The NHL playoffs may be the dominant hockey news for good reason, but they aren't providing the only highlights. A United States Hockey League forward proved that emphatically on Monday night.
The player you can see finishing off the ridiculous goal you see in the clip above is Austin Cangelosi of the Youngstown Phantoms, a team in the USHL, which is the non-NHL or high school-affiliated junior circuit in the U.S. Cangelosi, a 17-year-old budding star, found himself with the puck near the middle of the rink in overtime of his team's 4-3 victory against the Cedar Rapids Roughriders, and then just let his instincts take over to net the all-important playoff game-winner.
Here's how Buzzing the Net, Prep Rally's Canadian brotherly junior hockey blog, artfully summed up Cangelosi's magic moment:
Cangelosi, who's been described as classic crafty centre, got his Bubba Watson on and chipped the puck high and out of reach of Cedar Rapids' John Gilmour before darting in to flip it over goalie Jacob Hildebrand and create a magical playoff moment. Phantoms play-by-play man Bart Logan's state of nirvana really competed the tableau.
Classic and crafty are both fitting descriptions of that goal. "Magical" and "Ovechkin-like" might work as well.
"I meant to do it, but it didn't register," Cangelosi told the Youngstown Vindicator. "I processed it, but it didn't process through my head. Somehow something came out of it.
"It was trickling down behind his back and I was just ecstatic. I popped down on one knee, I couldn't believe it."
For Cangelosi, the clutch game-winner can serve as the capper on an eventful first season in the USHL. The Florida native spent his sophomore year at Northfield (Mass.) Mount Hermon prep school and has already committed to play college hockey next year at national champion Boston College, meaning that his time in Youngstown will be limited to this season and the 2012-13 campaign.
That limited calendar may not hold back Cangelosi's legacy in the Buckeye state now that he has netted what was unequivocally the team's goal of the season in the most opportune of times.
"I don't know how many people in the world would have been creative enough [to try Cangelosi's flip-up shot attempt]," Youngstown Phantoms coach Anthony Noreen told the Vindicator.
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