Posts Tagged ‘Bob Mainhardt’

Phantoms Coach Curtis Carr Headed To Merrimack


The Youngstown Phantoms take great pride in announcing that Head Coach Curtis Carr has accepted an assistant coaching position with the Warriors of Merrimack College. Merrimack competes in Hockey East with the likes of Boston College, Boston University and the University of Maine.

The Phantoms and the BJ Alan Corporation continue to pride themselves on both the development of their players and their coaching professionals that have called Youngstown home. For the Phantoms, this summer has been one for the memories as Scott Mayfield was drafted into the National Hockey League, the organization’s first ever NHL selection, 34th over by the New York Islanders, seven players attended NHL rookie developmental camps and now the organization will proudly watch as Curtis Carr becomes the first Phantoms coach to coach NCAA Division-I hockey.

“The promotion of our head coach continues to validate the program that we continue to build here in Youngstown,” said BJ Alan President and CEO Bruce J. Zoldan. “Curtis is a solid character coach and he exemplifies what we and the other members of our organization look for in both our players and coaches. We have been proud to have a person like Curtis acting as a role model for the players that we continue to develop in our system.”

Carr was named the head coach and general manager of the Phantoms on April 2, 2010 after spending the previous four seasons as an assistant coach within the organization. As a coach in the Phantoms system, Carr assembled a coaching record of 170-100-20 after 290 games behind the bench. Carr and the Phantoms also found post season success as they made three National Championship appearances in the North American Hockey League (2006, 2007 and 2008). Carr also found success on the college recruiting trail as 90 players under his guidance have gone on to play collegiate hockey.

“My time here in Youngstown has been outstanding,” said Carr. “I am very grateful to have worked for the Zoldan family and the entire Phantoms organization. I also want to thank Bob Mainhardt for giving me the opportunity to work as an assistant coach underneath him in both the North American Hockey League and the United States Hockey League. I was very fortunate to move into the USHL and receive the promotion to head coach in such a prominent league. For me and my family we felt like this was the right time to move on and pursue my goal of coaching Division-I hockey.”

The Phantoms now former head coach will be headed to a Merrimack program that saw great success during the 2010-11 season. Not only did the Warriors finish the season ranked tenth in the nation, they put together a 25 win season, a new Division-I school record, reached the final game of the Hockey East postseason tournament for the first time in school history and Merrimack clinched a berth in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1998. Ranking second in Hockey East in goals, goals against and power play, Merrimack defeated every Hockey East team for the second straight season and second time ever and was ranked nationally for the final seventeen weeks of the season, reaching #4 nationally in February. The Warriors finished the season ranked tenth by both United States College Hockey Online and USA Today. Adding to the success the Warriors have seen on the ice, this past season, ten Merrimack players were named to the Hockey East All-Academic team, while the program as a whole was named a finalist for the top GPA among all Merrimack male programs.

“I am very thankful and I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to join the Merrimack program,” said Carr. ”Coach [Mark] Dennehy has done a great job over the past seven seasons and Glen Stewart has done a phenomenal job scouting the right players for their program. I am looking forward to learning from both of them as I further my coaching career.”

Phantoms Season Ends With 4-1 Loss To Cedar Rapids

The inaugural season of the Youngstown Phantoms USHL membership came to a close on Saturday.  The Phantoms came out on the short end of the stick, losing to Cedar Rapids, 4-1.  Cedar Rapids is a strong team already locked in as a #2 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.  The Phantoms played hard and have nothing to be ashamed of in losing to the Roughriders (38-19-3).  In fact, I am sure Cedar Rapids is happy to be leaving Youngstown.

The first period did not produce a score for either team and the Roughriders outshot the Phantoms 11-5.  Both teams had powerplay opportunities, but the man advantage would yield no goals either way.  Hits were plentiful and the refs were busy in a physical game picking up right where it left off Friday night.

At the 8:10 mark of the second period, the Roughriders took a 1-0 lead.  Michael Parks knocked in the puck to record his 11th score of the season.  Derek DeBlois recorded an assist on the only even-strength goal of the night.

Stu Wilson, who scored his second goal of the year on Friday, connected again Saturday.  Wilson’s goal was assisted by Thomas Fallen and helped the Roughriders capitalize on the two-man advantage powerplay chance.  Tibbett could not have done much to stop this goal as he was shielded and leaning the wrong way when Wilson let it rip.

