Phantom Squirts win Pepsi tourney


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Neighbors | Submitted.The Youngstown Phantoms Squirt Select team captured the Pepsi Hockey Tournament in Buffalo NY March 20 after a sudden death overtime in the championship game.  

The Youngstown Phantoms Squirt Select team defeated Salmon River Storm (NY) 4-3 in sudden death overtime to capture the Pepsi Hockey Tournament title in Buffalo, N.Y., March 18-20.

In the championship game, the Squirts rallied three times from a goal behind to force overtime.

In the third shift of the overtime period, Stone Elias (Canfield) won the faceoff and fed the puck to Devin Whitaker (Boardman), who raced past a Storm defender and faked one shot on the goalie’s left and put the winning shot to his right.

Scoring goals earlier in the game for the team were Whitaker (twice) and Bo Gray.

The Phantoms started their South Division tournament games March 18 by defeating the Cazenovia Park Chiefs (NY) 2-1. Scoring for the Phantoms were Whitaker and Elias. In goal for the Phantoms was Nick Beck (Boardman). Defensive standout for the team was Milan Cermak (Pittsburgh).

In the next contest on Saturday, the Phantoms took an early lead over the Syracuse Eagles (NY). Elias scored a goal in the first period and Whitaker scored a goal in the second period.

The score remained 2-0 until midway through the third period when Syracuse scored two late goals to force a 2-all tie. Maguire Franko (Poland) grabbed an assist in the game.

Youngstown entered Sunday’s last pool game leading the division by only one point. They faced the Orangeville Flyers (Ontario).

Early goals by Joey Dapolito (Canfield) and Gray gave the Squirts a 2-0 advantage. JJ Creighton (Austintown) and Kevin Kushner (Poland) added goals to make it 4-0.

The Flyers cut the deficit to 4-2 midway through the game, but Whitaker added the final goal in the third period with the assist by Tyler Berry (Canfield).

The victory advanced the Squirts to the title game against North Division winner Salmon River Storm (NY). The team was coached by Todd Franko, Milo Cermak and Joe Creighton.

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