Sunday, February 12, 2006

Phantoms pound North Stars, 8-1

The well-oiled triumvirate of Anthony Ciraulo, Drew Satterly and Marc Menzione was in fifth gear on Saturday night at Centre ICE arena, as the trio accounted for five goals and 10 points overall to lead Mahoning Valley to a resounding 8-1 victory over the Traverse City North Stars.

Satterly led the Phantoms with three goals and an assist, including powerplay efforts in the first and third period, and a deflating unassisted tally just :14 into the final stanza. His first period goal was the lone marker of the first 25 minutes of the contest before Menzione and Chris Fairbanks made it 3-0 with second period goals that came a mere 1:17 apart. Both came on the Phantoms powerplay after Traverse City forward Eric Elmblad was assessed a kneeing major and ejection at 3:33 after a seemingly innocuous collision.

“We actually outplayed them before that,” Stars head coach/GM Scott Gardiner said. We were skating right with ’em. But their first three came on the powerplay, and the (Elmblad) penalty really changed the complexion of the game right there.”

Satterly’s two third period goals made it 6-0 before Patrick Nagorsen got the host Stars on the board at 7:48. Jake Erway and Steve Hackman assisted the Nagorsen power-play tally – his 14th of the season. Bret Larson (14:30) and Matt Quigley (18:02) closed out the scoring, sending TC to a sixth consecutive defeat.

Ryan Donovan stopped 30 shots, while his Mahoning Valley counterpart, Bryce Merriam, made 27 saves.

The Phantoms’ four-point weekend put them in a second place tie with Cleveland in the North Division standings at 27-14-4, just four points behind the first place U.S. National Team Development Program.

With Alpena’s 4-0 victory over visiting Springfield (Ill.), the Stars (13-28-5) and IceDiggers (8-31-5) are separated by just 10 points in the race for the fourth and final playoff berth in the North Division. The teams face off next weekend in a Friday-Saturday home-and-home series that kicks off a month of frequent clashes between the intrastate rivals.

“This loss and their win just makes the Alpena series just that much more important,” Gardiner said. “The next weekend is huge, but we’re up 10 points with six more meetings with them, so we really do control our own destiny to get in.”

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