Posts Tagged ‘Mike Ambrosia’

Phantoms Eliminated From Playoffs By Green Bay, 4-1

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With their backs against the wall, the Youngstown Phantoms were fighting for survival and trying to force a game five.  Through two periods, they did just that.  However, the high octane offense of Green Bay came to life when it needed life fast and eliminated Youngstown from the postseason with a 4-1 win.

Following the game three home loss on Tuesday night, Anthony Noreen vowed that his team would come out fighting for their lives and doing all they could to survive.  The first-year coach can be proud of the effort his team put forward against ,arguably,  a USHL dynasty, in Green Bay.

It only took 1:35 for the Phantoms to nab a 1-0 lead.  Mike Ambrosia emerged from some early chaos in front of Green Bay’s Ryan McKay and whizzed it past the Gambler’s netminder to stake the Phantoms to the early lead.  Sam Anas earned an assist on Ambrosia’s goal.  Unfortunately, the goal would be their last of the year.

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Matt O’Connor was a brick wall of resistance through two periods, recording 32 saves.  The 6’5″ Phantoms goaltender sent the message to both his teammates and the Green Bay squad that nothing was going in easily.

With the Phantoms ahead 1-0 when the second period buzzer sounded, a frustrated McKay heaved his water bottle across the ice toward the red line.  The Phantoms had only taken 14 shots at McKay through the first two periods, but one of those found the underdog Phantoms ahead of his Gamblers.

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With 11:26 left in the game, Nolan LaPorte made a nifty move putting the puck through a Phantoms defenseman’s legs, skating around, and then bursting toward O’Connor and finishing by hitting the inside of the right post for a Gamblers goal.

Typical of Green Bay, the next goal came fast.  With 7:37 left in the game, Sam Herr gave Green Bay its first lead of the game.  Alex Broadhurst and Jordan Schmaltz were credited with assists on Herr’s tally.

Grant Arnold and Herr knocked in empty-netters to cap the scoring.

The Phantoms accomplished a great deal in Noreen’s first season and this franchise has so much to look forward to with him leading the charge.

Broadhurst Nets Three Shorthanded Goals As Green Bay Reclaims Home Ice, 6-3

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The Youngstown Phantoms stole home ice from Green Bay with their 5-3 win Sunday. Green Bay got to Youngstown and stole it back with a 6-3 win over the Phantoms. Green Bay’s equivalent to the NHL’s ‘playoff beard’, was every member of the team dying their hair blond (seriously).  The dye paid off, as Green Bay took 32 shots compared to Youngstown’s 20, and Alex Broadhurst scored a trio of shorthanded goals.

“We have been doing the bleach blond hair and dark facial hair for four years and it hasn’t hurt us”, said Broadhurst.  

Green Bay started the scoring when Broadhurst intercepted the puck while the Phantoms were on a powerplay.  Broadhurst burst into the Phantoms zone on what looked like a penalty shot and snuck the puck past Matt O’Connor just 2:41 into the contest.

The Phantoms tied the game when Todd Koritzinsky connected for his second goal of the playoffs.  Koritzinski’s goal came at even-strength with 3:22 left to play in the first. Pat Conte and Chris Bradley (below) picked up assists on the Phantoms goal.

With 25 seconds left in the opening period, Sheldon Dries gave Green Bay a 2-1 lead to take back to the locker room.  With 14:42 left in the second period, C. J. Eick increased the Gambler lead to 3-1 when he finished off a 3-on-2 breakaway chance.

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The Gamblers offensive onslaught continued as they added another score.  Grant Arnold didn’t get all of the slapshot he took between the right faceoff circle and blue line, but O’Connor was screened and the puck bounced and rolled by him.  With 8:51 gone in the second, it was suddenly a 4-1 Gamblers lead.

A frustrated Phantoms team racked up ten second period penalty minutes.  The one time they had the numbers, Broadhurst again intercepted a puck and gathered his second shorthanded, unassisted goal of the game to make it 5-1.  Through two periods, the Phantoms were outshot 27-14.

