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Sports exploits of the amazing Steadman children.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Squirt Panthers Shut Out Chiefs -- Stout Defense Gets Cats Off The Schneid

Dateline: April 18, 2010, Bensenville.  The 0-2 Panthers’ practice together has finally started to tell, and the team to gel, as the defense came together for a stunning shut-out win over the Chiefs of Bensenville this morning. It was a good day for it, too, as the game turned physical.  Playing out of their accustomed forward positions, Carmichael and Aleks Gronkowski (11) slotted into tough defense handing out as good as they got.  Steadman kept the zone clear, hamming the puck across the blue line.  Overall, it was a stellar effort.

Playing his best skaters on defense, Coach Artie Schultz looked to solve the team’s defensive woes from its prior two games -- and it worked.  Starting a defensive line of Sarah Steadman (17) and B.J. Carmichael (12) with a frontline of center R.J. Jones (7) and forwards Mike Sliwinski (15) and Anders Lempia (2), the Panthers started strong.  Battling along the boards and earning several good shots, the Panthers controlled the ice and kept the puck in the offensive zone for the entire first period.  The bigger, stronger but slower Chiefs had no good scoring opportunities while the Panthers had several.  But the Panthers failed to convert and the game went into the second period knotted 0-0.

That would change early  in the second period.  About 90 seconds into the frame, Jones would score on a beautiful setup from Lempia, both of them celebrating the new lead.  Center Sammy Holy (10), playing up from defense, was everywhere, and earned several important chances keeping the pressure on the Chiefs’ goalie.  Then, with 50 seconds to play in the second, Adam Traska (16) also playing up from his normal spot on defense, made a beautiful unassisted shot over the Chiefs’ goalie’s left shoulder to break the game open.  The second period ended with the Panthers leading, 2-0.

In the third period, Coach Schultz changes his lines around and featured Sliwinski for much of the frame.  Jones had another quality chance, while goalie Joseph Schmid (14) made a spectacular but questionable on-his-back save to hold the Chiefs scoreless.  On that play, Schmid took three consecutive shots, but could not seem to find the puck after the third rebound.  The referee blew the whistle, believing Schmid was lying on the puck, and about a second later the Chiefs shoveled it in.  But the call was a no-goal, and the shut-out continued.  Finally, with only three minutes left to play, Holy’s persistence paid off as he slammed in a 10-footer from the right side, sealing the 3-0 win.

“I love a shut out,” defenseman Steadman was heard telling the press after the game.  “Offense is flashy, but defense wins championships.”

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