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Youngstown and Dubuque headed for Game 5 in Clark Cup playoffs

05/02/2013, 2:00pm MDT
By Tom Robinson

The Youngstown Phantoms used strong third periods to complete home-ice comebacks Monday and Tuesday, forcing a fifth and deciding game in the United States Hockey League’s Clark Cup Eastern Conference Finals.
The Phantoms defeated the Dubuque Fighting Saints 4-3 on Monday and 4-2 on Tuesday. Game 5 is scheduled for Saturday in Dubuque.
Dubuque won the first two games on home ice, 3-2 and 3-1, Friday and Saturday. Arthur Brey made 23 saves for the Fighting Saints in each win.
The Fighting Saints had leads of 2-0 in the first period and 3-1 after two periods Monday with a chance to close out the series. But Cam Brown scored on the power play at 3:34 of the third period to start Youngstown’s comeback. Markus McCrea tied the game 27 seconds after Brown’s goal, and then John Padulo scored the game-winner on the power play.
Youngstown tied Game 4 at 2-2 on Padulo’s power-play goal in the second period. Austin Cangelosi scored the game-winner in the third period and Padulo added an empty-net goal while Sean Romeo made eight of his 18 saves.
Padulo leads all players with six goals during the Clark Cup.
ALL TIED: The Sioux Falls Stampede and the Fargo Force are tied at 1-1 in the Clark Cup Western Conference Finals. The series resumes Thursday with the first of a possible three straight games in Sioux Falls.
The Stampede split with the Force in Fargo. Fargo took Game 1 by a score of 3-2. Gabe Guertler, who scored the overtime game-winning goal to put Fargo in the conference finals, struck for another winner. Cameron Johnson made 30 saves.
Sioux Falls answered Saturday with a 2-1 victory. C.J. Franklin scored the game-winner in the third period and Charlie Lindgren made 33 saves.
ROBERTSON CUP: The Amarillo Bulls have reached the North American Hockey League’s Robertson Cup Finals, and three other division final series continue.
Amarillo swept the Texas Tornado, 4-1, 5-1, and 5-3 in the South Division. Brady Ferguson scored the game-winner for Amarillo in Tuesday’s clincher, giving him the Robertson Cup lead with six goals.
The Jamestown Ironmen have a 2-0 lead over the Soo Eagles with a chance to clinch at home in the North Division Thursday night. Jamestown posted 6-3 and 1-0 road wins to start the series.
Meanwhile, the Austin Bruins and Bismarck Bobcats are tied 1-1 in the Central while the Wenatchee Wild and Fairbanks Ice Dogs are even at 1-1 in the West. Both series resume Friday.
Amarillo knocked out the defending champions to advance to the Robertson Cup National Championship Tournament, which also decides the USA Hockey Tier II Junior Championship, beginning May 10 at the Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco, Texas.
The four division champions will participate in a round robin to determine the championship game participants.
COLLEGE COMMITMENTS: Topeka RoadRunners defenseman Kevin Patterson has committed to play at Niagara University next season. The 20-year-old from Colorado Springs played 101 regular-season games for Topeka the past two seasons and participated in the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. He had five goals and 13 assists in 55 games this season.
Tyler Spezia, a forward for the NAHL’s Port Huron Fighting Saints, is headed to Bowling Green for the 2014-15 season. The 19-year-old from Clinton Township, Mich. ended the regular season on an 11-game scoring streak, giving him nine goals and 11 assists in 14 games with the team. Spezia played 23 games for Dubuque in the USHL earlier in the season.
COACHING CHANGES: Jim Montgomery is leaving Dubuque, following the Clark Cup playoffs, to take over as head coach at the University of Denver. The Fighting Saints won the Anderson Cup as the USHL’s top regular-season team at 45-11-8, setting a team record for wins. Montgomery is 118-45-21 in three seasons with Dubuque.
The NAHL’s Coulee Region Chill have promoted A.J. Degenhardt to head coach and general manager.
Erik Largen, who led the Twin Cities Northern Lights to an 87-9-2 record in the Minnesota Junior Hockey League the last two seasons, has been named as Degenhardt’s assistant.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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A follow-up to Ian Walsh's NHL career-path article (see Stripes - February 2015)

For the last 15 years, Ian Walsh has crisscrossed the United States as an NHL official. In this Part 2 of our conversation with Walsh, the 42-year-old Philadelphia native fielded a series of questions discussing life on the road, his conditioning schedule, mentors, on-ice struggles, the evolution of the game and advice for aspiring officials. 