“Bottom line is that we have no room left to lose”, said Anthony Noreen.  ”If we do lose, it’s all over and we are not ready for this to end.  We will be fighting for our lives tomorrow night.”

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In the third period, with 13:39 left in the game, Ryan Belonger broke into the Green Bay Zone and fired a shot from inside the right faceoff circle that trickled through Ryan McKay‘s equipment.  Belonger’s goal was unassisted and made it a 5-2 game.

Green Bay is a very good hockey team that can score in waves.  But the disturbing thing that showed was how cocky they play.  They were chirping in the Phantoms ears every whistle of the game.

The cockiness caught up a bit when Youngstown scored on a powerplay chance.  J.T. Stenglein scored with 6:55 left in the game to make it 5-3.  Stenglein’s goal was a result of crisp passing and execution on the powerplay.  Austin Cangelosi and Mike Ambrosia picked up assists on the goal.

Broadhurst completed his rare shorthanded hat trick at the 13:44 mark of the third period.

“That was my first hat trick in the USHL”, said Broadhurst, a 2011 seventh round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks.  ”I played hard and felt like I deserved that, they are a good team, so I was happy to get those chances.”

With the win, the Gamblers took a 2-1 series lead and can eliminate the Phantoms with a win Wednesday night at the Covelli Centre.

Cangelosi Pulls Phantoms To 4-3 Overtime Thriller

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The Youngstown Phantoms and Cedar Rapids Rough Riders started their USHL Playoff series with a bang.  The Phantoms outshot the Rough Riders, 36-17 through regulation, but when the buzzer sounded, the game was tied at three goals apiece.  Austin Cangelosi continued to be a clutch player as he scored the game-winning goal, 6:18 into the extra session to put the Phantoms up 1-0 in the best-of-three series.

Cangelosi commented on his game-winner: “It’s not something I tried a lot in practice, maybe on NHL 2012, but not in live competition.  It was a shot in the dark and I did it on instinct.  I saw the puck rolling down his [Hildebrand's] back and into the net, and I was ecstatic”

Playing in the postseason for the first time in their three-year franchise history, the Phantoms looked like seasoned veterans for the most part.  Youngstown hit the scoreboard with 9:24 in the books when Mike Ambrosia beat Jake Hildebrand (above).  The first-ever Phantoms postseason goal came at even strength and Ambrosia was assisted by Sam Anas and Cangelosi.

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About five minutes into the second period, the Phantoms drew a couple of quick penalties to give Cedar Rapids a two-man advantage.  Down two men, the Phantoms managed more shots than the team with the advantage, and the special teams looked fine tuned.

Cedar Rapids tied the game 9:42 into the second period.  Dylan Gareau took a nice feed from Landon Smith to beat Matt O’Connor.  Smith was among a group of players jostling for the puck behind the net.  Smith gained control, skated along the boards, halfway to the corner, and found Gareau waiting unattended, ten feet, front and center, from the net.

Ryan McGrath gave the Rough Riders a 2-1 lead with 6:21 to play in the second.  McGrath’s even-strength goal was unassisted.  The Cedar Rapids forward gathered a loose puck to the left of O’Connor and skated around the front crease line before he flicked the puck past the outstretched body of O’Connor.

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Through two periods, the Phantoms held a 24-15 advantage in shots on goal, yet trailed the game 2-1.

With 9:55 left in the game, however, the Phantoms tied things up.  Alex Gacek fought for the puck around the Rough Rider blue line and poked it past a defender.  Gacek then found  J. T. Stenglein cutting toward the goal and hit him in stride with a centering pass.  Stenglein went high on Hildebrand’s stick side to find the twine.

What should have been good fortune, then turned into tragedy.  With 6:36 left in the game and the Phantoms on a powerplay, Nick Saracino picked off a loose puck at center ice and flew toward O’Connor.  As Saracino got between the circles he fired one through the legs of O’Connor that found its way in.

The Phantoms retaliated quickly.  With 4:05 left in the game, Jonathan Liau got a pass from Ambrosia that he whistled in to tie the game back up.

