NAHL PLAYOFFS Phantoms lose in OT, eliminated
Youngstown surrendered a 3-0 lead Wednesday before getting swept in the series.
BOARDMAN -- Jim Pentecost's goal at the 11:11 mark of overtime lifted the Soo Kewadin Indians to a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Youngstown Phantoms in the North American Hockey League playoffs Wednesday night at The Ice Zone.
The win gave the Soo, whose franchise will be dismantled at season's end, a first-round sweep of the Phantoms.
"I am so proud of our guys, I just cannot put into words how proud I am of this team," Soo coach Joe Shawn said. "After starting the season 1-9, I could never have imagined back then that we would be advancing to the second round of the playoffs.
"The Youngstown Phantoms are a class organization from owner Bruce Zoldan to head coach Bob Mainhardt and staff. "I just love the play of Rob Rassey, Jeremy Smith and Brad O'Shell. They are real gamers, and we beat a well-coached team tonight."
The Phantoms jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on goals by Aaron Rhyner (9:55) and Dale Michoski (4:09) of the opening period.
When Rassey added an unassisted goal at 14:58 of the second period, the Phantoms built a 3-0 lead, only to see it dissipate for the second time in three playoff games.
First playoff goal
Steven Kaunisto's first playoff goal cut the Phantom lead to 3-1 at the 12:01 mark of the second period, and when R.G. Flatt added his first playoff goal with 59 seconds to play in the period, the Indians had cut the lead to 3-2 heading into the final 20 minutes.
"We've had some real battles with the Soo Indians this season and, quite frankly, have dominated them only to fall short in the end," Mainhardt said. "The season didn't end like I had hoped it would after our excellent start.
"Anytime you leave the game up to overtime anything can happen and that was the case tonight. Tonight's outcome is disappointing to everyone in the organization."
In the third period Matt Jones' first playoff goal at 14:55 knotted the score, forcing the overtime.
The Phantoms held a 10-6 shots-on-goal advantage after the first period of play, but the Soo forged a 37-31 advantage at game's end by outshooting the Phantoms 31-21 from the outset of the second period.
Jerry Kuhn registered 30 saves in goal for the Phantoms while Jason Kearney had 22 saves for the Indians.
"Jason Kearney was a tremendous addition for us this season," Shawn said. "Our success is due to the fact that each team member plays off of each other. They have all worked hard over the course of the season to get to this point."