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Mayfield enters the stretch run

by Scott Mayfield

Scott Mayfield is a defenseman for the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League. Committed to the University of Denver for the 2011-12 academic season, he also played a part in the 2009 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament for Team USA. Mayfield, who participated in the 2010 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp fueled by G Series in August, has offered to maintain a monthly blog for that will chronicle his season leading up to the NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.

The month of February has been exciting. We are coming down to the end of season and my team, the Youngstown Phantoms, is trying to make the playoffs. We had 11 games this month and went 6-5. We're 5-2 over our last seven games. Last weekend was probably our biggest weekend this season. We had three division games, two against the USNTDP and one against Chicago. We played some of our best hockey all year and swept the weekend, getting all six points! I feel these three wins gave the team a boost of confidence that will carry into the last month of the season.

This last month in Youngstown will be huge! All of our hard work and dedication is coming down to our last 13 games. Right now we are in a playoff spot but we'll have to play our best to keep it. A lot of things can change in a month! Two of our upcoming games are against the Waterloo Blackhawks. They are right behind us in the standings, and our last game with them was a heated battle that we won in overtime.  

The locker room has a playoff attitude that I absolutely love. Everyone is focused on our goal and knows what we need to do. I think our fans are also getting excited. Last Friday and Saturday night, we had two of our largest and most enthusiastic crowds of the season. That really helps, and my team really appreciates the support.

Earlier this month, the USHL picked its conference all-star teams. I was very happy to be selected along with my teammate, Cody Strang, for the Eastern Conference roster. The selection feels a little strange, because there isn't an actual All-Star game this year. I'm a little disappointed about that because I had some other friends that were selected and thought it would be fun to see all them and play together. On the other hand, I'm glad I don't have to miss time with my team.

It's nice to be recognized and have personal success, but all that really matters to me is what the team is doing and how we are pushing to make playoffs. I am just trying to focus all of my attention on doing everything I can to help my team be the best we possible can.

On another personal note, I want to congratulate the St. Louis AAA Blues U-18 team for winning the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League, and the Webster Groves Skatesmen for reaching the Missouri high school state semifinals. I have a lot of friends on those teams, and the coaches -- Dave Garth (head coach at Webster Groves) and Don Moorhouse (assistant coach for the Blues) -- really helped me when I played in St. Louis.   

Thank you very much for taking your time to read this. Hopefully I'll be looking forward to the playoffs in my next blog at the start of April!

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