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With 1:11 left in the game, Jordan Young was whistled for high-sticking to allow Cedar Rapids a chance to finish regulation with a man advantage.  The Rough Riders could not seal the deal and regulation expired.  The remainder of the penalty, 49 seconds, would factor into the overtime.

It should be noted that overtime in the playoffs is different than the regular season format.  Instead of a two-minute intermission that leads into a five-minute overtime period, there is a 20-minute session following a 15-minute break.

In the overtime, the Phantoms got a powerplay chance of their own and took six quality shots, none of which got past Hildebrand.

Cangelosi than played hero as he carried the puck over center ice with a teammate and a defender on each side.  Cangelosi then flipped the puck over a defenseman’s head, raced around him, and fired it in from close range for the winner.

“Austin showed again tonight just how special he is”, said Anthony Noreen.  ”What he just did to win that game provided the biggest goal in the history of this franchise, and he really deserved it.”

“It’s a great win for us”, said a jubilant Noreen.  ”We want to play every game as though it is a must-win.  It will be nice to end the series tomorrow night, not only because we can pick up the extra day of rest, but also because we just want to win this now.”

Anas And Jonzzon Shootout Goals Lift Phantoms To 4-3 Win Over Green Bay To Close Regular Season

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The Youngstown Phantoms closed out their regular season with a bang on Saturday night.  The Green Bay Gamblers, defending Clark Cup champions from last season, were playing their final game before getting almost a full week off to prepare for their playoff start.  The Phantoms were trying to gain momentum heading into their Monday playoff series with Cedar Rapids.

It took a shootout to determine a winner and when the smoke cleared, Sam Anas and Soren Jonzzon lifted the home team to a thrilling 2-1 shootout victory that gave the Phantoms a 4-3 win against the best in the game.

“My goal was inspired by the New Jersey Devils Patrick Kane”, said Anas.  ”I saw him do that and I worked on it and gave it a try tonight and it worked.”

“I saw Sam’s goal and noticed that Rotolo was beatable through the five-hole”, said Jonzzen.  ”I faked, pulled the puck back and beat him there [five-hole] for the goal.

In the first period, the Phantoms put the puck in the cage to take an early 1-0 lead.  Alexander Dahl nabbed his third goal of the season just 4:39 into the game.  Ryan Belonger and Jonzzon were credited with assists on Dahl’s goal.

Mike Ambrosia increased the Phantoms lead to 2-0 at the 12:06 mark of the first.  Ambrosia beat Michael Rotolo for his 18th score of the year.  Chris Bradley and Anas earned assists on the powerplay strike.

Before the first period ended, Green Bay got on the scoreboard.  Grant Arnold trickled a shot off of the glove of Sean Romeo that fluttered into the net.

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In the second period, Green Bay tied the contest at two goals apiece when Arnold collected his second goal of the night and seventh of the season.  Arnold’s goal came 3:52 into the second period.

Green Bay entered the contest with a 47-9-3 record and would have about six days rest securing a first round USHL playoff bye.  By no means were they playing a softer brand of hockey.  Conversely, the Phantoms had a few notable scratches as Kevin Liss, Richard Zehnal, and Dylan Morganari watched the game in the stands.

The intensity kicked up a notch with just over a minute left in the second period.  Phantoms forward  Todd Korizinsky caught a high stick to the face and staggered toward the Phantom bench.  However, Zach Evancho, a Phantom, was whistled for a too many men on the ice infraction which sent Anthony Noreen into a frenzy.

“I was concerned about Korizinsky’s safety because he was holding his face and wanted to make sure he could get to the bench”, said Noreen.  ”I wasn’t upset with the call that the refs made.”

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The Phantoms took a 3-2 lead when Daniel Renouf fired the puck on net and Jonzzon redirected it past Rotolo.  The goal was scored at the 1:31 mark of the third period.

Noreen opted to let Matt O’Connor play the third period.  Romeo’s full two periods were pretty good, as he faced 22 shots and stopped 20 of them.

With 4:49 left in the game and the Phantoms just killing off a penalty, Arnold beat O’Connor for his third goal of the game.  The Gambler forward nearly doubled his entire output for the 2011-12 season as he entered the game with just five goals.

