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D-Men Lead Way To Phantoms' Win

December 4, 2009 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - Youngstown Phantoms News Release

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Defensemen are often relegated to take solace in the intangibles they provide while forwards revel in the self-evident glory of goals and points.

For at least one night at the Covelli Centre, those roles were reversed.

Defenseman Scott Mayfield tied the game with 5:41 to play, followed by fellow blueliner Luke Eibler's game winner with 3:05 left as the Youngstown Phantoms snapped a four-game winless streak by topping the Chicago Steel 6-4 Friday night at the Covelli Centre. The teams will meet again Saturday at 7:15 p.m.

Phantoms leading scorer Taylor Holstrom hadn't gotten on the scoresheet since the team's last win - also against the Steel Nov. 14 - but he earned the lone assist on the game's decisive play. The seonc-year USHL forward picked up a turnover in the right wing corner and fed Eibler, who deked around goalie Nick Pisellini (8-7-1) before depositing the puck with a taut backhand that gave Youngstown a 5-4 lead. Eibler now has four goals in his last four games, and six overall on the season.

A few moments prior, defenseman David Donnellan, who had given the Phantoms (9-8-2, 20 points) their first lead in the second period with his second goal of the season, picked up an assist on Mayfield's tying strike with Youngstown shorthanded. Mayfield wired a heavy wrist shot past Pisellini from the top of the right circle, his fourth and the Phantoms' fourth shorthanded goal of the campaign.

Sahir Gill drilled in a pair of power-play goals, one late in the second and the other early in the third, to give Chicago (10-8-3, 23 points) a 4-3 lead. Sandwiched between that pair was Ryan Jasinsky's unconventional man-advantage tally with under a second to play in the middle frame that tied the score 3-3. Eibler's point shot nailed the crossbar over Pisellini, then popped off Jasinsky's chest and trundled over the goal line, just barely beating the buzzer.

Chicago jumped out to an early edge when Mark Anthoine threw a 40-footer over netminder Jordan Tibbett's left shoulder 1:10 into the contest. Tibbett (5-3-0), recovered from a right hand injury, was making his first appearance since Nov. 6. For Anthoine, it was his league-leading 15th red light.

The Phantoms issued a hasty retort in the opening minutes of the second, getting goals from Adam Berkle (:58) and Donnellan (2:55) to hop on top 2-1. Donnellan now has two career USHL tallies, both this season and both against Chicago.

Chicago's Jake Chelios scored the most bizarre goal in a Phantoms game this season when he improbably bounced a knuckling puck into the top-left corner of the net at 3:27 to stun Tibbett and the Covelli Centre congregation. The 100-foot shot hopped twice off the ice surface, the second bounce an unpredictably high one that allowed the Steel to tie it up 2-2.

All in all, five Phantoms defensemen earned points on the night, with Andrej Sustr and Dan Senkbeil each cashing in an assist to join Donnellan (goal, assist), Eibler (goal, assist) and Mayfield on the scoresheet.

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