Published: Sunday, October 1, 2006
Scoring flurry lifts Phantoms
Mahoning Valley swept the two-game series with the U.S. National 17-under team.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. The Mahoning Valley Phantoms scored six goals within a span of 4 minutes, 47 seconds early in the second period, leading to a 8-6 victory over the U.S. National Under-17 Team Saturday night and a sweep of their weekend series.
Team USA (5-3-0) jumped out to a first period lead. Vinny Saponari won a lengthy battle for the puck behind the Phantoms net. He dished the puck in front to Kevin McCarey, who was uncovered. His one-timer beat goaltender Ryan Zapolski for his second goal of the season.
Justin Florek made it 2-0 after the Phantoms took a gamble in the neutral zone and lost. Saponari collected the puck at center ice just before a Phantoms' defenseman tried to poke check it ahead. Saponari skated down the left wing for a two-on-one.
Defenseman Adam Snead extended his body on the ice to prevent a cross-ice pass to Florek. But both U.S. players slowed up enough to create the passing lane. Saponari connected with Florek, who beat Zapolski with 5:20 left in the period.
Then the Phantoms (3-4-0) responded.
Mike Fillinger drew an interference penalty just six seconds into the second period to give the Phantoms a power play. Eight seconds later, Chris Fairbanks found Miles Winter alone in the left circle. His shot beat goaltender Michael Clemente between the legs.
Fairbanks tied the score at 2 after Nathan Longpre won a faceoff and got a shot off that bounced off Clemente's chest and over to Fairbanks for the rebound at 2:25. On the ensuing faceoff, Alden Hirschfeld hustled after a loose puck behind the U.S. net and stuffed it past Clemente's left skate. Fifteen seconds after tying the game, Hirschfeld gave the Phantoms a 3-2 lead. The U.S. called a timeout to regroup, but the Phantoms would not let up.
Exactly one minute later, Fairbanks batted a puck in the air over the goalie's left shoulder to make it 4-2. A minute and nine seconds later, on the power play, Longpre scored off a pass from Matt Quigley for a 5-2 lead. On the following faceoff, Brent Dexter skated down the left wing before centering a pass to Chad Boeckman.
Boeckman tilted his stick and lifted the puck over Clemente's left shoulder for his first goal of the season at 5:01.
The goal completed a 12-shot onslaught in less than five minutes and the Phantoms stunned the crowd, leading 6-2.