Commenting on the hat trick by Arnold, Noreen showed a lot of class.  ”He [Arnold] is a captain and always plays hard.  He deserved to have that type of game.”

With nobody scoring in the overtime session, the teams went to a shootout.  Green Bay got a goal from Alex Kile.  The Phantoms got shootout goals from Anas and Jonzzon to gain the win.

“I challenged our guys to use this game to build momentum going into the playoffs”, remarked Noreen.  ”It is a nice win against a very talented team.”

Indiana’s Bus Breaks, But Offense Runs Just Fine In 5-2 Win Over Phantoms

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The Youngstown Phantoms, in front of one of the biggest crowds of the year, fell prey to the Indiana Ice, 5-2.  The start of the game was pushed back almost an hour because the bus carrying the Indiana team broke down somewhere en route to the Covelli Centre.  The way this game went, the Phantoms would have hoped that the spare would have been flat too.

In the first period, no one could get the puck into the net.  Solid goaltending by Matt O’Connor for the Phantoms and Jon Gillies for the Ice saw a couple of zeroes at the end of the first twenty minutes.  The two netminders combined to stop 26 shots.

Indiana broke the “Ice” on the scoreless game when Danill Tarasov recorded his 38th goal of the season beating O’Connor glove side.  Tarasov’s goal was unassisted and came with 17:39 to go in the second period.

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The Phantoms were able to tie the game at a goal apiece briefly.  Austin Cangelosi (above) recorded his 26th goal of the season with 15:59 remaining in the second.  Cangelosi gathered a Mike Ambrosia shot that bounced off of Gillies and stuffed it back into the net.  Ambrosia was given an assist on Cangelosi’s even-strength goal.

The Ice (32-14-7) would then explode for a couple of quick goals to take a 3-1 lead.  Ryan Obuchowski scored the first with 14:58 to play in the second period.  A few minutes later, Tarasov connected again, sneaking the puck past O’Connor with both teams playing a man down.  The Ice took a commanding three goal lead with 2:30 remaining in the second period when Emil Romig connected in a high-traffic situation in front of a crowded goal crease.

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In the third period, the Ice tacked on another goal to make it 5-1 when Robert Polesello took a pass from behind the net and drilled it past O’Connor.  Obuchowski and Nieves were credited assists on the goal.

The Phantoms (30-17-7) had a few chances to tighten the game in the third period, but failed to make it happen until Eric Sweetman connected with 4:29 left to play to make it 5-2.  Sweetman went high on the glove side for his fourth goal of the season.

The Ice took 55 shots compared to the Phantoms 37.

Belonger’s Heroics Not Enough As Phantoms Fall 6-5 In OT At Waterloo

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Trailing 5-4 with under three minutes left in regulation, Ryan Belonger gave the Phantoms a chance to win with a game-tying goal. Ian McCoshen snuck a long one past Matt O’Connor in overtime to erase the heroics of Belonger and send the Youngstown Phantoms to their second straight overtime loss, 6-5, in a wild one.

Waterloo scored first as Vince Hinostroza scored just 2:54 into the contest.   By the end of the first period, however, it wa the Phantoms who took a 2-1 lead into the intermission.  Goals by Dylan Margonari, who was assisted by J. T. Stenglein, and Chris Bradley‘s unassisted gem temporarily vaulted the Phantoms into the lead.

A wild second period saw five total goals scored, unfortunately for the purple Youngstown skaters, three of them were by Waterloo.  Austin Cangelosi pulled out a shorthanded goal, unassisted, 6:12 into the second to increase Youngstown’s lead to 3-1.  After Tony Cameranesi cut the lead to 3-2 with a Waterloo goal, Mike Ambrosia scored to give the Phantoms back the two-goal lead with three-and-a-half minutes to play in the period.

Goals for Waterloo from Scott MacDonald and a Taylor Cammarata powerplay goal with just three seconds remaining in the period tied the game at four goals apiece.

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In the final period, Waterloo jumped out to a 5-4 lead when Mark Naclerio scored with 6:57 elapsed in the final stanza.  Neither team would muster much offense until the final horn was ready to sound.  Belonger then took an unassisted chance and put the puck into the net, beating Stephon Williams with 2:35 left in the game.