With just 14 seconds elapsed on the goal that made it 2-0 in favor of the visitors, Cedar Rapids connected again to increase their lead to 3-0.   Max Bennett tallied at the 12:32 mark from close range.  The Roughriders were still on a powerplay, it just turned into a one-man advantage after the Wilson goal.

Jordan Tibbett stepped up and made a diving save, perhaps the save of the year, for the Phantoms.  Tibbett was blocked away by a crease camper and picked up on a flying puck coming his way.  The reaction to dive across the crease to glove the biscuit and rob Jeff Costello was brilliant.

Ty Loney, in his 17th game for the Phantoms, cut the Cedar Rapids lead to 3-1 with 3:25 left in a busy second period.  Dylan Margonari and Nick Czinder picked up assists on the Phantoms powerplay goal.

Cedar Rapids held the attacking Phantoms at bay in the final period.  Bryce Aneloski dumped an empty-netter in with ten seconds remaining in the contest to close out the scoring and insure a 4-1 victory for the playoff-bound Roughriders.

After the game, Phantoms Coach Curt Carr reflected on the team’s strong finish.  “We will be getting alot of these guys back next year, and these last ten games have shown people what they are capable of.  I would give them a grade of B+ over that span.”

The Phantoms finished the season with a 20-36-4 record.  After the game, which was donned “Fan Appreciation Night“, a jersey auction was held.  As I shook hands with many of the players, some of which will return to Youngstown next season, I realized how it is possible to take young men from all walks of life and geographically distant locations and assimilate their focus to a common goal. 

Some, like Jefferson Dahl, will play college hockey next season and will not be back.  Dahl enjoyed Youngstown and reflected on the up-and-down season.  “It is looking pretty positive here for next season.  There is a real good core of guys who will be back next year and there are some leaders, they will do some damage.”  Dahl is off to Wisconsin to continue playing hockey while he attends college.

Over a six month stretch, I was never bored at a Phantoms game, not once.  The staff and management worked hard to provide wholesome family entertainment.  The one complaint was that the attendance was not what I envisioned.  Dollar beer night at a Scrappers game packs the house.  At a Phantoms ‘bargain beer night’, attendance numbers stayed steady but never exploded.  With a beautiful facility to play in, I would only hope for increased attendance next season. 

With that being said, thank you to the Zoldans for the access and hospitality.  Thank you Bob Mainhardt for all of the great quotes and insight on what to expect at his level.  Thank you Curt Carr and good luck with the baby.  Thank you Matt Gajtka for being the ultimate professional and a friend at all times.  Thank you Richard Young for reminding me that there are consequences when you go on tilt.  A big thank you to all of the players and the very best wishes as you pursue your dream.

Youngstown Phantoms Profiles: Jordan Tibbett And Matt Mahalak


Goaltenders are wired a little different.  They usually are not the best skaters on the ice and rely on their reflexes to get their jobs done.  Jordan Tibbett and Matt Mahalak are the tandem that the Youngstown Phantoms have been using all season.  Any hockey fan will vouch that a teams defense makes or breaks a goalie.  The more shots faced, the more goals scored, that’s just elementary.  Both Phantoms goalies have done well this season but are very different as individuals.  In the first-ever dual interview, meet the netminders, Jordan Tibbett and Matt Mahalak.

Paneech:  How did you both end up as goaltenders, what was the draw?

Tibbett:  I thought the equipment was cool.  My dad always wanted to play but never did, so he stuck me on the ice.

Mahalak:  For me, when we were playing mytes, we would rotate at goalie.  One game I got in there and played pretty well and never got back out.

Paneech:  Unique situation, you are on the same team, yet you are in competition for starts.  How does that work?  Do you get along even though you are competing or does it get competitive?

Tibbett:  It gets competitive.  Really, through pushing each other we really want the best for each other.  The better he [Mahalak] gets, the better I have to get and I have to push myself.

Mahalak:  I have learned stuff from Jordan every practice, and I just try to pick up things.  We are both going for the same number one job, but we are pushing each other to get better so we can both get to the next level.

