Tonight’s Friday night date night took a different turn from the usual dinner out, listening to Bob Harris or Jeff Mans, and watching the Indians, Cavs or a show we recorded on DVR. We are in downtown Youngstown at the Covelli Center watching the Youngstown Phantoms take on the Chicago Steel in the Clark Cup Playoffs!
The Covelli Center takes on the persona of a much larger arena for the Phantoms games. The announcer is LOUD, the music is rocking and the Phantoms are playing like their season depends on it – because it does. They are trailing 2-0 in this series and a loss tonight will mean the end of this season.
The Phantoms #27 Michael Karow scored the first goal of the game. The mostly hometown crowd screamed and went crazy for their hero, a Green Bay, Wisconsin native. This is Karow’s first year on the team, and this upcoming hockey star is not only an outstanding athlete but is also an honor student. He evidently knows the importance of keeping up his grades while honing his skills. Karow is a name to remember; he has what it takes to make it big.
The Youngstown Phantoms are part of the United States Hockey League. The USHL is the only Tier I junior hockey league and has an unbelievable number of players go further in their career. Over 95% of the players go on to play NCAA Division I college hockey, and last year a record number were chosen in the NHL draft. These kids know how to play hockey!
One thing that really surprised us was the sparse number of fans in the stands. For being a Friday night playoff game, the lack of a crowd must be disappointing to the Phantoms owners and players alike. One deterrent we noticed was the ticket prices. At $19 a ticket, it is a fairly pricey evening for a family of four. Throw in some hotdogs, beers or popcorn and the evening would easily cost over $100. However, we are having a blast and I definitely think it’s worth it!
Not only did we have a fun Friday night date night/family night, but the Phantoms beat the Steel 4-1 and will play again tomorrow night! Go Phantoms!