In the overtime, McCoshen scored with 3:36 gone in the extra session to lift Waterloo to the victory.

Matt O’Connor faced 41 shots and stopped 35 of them in a gallant effort between the pipes.

With the loss, the Phantoms fell to 51-29-15 and trail Indiana by one point for second place in the Eastern Conference playoff race.  Dubuque is only one point behind the Phantoms and this race for second, third, and fourth places looks to be heading down to the wire.

The Phantoms will now travel to Chicago to face an Ice team that has been pretty well removed from the playoffs and has nothing to lose.  On the other hand, Youngstown needs the points and will have to put their best skate forward.

Phantoms Outplay Opponent, But Lose, 4-2

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Since 2009, the Phantoms have been playing hockey without having much postseason experience.  Finding themselves in an unfamiliar position, contending for a playoff spot, the Phantoms outshot, outhit, and looked sharper a majority of the game, but lost 4-2 to the Chicago Steel.  Unlucky would be a soft adjective.  Cursed would be closer to the truth.

The Steel put the first goal of the game up in less than a minute.  At the 26 second mark of the game, Phillip Marinaccio snuck the puck past Phantoms goaltender, Matt O’Connor.  The goal was the second of the season for Chicago’s best kept offensive secret. Andrew Miller was credited with an assist on the initial goal.  Before the smoke even cleared from the pregame fireworks, the Phantoms trailed.

After the early goal, O’Connor buckled down and made some good saves.  After two periods, the Phantoms still trailed 1-0.  In the second period, at least 70% of the action took place in the Chicago zone, but the Phantoms could not capitalize on the good looks they were getting.  The Steel had three less shots, 16,  than the Phantoms, who let it fly 19 times.  Steel goalie Alex Sakellaropoulos either must have felt like he hit the lottery, or he should go buy a few tickets after the game because the Phantoms had chances in the second period but were their own worst enemies with the puck.

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In the third and final period, the Phantoms let a couple more chances get away.  Sam Anas was turned away right at the doorstep early in the period.  Chicago made the Phantoms pay when they scored a goal shortly after to take a 2-0 lead.  Canon Pieper recorded his goal of the season at even-strength.  Pieper was hanging out by the net when Jaccob Slavin rocketed a nice pass in front of O’Connor from the top of the right faceoff circle. Just outside of the goal crease on O’Connor’s glove side sat Pieper who tapped in the puck from short range for the goal with just over 16 minutes left in the game.

Chicago would strike again with 10:36 remaining in the game.  The Steel had just killed a penalty and the puck was still in their zone when Marinaccio and Ali Thomas broke out with the puck forming a timely two-on-one break.  Marinaccio carried the puck across the line and headed toward O’Connor before giving it up at the last second where Thomas was able to push it into the net for a 3-0 lead.

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With 4:04 left in the game, the Phantoms ruined Sakellaropoulos’ perfect night.  Alex Gacek beat the Steel netminder glove side to make it a 4-1 game.  Austin Cangelosi and Dylan Margonari picked up assists on the even-strength chance.

With 59 seconds to go in the contest, the Phantoms again scored.  This time, Anas was able to light the lamp for the 12th time this season.  Cangelosi and Mike Ambrosia recorded assists.  However, too little too late was a proper adage on thos night for the Phantoms.

The Phantoms (24-14-3) took 31 shots and the Steel (14-27-1) got off 23 shots.

Youngstown Phantoms Profiles: Austin Cangelosi

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This kid is a player.  Having covered the Phantoms for every season they have played, I have not seen a burst, a nose for the puck, or a natural ability to make something happen in any situation like I have from Austin Cangelosi.  The youngster who wears #9 for the Phantoms has a bright future in the sport of hockey and will, without a doubt, be wearing an NHL uniform.  He is a huge Devils fan, but the average hockey fan would see more Sidney Crosby in him than any Devil.

Paneech: You are an elite goal scorer at this level, what do you attribute your success to?