Paneech:  Is there a little light in your head that goes off when you are not in and you see your counterpart get scored on three times in a period, is there a response mentally, like, “I could have stopped all of those” ?

Tibbett:  Whenever I see a goal from the bench, I start to brainstorm and ask myself what he could have done differently to stop a shot.  Whenever we get a TV timeout, I can talk to Matt and tell him something I may have noticed.  I’m not over there going,  ‘Oh Yeah! Matt is getting scored on!’

Mahalak:  Same here.  I am looking for something that he might not be doing in that game to hopefully help him keep his head on straight.  We help each other to regroup to finish the game.

Paneech:  How much do both of you rely on the defense in front of you?

Tibbett:  It definitely helps.  If you see ten shots from the corner of the blue line, it makes your job really easy.  If you are seeing ten breakaways a game, it makes your job really difficult.  It varies game-to-game.  They are doing everything they can to help us out.

Paneech:  Why does a coach switch a goalie instead of a defenseman if you are facing forty-plus shots per game?

Mahalak:  Switching the goalie is because you are at a turning point in the game.  If a goalie is getting lit up, whether its his fault or not, the team will switch just to try to give an extra boost, or to create a turning point.

Paneech:  You both have little rituals.  When the puck is on the other side of the ice, Jordan, you like to skate across the goal line to the boards.  Matt, you usually drink water and then depart on your little trip.  What is the reason to leave the crease every dead whistle?

Tibbett:  It’s alot of things.  Whenever I am moving around when the play is at the other end or there is a whistle, it keeps my blood flowing and helps me to stay loose.  At the same time, you are getting mentally prepared.  Alot of goaltending is repitition and when you are doing the same thing before every game, and during every game, you go to a familiar spot that puts your mind and body at ease.

Mahalak:  I listen to the music and just try to relax.  Other times, I try to really get geared up and focus.  There is some superstition mixed in with all of the repitition.  Doing the same things over and over makes it easier.

Paneech:  You clear your head.  When the puck is on the other side of the ice, you guys have the best seat in the house.  You are still somewhat focused, yet you are now at ease a bit.  How often do you guys look around, watch the scoreboard, and take in the atmosphere?

Tibbett:  Whenever the play is stopped, I like to look up and see the replays just to get a different angle as to what is going on.  It helps me to have more knowledge in the back of my head to make better split-second decisions. 

Mahalak:  When you get scored on, the replay is played and you see what happened.  After the replay, you have to put it behind you and move on.  It helps refocus and regain confidence.

Paneech:  I have noticed at these USHL games, there are alot of times an opposing player will be crashing the net, stop on a dime, and spray ice flakes all over the goalie.  How mad do you get, do you put the hit out when someone does that to you?

Tibbett:  Players will do that in hopes of getting you in the eyes so that a puck may have a chance to get by.  It is just part of the game and something you have to play through.

Mahalak:  I don’t get too upset, I remain pretty calm.  Usually it is the defensemen that get upset over that kind of stuff.  I brush the snow off and just get back to what I am doing.  If they are doing that to me, I know they are trying to get in my head, that just means that I am in their head.

One Word Answers

                                                                                                                                                                 Tibbett                                        Mahalak

Favorite Meal:                             Dinner                                      Pre-game meal

Biggest Phobia:                              Heighths                                       Spiders

Best Movie:                                     Goonies                                         Surf’s Up

Best All-Time Goalie:                  Dominic Hasek                        Terry Sawchuck

What On A Pizza:                             Meat Lover’s                              Meat Lover’s

Music:                                     Anything, but Country     Anything, Especially Country

Worst Habit:                              Mumbling                        Sitting Up In My Butterfly

Soft Drink:                                 Root Beer                                     Anything Bottled

Fast Food:                                   Chik-Fil-A                                         Subway

Worst Thing You Ever Did:     

Tibbett: (Laughs)  I had a bunch of stickers of bugs and stuck them everywhere and watched my grandfather try to kill them.  It was pretty cruel.

Mahalak:  I haven’t done anything wrong yet.  I am the golden child.

Paneech:  Jordan, what do you thin is in Matt’s future in the sport of hockey?

Tibbett:  I think he is going to the NHL.  His first game in the NHL will be when he is 22. 

Paneech:  Matt, where does Jordan go?

