iowa week press conference, Wolford was reminded that his team had not kicked a field goal yet and if he would try one if the opportunity presented itself:

“Our red zone offense has been outstanding and we have been getting in for seven.  Here is a math lesson for you guys, I learned in kindergarten that seven is greater than three.”

Wolford is a sharp-minded and glib quote machine.  His most repeated quote this season is one that I hope we continue to hear for a very long time:

“Our guys know that there is a standard around here, to win championships and get to the playoffs.  Anything less than that is unacceptable.”

Thanks for the accessibility Coach Wolford, I look forward to next season and a whole new batch of cleverly-worded poetry.

YSU Football Wrap-Up: Senior Day

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The time has again come to say goodbye to a number of Youngstown State University football players, a couple of cheerleaders, and a few band members.  Marc Kanetsky (above) was part of a class that got caught in a transition from the Jon Heacock Era to the present day Eric Wolford regime.  These guys were recruited by Heacock, learned a new system under Wolford, and despite not racking up a whole bunch of playing time as a collective unit, stayed true to a program on the rise.

Joining Kanetsky on the field for one last game were Ely Ducatel, Pat White, Andre Barboza, David Rogers, Obinna Ekweremuba, Daniel Stewart, Andrew Johnson, Josh Lee, John Sasson, and Nate Schkurko.  Sasson and Johnson were captains, joining underclassmen Kurt Hess and Jamaine Cook.

Each of these players left a legacy of some kind with their teammates to remember them by.  Some were defensive leaders this season, some could not overcome injury to get untracked, and some did little things on special teams that will be hard to replace.  Nonetheless, they are done eating and lifting weights and striving to become bigger, faster, and stronger.

Kanetsky is an interesting loss.  His primary role on the team was to signal in plays using a variety of different arm motions and hand signals to Hess on the field.  Coach Shane Montgomery would relay a play call from the coaches box through headphones to the backup quarterback.  He was also a holder for the field goal unit. The other loss on a guy like Kanetsky would be the team GPA taking a hit, as a 3.9 student goes to the real world.

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Turnover on the sidelines is also a part of a process that is often overlooked. Cheerleaders and band members work very hard all Summer to make sure their act is tight.  This year’s band was incredible, they always sounded good and they can march with any band in the nation.  The cheerleaders are a happy bunch as a whole group. To see some of their gymnastic ability, pyramid building skills, and overall spirit, is a credit to the university.

Good luck to all seniors in the future!

Phantoms Roll Right Along, 3-1, Over Fargo

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The Youngstown Phantoms were nothing if not opportunistic Friday night, pouncing on turnovers and poorly placed rebounds to beat the Fargo Force 3-1. The game was Youngstown’s third win in a row and league-high seventh win on home ice.

JT Stenglein (above) extended his goal-scoring streak to five games while Alexander Dahl and Sam Anas also found the back of the net for the Phantoms (11-5-0). In goal, Matthew O’Connor was the confident, economic netminder that fans and coaches are coming to expect, turning away 19 of 20 for his league-leading ninth win of the season.

“He [O'Connor] was really calm in there – didn’t give up a lot of rebounds,” Head Anthony Noreen said. “Even after he let in the one, and they came at him with a little flurry, he was just what he’s been lately: the backbone for our team.”

Stenglein put the Phantoms ahead of the Force (5-10-3) in the first-period on the power play. Mike Gunn sent a feed for him across ice that was tipped by Fargo’s Austin Farley and into open ice in the high slot. Stenglein grabbed it and whipped a snap shot on net, beating goaltender Zane Gothberg on the glove-side for his seventh goal of the season.

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Just 42 seconds later, Dahl notched the first goal of his United States Hockey League career to put the Phantoms up two. Defenseman Kevin Liss led a rush the other way and took a shot on net from the right half-wall. The rebound caromed into the high slot and Dahl, whose father made the trip from his hometown of Eau Claire, Wis., to watch the game, fired it straight past Gothberg.

“It felt so good to get it out of the way,” Dahl said. “It’s been a big chunk of the season with no goals and I was kind of frustrated, but it was nice to finally get going. I’m excited to show dad the puck. Really excited.”

Anas extended the lead to three goals with a little more than two minutes remaining in the second period. Fargo defenseman Justin Wade coughed up the puck below the left circle and the Potomac, Md. native gobbled it up and then fired it five-hole for his sixth of the season.

“There aren’t many people on our team or in hockey in general that can score that goal from that angle,” Noreen said. “And don’t think for a second that Sam wasn’t aiming for exactly that, because we see him do that all the time in practice.”

YSU Women Victorious, 64-50, Brandi Brown Gets 1,000th Point

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Youngstown State junior forward Brandi Brown cemented herself among the best players to ever wear YSU red and white and led the Penguins to a 64-50 win over LMU in front of an enthusiastic group of supporters on Friday.  Brown’s 1,000th career point gave the Penguins a 7-6 lead, and they never trailed again. Brown, who grew up about an hour from Los Angeles, finished with a game-high 19 points and 14 rebounds.

YSU sophomore Heidi Schlegel joined Brown in a double-double, posting 17 points and a career-high 10 rebounds.

The Penguins will play the winner between Northern Iowa and Wyoming on Saturday at approximately 6:15 p.m. Eastern.

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YSU led by double digits for most of the second half, but LMU cut the deficit to 43-36 with 12:23 left. Brown’s layup on a pass from Los Angeles native Macey Nortey put YSU up nine on the next possession, and the Penguins went on to score seven straight points.