Cangelosi: I would say that the success comes from my speed.  I carry the puck into the zone and keep my feet moving and also going hard to the net.  My linemates finding my stick which helps me find the back of the net.

Paneech: Speaking of the line you are on, how would it aid or hurt you to be switched to a less productive line to help boost the teams chances to win?

Cangelosi: I definitely feel as though I am blessed to be on a great line.  I’m very comfortable with the guys and without even looking, I just know where they are going to be and they can find me.  Mike Ambrosia and Ryan Belonger have been great to play with.

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Paneech: When you first got into playing hockey, was it something that was forced on you by your father, or did you pester your parents to let you try to play?

Cangelosi: I moved to Florida when I was seven years old and thought maybe I was going to play golf or tennis.  It just so happened that there was a rink five minutes from my house.  I went and checked it out and one of the coaches asked me if I would like to play, so I said ‘sure, why not‘.  From there, it just kicked off.  After my eighth grade year, we moved to Massachusetts and played at a prep school called Northfield Mount Herman.  I went there my freshman and sophomore years, and now I am here.

Paneech: Florida and Youngstown are very different.  Besides the obvious things like climate, you had Disney and came to an economically pressed valley struggling to breathe at times, what is the biggest difference to you?

Cangelosi: The people here are really friendly, the people are very positive.  At school and around the town, everybody has been great and there is a positive energy. It’s hard to keep on top of the schoolwork moving around so much, but I am doing the best that I can to stay on top of it.  I’m struggling with Algebra II, I have terrible math skills and I’m struggling with history.  I’m doing ok in Spanish and I really like my English class at Ursuline.  I like reading and analyzing stories.

Paneech: If you do not make it in hockey, what will you do?

Cangelosi: I haven’t got a clue.  Maybe if I don’t make it in hockey as a professional, I can run camps or something.  I do not want to be behind a desk in the future, I want to be moving.

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Paneech: What kind of upbringing did you have?

Cangelosi: My dad was in business and was in sales.  My mother never really worked a job at all.  I have one brother, he is 21, and is playing Division III hockey in Connecticut.  My parents have been to a game, and I keep in touch.  I call my brother too.  I went home over Christmas break and won’t get back until the end of the season.

Paneech: Your name, for some reason unknown to me, did not appear on the NHL’s Top Prospects sheet.  Does that omission bum you out or force you to work harder?

Cangelosi: That sheet is just people’s opinions.  I can’t look at that as something I should take personally.  People pick who they think are the best, and if my name did not appear on their list, so be it.  I will continue to play hard and have fun out there, regardless of what other people think of my play.

Paneech: During a game, what situation do you excel in?

Cangelosi: I think I do good shorthanded because of my speed.  I get a lot of my chances by pressuring the puck when the opponent is on the powerplay.  They want us to be aggressive on the penalty kill.  We don’t want to sit back and let them control the tempo of the game.

Paneech:  Coach Noreen takes great pride in saying that he wants to outhit everybody.  How much pressure is there on you and someone like Sam Anas, two smaller guys, to live up to that expectation?

Cangelosi: We want to contribute to the hits to keep the identity of this team as a blue collar team.  We try to get at least three good hits a game.

Paneech: Favorite NHL team and player, and why?

Cangelosi: My favorite team is the New Jersey Devils and my favorite players are Zach Parise and Nathan Gerbe.  Gerbe plays for the Sabres and is 5’5″ and is one of the smallest guys in the league.  He plays with a chip on his shoulder and goes into the corner, bangs bodies, and scores goals.  I don’t like the Rangers because they always beat the Devils.  I’ve always been a Devils fan.

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Paneech: How has it been playing for Coach Noreen?

Cangelosi: We go out there and execute what he tells us to do.  We have a lot of respect for him and for all of our coaches.  Our whole staff is pretty down to earth and they are easy to relate to because they are younger, but also because they have good heads on their shoulders and are always looking out for our best interests.

Paneech: There are a lot of Italians on the team.  Did you guys form a brotherhood or anything?

Cangelosi: (laughs) Uh, no.  We eat pasta every day on the road.  Not because of the Italians on the team, but because it has the most carbs and they feel it is the best thing to eat.