Mahalak:  I think Jordan should be in college right now.  I don’t know what he is doing messing around.  He has NHL potential and hopefully he can get a scholarship this year.

Youngstown Phantoms And Bob Mainhardt Part Ways

Alex Zoldan announced on Tuesday that Coach Bob Mainhardt and the Youngstown Phantoms have parted ways.  The seperation seems to be mutual.  If the situation were an outright firing, the Phantoms surely would have selected someone other than Mainhardt’s right-hand guy for the past four years, Curt Carr, to replace him.  Further proof that Mainhardt was not hastily sent packing is the fact he will remain a consultant to the team.

“In a situation like this, you really learn who your true friends are.  I am grateful to have met so many hockey fans and to have had the opportunity to work with such a great bunch of people.  I am also thankful to the Zoldan family for allowing me the opportunity.  I would have hoped this had ended a little differently, it’s not what I envisioned”, said Mainhardt Thursday morning via telephone.

Having interviewed Mainhardt after every home game, I gained alot of respect for the way he conducted himself both on and off the ice.  There were no gimmicks or surprises, no bells and whistles, and the only mystery was what kind of entertaining quote he would furnish after a game.  I can only hope that he is well and he is to be commended for his efforts this season.

Things haven’t been right since this new decade started.  The Phantoms are 2-13-0 in the year of 2010.  No one is sure why things have gone so sour, so quickly.  Mainhardt was often quoted after a loss as saying, “There are still guys not buying into the system and doing their own things”.  Seems like Mainhardt may have grown tired of selling.

Phantoms President, Alex Zoldan, commented on the move Friday.  “I consider Bob [Mainhardt] a very good friend and I think he has a bright future in the hockey business.  Seven years with any organization is a long time and I think we needed a fresh start.  We’re still working together on some things and I have all the respect in the world for Bob.”

Curt Carr, the former Director of Player Development, has been named the new coach on an interim basis.  Carr is plenty capable and surely has mixed emotions about the opportunity.  The Phantoms have 16 games remaining on the schedule and have pretty much been eliminated from thoughts of a postseason.

Good luck to Coach Carr in his new role!  Big thanks to Bob Mainhardt for being a good guy and a person some people could learn a thing or two from about life.

Youngstown Phantoms Profiles: Curtis Carr

When an outsider meets a guy like Curtis Carr, they usually scratch their head and wonder what exactly he does for the Youngstown Phantoms.  His official title in the media guide is Associate Coach / Director of Player Development.  To actually talk with him about his role with the team unveils so much more about what it is that prompts this blog to say that Carr is underpaid.

For as open and forthright as Bob Mainhardt is, you would think he would pick someone with the verbage to alleviate his public headaches.  Coach Carr is the first to admit that he is not a talker, especially to the public sector.  Yet, to have a conversation with Carr was surprisingly refreshing and not at all what I expected.  He hides his intelligence and his emotions but came off as very articulate and passionate about hockey.

Paneech:  As the Director of Player Development for a team in a developmental league, what exactly do you do?

Carr: I help out with the scouting in the offseason. As far as the guys that are here, I work with them before and after practice on their individual skills. I also monitor their off time as far as weight training, dealing with the kids that are in school as far as their academics, and keep track of their transcripts to send to recruiting colleges.  I also maintain profiles for the players for pro scouts.  I also review videotape with the team and players individually so they can pinpoint the things they need to work on.

Paneech:  What is the best thing so far about this year as well as the worst thing.

Carr: The best thing about this year is being in this league [USHL].  It’s been pretty impressive to work with kids at this talent level.  We have a great bunch of guys in our locker room that want to make something of themselves and they really work hard.  The most negative thing about this year is the current losing streak that we are on, but I think we are close to getting it turned around.

Paneech:  Being a married man, how does this all play out with the wife at home?

Carr:  I’m really fortunate, my wife met me when I was already doing this so she knew what she was getting into.  She is a teacher and very passionate about her job so she understands my passion for this.  When I go home, I try my hardest to shut this off and focus on my life away from hockey.  Usually, I will come home three nights a week and concentrate on the things I should at home.  I go to dinners and the movies, you know, just things to let her know that I care about her.

Paneech:  Talk about your one-game suspension.

Carr:  It was my first penalty as a coach. We were in Waterloo and the refs made a couple of questionable calls late in the game that I disagreed with.  I let my opinion be known after the game and got penalized for it.