USA Hockey: How do you think you've been able to maintain all of the officiating success you've had over the last 15 years?

Ian Walsh: I believe one of my strengths as an official is my work ethic. I come to the rink every night ready to work hard and give 100 percent. I also believe I am very coachable, and when I'm offered a suggestion for improvement, I try very hard to implement that advice into my game.  

USAH: What is your conditioning schedule like during the NHL season? How about during the off-season? 

Walsh: During the season, conditioning work is more about maintaining what you built up over the summer. The workouts aren't as intense but you must continue to take good care of your body. Game-day workouts usually include a 30-minute bike ride or a couple miles run at the hotel gym. I also like to do some core work and light strength training on top of that. 

The weather in Portland is amazing in the summer, and I prefer to be outside and on my road bike. I usually get in about four days a week of riding outdoors to help build my endurance and strength. I try to play hockey a few days a week as well to help work on my skating.

USAH: When did you realize you finally had cemented your career as an official? What was that feeling like?

Walsh: I don't know if you ever get that feeling. Every night is a different challenge in our league. It is a hard, hard league to officiate. The scrutiny of every call, every goal, ever non-call is such a challenge for all of us. The best players and coaches in the world expect us to perform at such a high level every night, and we have to be ready for anything that comes our way. It’s a privilege to be on the ice in the NHL, and I think that is something no official takes for granted.

USAH: What has been your biggest accomplishment to date as an official? 

Walsh: Being chosen to participate in four Stanley Cup playoffs is what I'm most proud of. It’s an incredible honor to be selected and that’s the goal for every official each year. Also, being part of the team that was chosen to represent the NHL at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics was a phenomenal experience and a great opportunity.

USAH: What has been the biggest hurdle/obstacle you've had to overcome in your officiating career? 

Walsh: I’ve been lucky so far, knock on wood, that I haven’t had any serious injuries. Other than some bumps and bruises, I’ve been relatively injury-free in my career. The biggest challenge is to be able to bounce back from calls you made that aren't correct. In this day and age, we usually know within minutes after the game if we made a wrong decision. When you make a call that impacts the game, it’s hard on the mind. Unfortunately, we make mistakes and what most people don't understand is that nobody takes it harder than the official making that mistake. Being able to bounce back from a mistake is something all officials must learn to do.

USAH: Who has had the most impact on your officiating career over the past 15 years? What has that person or those people taught you?  

Walsh: Nobody has helped me more over my NHL career than fellow referee Paul Devorski. I've worked a lot of games with Paul and we’ve had the opportunity to travel together on the road. As an elite, veteran referee, he has been able to pass down some of his knowledge to me to help me become a better official. Paul is retiring this year, and our staff will sorely miss him.

USAH: How has the game changed, besides speed, since you started in the early 2000s?

Walsh: I would say the biggest change besides the speed of the game would be the use of technology. It is amazing what you see at rink – teams have iPads on the bench, super slo-motion video replays, hi-def video scoreboards, etc. With all that technology, it makes the officials job appear easy. People forget that the official on the ice sees a play one time, in real time, and must make a split-second decision on that play. It often appears quite different when you see a replay in super slo-mo on hi-def after a game.

USAH: What advice can you give aspiring NHL/professional league officials as they progress in their career? 

Walsh: I would say make sure you have a backup plan. Making it to the NHL is everyone’s goal, but there are very few jobs available. There are so many factors that go into hiring an official and a lot of those are out of your control. Go and work the highest level available to you. Don't worry about other officials, if you are good enough, the NHL will find you. Also, control what you can control – always work on your skating, know your rules and come to the rink every night with a strong work ethic and a great attitude.

Tag(s): Junior Notebooks