Paneech: If God got a hold of you and said, “Austin, I have bad news, there will be no more hockey.  You can participate in boxing, MMA, or golf.”  Which would you choose?

Cangelosi: I would pick golf.  My mother helps out at a golf shop, so we get all of the free golf we want.  Usually, my brother and I go play golf.  I shoot about a 90 for eighteen holes.

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One Word Answers With Austin Cangelosi

Favorite Breakfast: Frosted Flakes And Bananas.

Favorite Drink: Ginger Ale.

Favorite Movie: Mystery Alaska.

Video Games: Call of Duty on the XBox, but mostly NHL Live 2012.

Music Preference: Big Taylor Swift fan.

Favorite Color:  Red.

Favorite Fast Food Order: Wendy’s.  I get Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers, a Chicken Sandwich, Fries, and a Frosty.  I dip the fries and the burger into the Frosty.

Favorite Olympic Sport Other Than Hockey: Soccer.

Favorite Teams: Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees, and Rafael Nadal.

Cartoon: Tom And Jerry.

Pets: We have four cats.  Panda and Bear are twins, and Chloe and White Socks.  I am allergic to cats, so when I am home, I get all clogged up and my eyes get all red and itchy.


Phantoms Use Every Axe In The House Chopping Lumberjacks, 7-3

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The Youngstown Phantoms, powered by a four-goal outburst in the first period, looked as good as they have all year in defeating the Muskegon Lumberjacks, 7-3.  Matt O’Connor is too good of a goaltender to give that kind of lead to, and he and the Phantoms defense and special teams held up their end of the bargain in the win. O’Connor turned away 21 of 22 shots in notching his 15th win of the season.

The first period of the game featured four goals from the hometown Phantoms. Richard Zehnal got the party started with his fifth goal of the season just 1:43 after the start of the game.  Sam Anas earned an assist on Zehnal’s momentum-starting goal.  The Phantoms then broke an 0-23 powerplay drought when Dylan Margonari found the back of the net with a man advantage with 11:45 to go in the first period. Margonari’s ninth goal of the season was assisted by Stephen Collins.

The Phantoms showed no slowing up and Anas nabbed a goal of his own scarfing up a loose puck that was batted around the Muskegon crease for what seemed like hours, stuffing the puck past Lumberjack netminder John Keeney. Anas’ goal was also a powerplay chance in which Chris Bradley and Margonari were credited with assists. To put an exclamation point on a grand first period, another powerplay goal was recorded by the Phantoms. J.T. Stenglein notched goal number 15 with a man advantage. Austin Cangelosi and Mike Ambrosia earned assists. All that on just ten first period shots.

“There was a big scrum on that powerplay in front of the net”, said Anas.  ”Eventually the puck trickled out toward me and I shot it high and it went in.”

Anas picked up a two-minute minor for roughing in the third period.  The scrappy Phantom possesses great skills and is about half the size as many of the other skaters the ice.  This penalty was hard to figure out though as Anas was in a headlock on the side of the net while the refs chased down other problems developing elsewhere.

“I have had penalties before, even picked up a roughing in Green Bay.”

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The second period featured a frustrated Lumberjack team unable to convert on their powerplay opportunities.  Lots of pushing and shoving (26 penalty minutes combined on 12 penalties), lots of smack talk, but no goals for either team.  Muskegon pulled starting goaltender Keeney and inserted Paul Berrafato between the pipes.  The Phantoms held a 21-12 advantage in shots after two and handled their four-goal lead with care.

“We don’t like to judge on results”, said Anthony Noreen when asked about breaking the 0-23 powerplay drought.  ”I thought we did a really good job protecting the puck. We watched films and told the guys to just keep it simple tonight.  Our powerplay has been good, we just weren’t scoring.  Tonight, after we got one, it was contagious and we popped a couple more in.”

In the third,  the Lumberjacks snuck one past O’Connor to make it 4-1 in favor of the Phantoms.  With 16:15 to go in the game, the Phantoms got that goal right back.  Mike Ambrosia connected for the ninth time this season.  Ambrosia’s goal was unassisted and swung the pendulum back toward the Phantoms.