Paneech: I know Coach Mainhardt wears his heart on his sleeve.  You seem much more reserved, how is the chemistry between the two of you?

Carr: I’ve worked with Bob [Mainhardt] for four years and consider him a very good friend.  We do have alot of the same opinions and similar feelings on things, but you are right he does wear his heart on his sleeve and can be a little more animated than I am.  He is very emotional and uses that to get the players going.  I hide in the back and take a couple of deep breaths before I speak, and I just say things in a different matter.  Good cop, bad cop would be a good way to put it.

Whatever the method, and regardless of the record, Carr and Mainhardt make a very strong tandem that will hopefully anchor this franchise for years to come.

Matt Gajtka, the Director of Media Relations for the Phantoms also speaks highly of Coach Carr.  “Curt is a very quiet guy until you get to know him.  Once you break through that exterior, you meet a quality individual who is genuine and concerned with the players in all phases of their lives, as well as hockey.  He does a great job on helping them as they try to get to the next level.”

Sioux Falls Bullies Youngstown, 8-3

The Youngstown Phantoms got embarrassed on their home ice Friday in dropping an 8-1 decision to Sioux Falls.  The Stampede beat the Phantoms in every phase of that game.  As Classic Rock legends Foreigner once sang, That Was Yesterday, and Sunday offered fresh zeroes on the scoreboard.

Unfortunately for the home team, the zeroes turned into bad numbers again.  The goals scored section read Sioux Falls 8, Youngstown 3.  The shots on goal column for Sioux Falls had a 38 underneath it, too many quality attempts for the Phantoms to give to a high-powered juggernaut like the Stampede.

The Phantoms got a goal from Taylor Holstrom (above) at the 9:35 mark of the first period.  Both teams had a man in the penalty box, so it was an even-strength chance.  Brett Gensler picked up an assist as the Phantoms took the 1-0 lead, quite a contrast from Friday when they were down 3-0 at this point.

Sioux Falls tied it up as Michael Voran connected when Matt Lindblad’s shot deflected off of Phantoms Goalkeeper Matt Mahalak.  Voran was in the right place at the right time as he picked up the easy goal.

Matt Zarbo gave Sioux Falls the lead when he connected on an assist from Voran just about a half-minute later handing Sioux Falls a 2-1 lead.

Matt Farris connected just 18 seconds later, and just like that, the Phantoms had dug themselves a hole at the end of the first period and trailed 3-1 at the intermission.  Sioux Falls took the big lead scoring three quick goals in the last 1:19 of the frame.

At the 9:09 mark of the second period, the Phantoms broke into the Sioux Falls zone with a three-on-two advantage.  Jefferson Dahl unloaded the puck to Ryan Jasinsky who nailed the shot from in between the faceoff circles, beating Stampede netminder Clay Witt (top photo).  The goal shrunk the Sioux Falls lead to 3-2.

Conor Allen pushed the Stampede margin back to two goals when he scored from in between the circles. The goal came with 5:38 left in the second period and anytime the Phantoms seemed to gain a little momentum it was yanked away.

Linblad got his second point of the game when he took a rebound and stuffed it past Mahalak.  For Linblad, it was his twelfth goal of the season.  The powerplay goal was scored with 1:19 left in the second. Voran and Anthony Day picked up assists.  After two periods, Youngstown trailed Sioux Falls, 5-2.

Clark Cristofoli drilled a slapshot past Mahalk from the farthest part of the right faceoff circle.  The goal came at the 2:34 mark of the final period.  Jacob Johnstone was credited with an assist on Cristofoli’s second goal of the season.  Sioux Falls seemed to be having all of the fun again as they opened the lead to four goals at 6-2, their largest margin on the afternoon.

With 15:18 left in the game, the Stampede struck again as Josh Holmstrom let loose at an empty net. Mahalak dove right to stop a shot seconds earlier and Holmstrom was able to buzz it by before the Phantoms goaltender could reload to make it 7-2.  With 11:31 left, Holmstrom again hit the twine to push the lead to 8-2, and the route was on.

