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ICE HOCKEY Overtime defeat has Phantoms on brink



Published: Mon, April 4, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Youngstown trails Soo Kewadin 2-0 in the series.

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. -- Ray Kaunisto scored 9:24 into overtime Saturday to give the Soo Kewadin Indians a 4-3 victory over the Youngstown Phantoms in the North American Hockey League playoffs.

The Indians own a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 North Division Semifinal series. Game 3 will be Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. at the Ice Zone. If necessary, Game 4 will be played Friday at 7:15 p.m. at the Boardman rink.

The winning goal came after a battle in front of the Phantoms net when defenseman Jeremy Smith and Soo center R.G. Flath tangled and fell into the crease and partly past the goal line, clogging the right half of the goal.

Flath made no effort to get out of the crease, essentially keeping Smith stuck with him, and goaltender Jerry Kuhn only able to guard the left side of the goal.

Kaunisto charged in at the loose puck in the low slot, skated to his right, around the pile in front of him, and roofed a backhand in the upper right corner of the goal.

Early lead

Aaron Rhyner scored on a rebound from Andy Fiore's slapshot from the left point to give the Phantoms a 1-0 lead with 7:10 remaining in the first period.

But less than three minutes later, the Indians countered on the power play. With traffic in front of Kuhn, Tiger Marcotte's shot from the left point tied it up.

In the second period, the Phantoms struck twice in 63 seconds.

On a power play, Mike Maltese in the left faceoff circle took a cross-ice pass from Fiore and skated backwards to the goal line. That freed up Brad O'Shell, who took Maltese's pass on the faceoff dot, skated uncontested into the low slot and ripped a wrist shot that Soo goaltender Jason Kearney had no chance at defending.

On the next shift, the Indians broke down in their own zone, and the Phantoms took advantage. After an Indians pokecheck, Rhyner slammed the loose puck in the middle slot for a 3-1 Phantoms lead at the 13:46 mark.

After Nik Sellers scored for the Soo, the Indians scored a shorthanded goal when Kellen Chamblee caught Kuhn off balance and beat him with a shot through his legs.

Tickets for Games 3 and 4 are available at The Ice Zone ticket booth or by calling (330) 965-7500. Prices are $9 for adults and $6 for children under 18 or with valid student ID.




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