With 9:56 left to go in the game, the Phantoms threw more wood on the fire as Stephen Collins made it 6-1.  Collins’ second goal of the season was of the even-strength variety and Michael Gunn nabbed an assist.

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In picking up his 15th win of the season, O’Connor turned away 21 shots.  He was replaced by Sean Romeo with about five minutes left in the game.  Romeo gave up two goals, but to his defense, he was pretty well shielded from seeing what was coming on the Lumberjack’s first score.  Ryan Bullock got the unassisted score to make it 6-2.  Less than a minute later John Padulo beat Romeo on a rebounded shot that clanked the post.

The Phantoms (18-8-2) put the final nail in the coffin with Collins getting a second goal on the evening to make it a 7-3 game.  The goal came with 2:51 remaining and closed the door on the scoring.  Fights and tempers were plentiful and frequent in this one.  Carve it out any way you want to:  with an axe, like a Lumberjack, or a chainsaw, like a Phantom.

“We tell these guys to stay urgent and not pay attention to the scoreboard”, said Noreen.  ”They did a pretty good job staying focused and executing.”

Phantoms Offense Clicks Big In 7-4 Victory Over Des Moines

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The Youngstown Phantoms followed up a marquee win over first-place Green Bay Friday night with a convincing 7-4 victory over the Des Moines Buccaneers Saturday night to secure the second place slot in the United States Hockey League’s Eastern Conference heading into the holiday break.

The Phantoms (16-4-1, T-second East) got a pair of short-handed goals from Mike Ambrosia and Austin Cangelosi, and five other players – Soren JonzzonDylan MargonariAlex GacekJordan Young and Eric Sweetman – found the back of the net to give them a win in one of the United States Hockey League’s toughest road arenas. Goaltender Matt O’Connor made 33 saves to enter the break with a league-leading 13 wins.

“Before the game, we said, ‘If we are going to get to where we want to get, we’re going to need to win on the road in a hostile environment,’” Head Coach Anthony Noreen said. “[With the break coming up] we wanted to treat this game like a playoff game.”

Jonzzon put Youngtown on the board just 34 seconds into the first period, netting his first goal in a Phantoms uniform.  Des Moines (10-11-1, fifth West) answered just 73 seconds later when Mac Olsen deflected a centering feed from Garret Allen just past O’Connor to knot things up at one apiece.

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Margonari retook the lead just 2:19 into the second when Cangelosi fed him in the slot on an odd-man rush. Less than two minutes later – and short-handed to boot – Cangelosi blew past the Des Moines defense and beat Kasdorf with a low wrister on the blocker side to put the Phantoms up 3-1.  But the Buccaneers came roaring back, scoring two unanswered goals to tie it again. Kevin Irwin redirected a puck past O’Connor while short-handed at the 12:35 mark and less than four minutes later, Trent Samuels-Thomas poked one past him in the midst of a scrum to tie the game at 3-3.

The Phantoms found themselves on a short-handed 2-on-1, but Cangelosi sent his shot wide. The puck, however, took a fortuitous bounce off the end boards and floated right onto Ambrosia’s stick, and he threw it on net and past Kasdorf, who was caught out of position, to give the Phantoms the 4-3 advantage heading into the third period.

At the 2:40 mark in the third, Gacek intercepted a failed Buccaneers’ clearing attempt on the right-wing half wall and beat Kasdorf with a wrist shot for his second goal in as many nights. The Buccaneers pulled Kasdorf in favor of backup Christian Frey, but he did not fare much better, and Young beat him with a point shot less than two minutes later to stretch the Phantoms’ lead to 6-3.

Anthony Greco made it a 6-4 game when he beat O’Connor on a 5-on-3 power play at the 6:41 mark, but Sweetman regained the three-goal lead when he beat Frey with a wrist shot from the left point. O’Connor weathered the remaining Buccaneers chances, and the Phantoms skated off with their third straight road win.

The Phantoms resume USHL play on Dec. 28 when they take on the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in Iowa. The puck drops at 8:05 p.m. EST.