Scott Mayfield picked up his seventh goal of the season at the 11:14 mark of the third to ease the sting and make the score 8-3.  Stuart Higgins tallied an assist, his sixth of the year.  Unfortunately, it was the last murmur of the game and when the horn sounded signifying the end, the Phantoms were on the short end of the stick.

Goaltender Clay Witt may want to call Howard Hanna Real Estate to see if there are any homes for sale because he plays well when he hears the word Youngstown.  Witt has only give up four goals in three starts against the Phantoms (14-21-2) this season.

The Phantoms return to the ice Wednesday morning to play defending champion Indiana with a special early start time of 10 AM. 

Cody Strang Records First-Ever Phantoms Hat Trick As Phantoms Whack Team USA

The Youngstown Phantoms don’t want to come off as an unpatriotic group of people, but they broke a six-game winless streak and set records of a positive nature in their destruction of Team USA, 7-3.  Cody Strang (pictured) collected the first hat trick in Phantoms history as the home team scored seven unanswered goals to post their first win of 2010.

The Phantoms had lost to the 18 & under version of Team USA, 6-1, two nights earlier.  The trend looked to continue as the Michigan-based Team USA jumped out to a 2-0 lead. 

Monday, the 17 & under version of Team USA got their shot at the struggling Phantoms who had not yet posted a win in the year 2010 (0-5). 

Rocco Grimaldi (pictured) connected at the 10:50 mark to put Team USA up 1-0.  For Grimaldi, it marked his sixth point of the season against the Phantoms.  Grimaldi’s goal was unassisted and came on a Team USA powerplay chance.

It didn’t take long for Grimaldi to find the net again as he connected at the 16:19 mark of the first period.  Austin Wuthrich picked up an assist on Grimaldi’s second goal of the night and seventh of the season.

Tom Serratore got Youngstown on the scoreboard at the 17:27 mark, still in the first period.  Serratore was assisted by Ryan Jasinsky on the even-strength chance.

As the first period closed, the Phantoms had 15 shots on goal compared to Team USA’s nine, yet trailed the Under-17 USA group 2-1. 

With 9:15 left in the second priod, Adam Berkle tied the game with a powerplay goal, his eighth of the season.  Berkle took his shot from the left faceoff circle and beat Matt McGee.  Assists on Berkle’s goal went to Taylor Holstrom and David Donnellan.

Three minutes later,  Holstrom connected as Team USA goaltender McGee was laying on his stomach in the crease.  Holstrom fired from about 15 feet away and grazed the top bar of the goal as his shot hit twine and gave the Phantoms a 3-2 lead.

The onslaught continued as Cody Strang snuck the puck past McGee at the 14:27 mark of the second.  Jefferson Dahl and Luke Eibler snagged assists on the beautiful shot that Strang had from a tough angle.  The Phantoms stayed  hot as they picked up another goal a few moments later to go up 5-2.  Strang redirected a Luke Eibler slapshot and picked up the powerplay goal with an assist from Dahl.  It was the Phantoms third powerplay goal of the period and fifth in a row.

Strang, who was hurt for a good part of the season with wrist problems, knocked home his third goal of the game, a hat trick.  When asked about the wrist, Strang replied, “It felt pretty good tonight.  Some nights it gets sore, other nights it feels good.  It was a month ago I last got a goal, so I was really happy to get three.” 

The hat trick was the first in Phantoms history.  Strang was assisted by Dahl, his third helper of the game.  Mercifully, the second period would close with Youngstown ahead of Team USA, 6-2.

After two periods the shots on goal heavily favored Youngstown 37-13.  The 22 shots on goal in the second period were the most by the Phantoms this season.  The five goals scored in the period were also a new franchise record. 

Jiri Sekac, a Czech Republican Phantom, scored his first career USHL goal.  The goal pushed the lead to 7-2 in favor of the Phantoms.  Brett Gensler collected an assist, and the  Phantoms had their seventh unanswered goal.  The seventh goal was the highest output on offense for Youngstown since November 19.  The Phantoms also set a season-high for shots on goal in a game with 44, breaking the old mark of 42.

JT Miller, of nearby East Palestine, scored a goal for Team USA to close out the scoring at 7-3.  Robbie Russo snagged an assist to close out the game scoring.

Coach Bob Mainhardt was happy to get back on the winning track.  “I thought we played pretty good in the last few games but we still drifted from the gameplan.  Tonight showed that when we play 60 minutes, we are a really good team.”