YSU’s biggest lead came on Brown’s final bucket of the game. Her layup at the 3:44 mark on a pass from Schlegel capped another seven-point run that put the Penguins up 62-44.  Schlegel had 13 points and five rebounds in the second half, and Brown matched her with 13 points in the final 20 minutes. Schlegel also had a game-high five assists.  Kenya Middlebrooks had 14 points and hit four of YSU”s eight 3-pointers.

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YSU outshot LMU 40.4 percent to 31.7 percent and outscored the Lions 20-8 off turnovers.

Brown’s 1,000th point came from the free-throw line with 15:06 left in the first half, and it gave the Penguins their first lead at 7-6. YSU didn’t trail again, and a Kelsea Fickieson lay-up gave the Penguins a 16-10 advantage with 12:33 remaining.

A Middlebrooks triple gave the Penguins their first double-digit lead with 7:06 left, and her third 3-pointer of the period put YSU up 33-20 at the 3:41 mark. That completed a 12-4 run for the Penguins during which they held LMU without a field goal for five minutes. Middlebrooks led all scorers with 11 points in the first half, and the senior had three of the Penguins’ five 3-pointers in the period. Brown had six points and nine rebounds. YSU shot 37 percent as a team to offset 11 turnovers.

Campbell’s Chris Hazimihalis Now 8-0 After Impressive Win

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Campbell’s Chris Hazimihalis ran his professional record to 8-0 after a third round TKO of Eric Ricker.  The bout was the Main Event at the Morgantown Events Center on Wednesday night.

Hazimihalis used an effective body attack to knock Toledo’s Ricker down in the second round.  Sore ribs are easy targets (below) as Hazimihalis capitalized with another body shot in the third that would end the fight.

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Hazimihalis has been training in Detroit with Emanuel Steward since the Summer and reports from his camp are that he will be more active in 2012 with bigger goals and longer fights.

Look for the Campbell native to fight locally at some point next year.

14 Three-Pointers Not Enough As YSU Falls At Penn State

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For the second time this season, the Youngstown State men’s basketball team tied the school single-game record with 14 3-pointers made but could not overcome a slow start and a hot-shooting Penn State team in an 82-71 loss to the Nittany Lions on Wednesday evening at the Bryce Jordan Center.  The Guins fall to 3-1 while Penn State improves to 5-1 overall.

The Guins connected on 14-of-27 from 3-point range, including going 10-of-15 from behind the arc in the second half.  Junior guard Blake Allen led the Guins with 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field and made a career-best seven 3-pointers. Sophomore Kendrick Perry scored 23 points, including 18 points in the second half, and made five 3-pointers. The last time two players scored at least 20 points in the same game was when Vytas Sulskis and Damian Eargle scored 25 and 24 points, respectively, against Malone on Dec. 13, 2010.

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Youngstown State, who shot just 31.3 percent in the first half, trailed by 18, 44-26, at the half, but came out firing making six of their first nine shots of the half to cut the deficit down to 12, 53-41, after Allen drilled a 3-pointer with 14:35 to go.  Three-pointers by Allen, who scored 17 in the second half, and two free throws by Perry brought the Guins within nine, 58-49, with 11:31 to go.

Penn State quickly boosted its lead back to 14 after a 3-pointer by Jermaine Marshall and a tip-in by Ross Travis at the 9:36 mark.  Sophomore Nate Perry converted a four-point play – nailing a 3-pointer and subsequent free throw – to bring the Guins within ten, 68-58.  The Penguins would get within nine points two more times on 3-pointers by Allen with 50 seconds left and 18 seconds to go.

Youngstown State will visit Saint Francis (Pa.), Saturday, Nov. 26, at 2 p.m. in Loretto, Pa.

Popo Salinas Impressive In First Round Knockout, Olympics Are The Goal, Sky Is The Limit

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Grab a pen and paper and write down the name of Popo Salinas.  Fresh off of a P.A.L. National Championship, the 16-year old Youngstown fighter has his sights set on making the United States Boxing Team for the next Olympic Games.  The number one-ranked amateur in his weight class nationally, put on a show for the hometown crowd with a first round knockout of Lavell Briggs.  In the minute-and-a-half or so that the fight lasted, Salinas showed a little bit of everything – defense, speed, power, and agility.

“It feels wonderful to have my family and some of my friends here to see me win this bout”, said a happy Salinas after the win.  “I thank God for this beautiful opportunity.  I am hungrier than Mayweather if you can believe it.  Just hearing people cheer, hearing my name, and knowing that these people were behind me hyped me up, but I was able to stick to the game plan.”

“I want to focus on the Olympics next year, and then I want to go pro.”

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The fight itself was brief.  After Salinas entered the ring with George Thorogood’s, ‘Bad To The Bone’, blaring through the venue, the shirt came off and it was go time.  Briggs came out swinging, Salinas avoided most of what was thrown at him.  After using the jab for about thirty seconds, he went back on the defensive briefly.  Salinas then landed a powerful four-punch combination in a neutral corner that put an exclamation point on what his trainer, Jack Loew, has been preaching for three years – this kid is really good.

“I thought he did real good, just like I told everybody he would”, said Loew. “He is an exciting kid, he can punch, and it is time for him to go to the next level, and I think that he is ready for it.”

Salinas stood by the runway to the ring and thanked everybody for coming. Surrounded by his proud family, this kid makes no bones about it, he is a boxer with a gift, a plethora of promise, and the support staff of a WBC Champion, and he is only 16.

If you did write down that name, put a piece of tape on it, put it on the refrigerator, and wait about a year before he gets a crack at bigger things.  Here is a picture (below), courtesy of Ron Stevens, to print and tape to the fridge with the name.

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