Mainhardt also sang the praises of Cody Strang.  “He is a natural goal scorer.  He is headed to the University of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin doesn’t take too many slouches.  We had very high hopes for him coming in and he has done a great job.” 

The Phantoms hit the road for a Friday game with Waterloo.  The puck drops at 7:05 and you can catch all of the action on AM-1240 with Matt Gajtka, the best in the USHL – give him a listen.

Phantoms Nick Czinder And Taylor Holstrom Named To USHL All-Star Team

The Youngstown Phantoms have struggled to find consistency this season.  Two individuals who have been good night in and night out have been rewarded for their efforts.  Nick Czinder and Taylor Holstrom have been named to represent Youngstown at the USHL All-Star Game to be held in Indianapolis on January 26.

Taylor Holstrom has appeared in all 31 Phantoms games so far this season.  Over that span of games, he has racked up some pretty impressive numbers.  Holstrom leads the team in scoring with 23 points (8 goals, 15 assists) and impressive plus/minus ratio of +11.  Beyond the numbers is the intangible bursts of speed that Holstrom flashes.  The guy is a hustler and is very deservant of the honor.

Nick Czinder has put up numbers to be proud of.  Czinder has nine goals and five assists and a plus/minus ratio of +10.  Czinder is a highly-touted prospect who also plays hard every single game.  He is one of the few guys Coach Bob Mainhardt has praised consistently all season.

Congratulations Nick and Taylor!!

Fargo Forces Their Way Past Youngstown Phantoms, 4-2

The Youngstown Phantoms seem to have lost their mojo over the last couple of weeks.  Friday, they did little to regain the promise shown in December as Fargo rolled into town and captured a 4-2 victory.  The loss was the fourth in a row for the slumping Phantoms.

The Phantoms wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as Tom Serratore put the rebound of an Adam Berkle shot into the opponents net.  Dan Senkbeil also picked up an assist on the goal, scored at the 4:28 mark of the first.

Garrett Allen tied the game when Phantoms Goaltender, Jordan Tibbet, got tangled up with a Force player trying to retreat back through the crease.  Allen’s goal was a rebound off of a Matt Leitner shot.  The goal, which came at the 11:37 mark of the first period was Allen’s 12th of the season.

With 14:37 left in the second period, Force Captain Chase Grant connected on a shorthanded chance.  Grant’s goal was his 15th of the season and was unassisted putting Fargo on top, 2-1.

With 11:27 left in the second period, Fargo took a 3-1 lead when Corey Leivermann  beat Tibbett from close range.  Garnering assists on the goal were Colten St. Clair, and Grant, who scored three minutes earlier.

With 1:13 left in the second, Youngstown sliced the two-goal Fargo lead in half when Brett Gensler connected unassisted.  Gensler had been so close so many times in recent games to scoring a goal.  He finally broke through with his eleventh of the season.

In the third period, Nate Condon extended the Force lead to 4-2.  Chad Demers and Johnnie Searfoss picked up assists on the Condon goal.  Condon snuck the puck past Tibbett who stopped a Demers drive that deflected to the front lip of the right faceoff circle.

Fargo held off a late powerplay chance to preserve the victory and raise their record to 21-9-1.  With the loss the Phantoms fell to 13-15-2.  Fargo outshot the Phantoms 31-27.

After the game, a dejected Coach Mainhardt reflected on the recent problems of his team.  “A couple of bad apples are spoiling the whole bushel.  Most members of each line play well and do their jobs, but there is a guy on each line not sticking to the plan.  We will give them an opportunity to do the job again tomorrow, and if those couple of guys continue to let the team down we will definitely be shortening the bench and giving the ice time to the guys who are on the right page.”

Richard Young Tilt-O-Meter:

Coming Into 1-8-10 Game vs Fargo: 120 penalty minutes (leads USHL).

After Game:  Still 120 penalty minutes.

Young was a scratch from Friday’s game and has missed the last three with concussion symptoms.  He sat next to me in the pressbox during the game and stayed busy videotaping and charting shots for the team.  The injury took place when he was checked simultaneously by two Green Bay defenders on the recent roadtrip. 

Phantoms Return To Action With A 4-3 Win Over Waterloo

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.