Phantoms Ready to Drop the Puck on 2012-13September 27, 2012 - United States Hockey League (USHL) Youngstown Phantoms
Ten players return from the 2011-12 Youngstown squad that rewrote the franchise record books - setting high marks in wins, individual and team scoring, and reaching the postseason for the first time. But as sweet as it was to reach the Clark Cup Playoffs last season, head coach Anthony Noreen said the second-round loss to the eventual champion Green Bay Gamblers was anything but.
"There's still a bad taste from the way we went out in the mouths of the guys returning from last year," he said. "We all want something better."
The potential for that is certainly there.
Two of Phantoms' top three scorers from last season are back in the fold in center Austin Cangelosi (29 goals, 30 assists and 59 points in 53 games played) and left wing JT Stenglein, who's 31 goals in 2011-12 lead all returning USHLers. Right wing Sam Anas, who put up an impressive 34 points in an injury-shortened rookie season, is poised for a breakout campaign. Alexander Dahl will be looked upon for leadership and continued strong two-way play at center while Todd Koritzinsky and Zach Evancho will the opportunity to put up big offensive numbers with increased roles.
Three of the Phantoms' top four defensemen, Ryan Lowney, Dan Renouf and Eric Sweetman, are back patrolling the blue line. With more than 150 games and more than 30 points between them, Youngstown looks to have one of the most experienced and dynamic defensive corps in the league.
And there's plenty of new blood, too, on both end of the spectrum.
Young guns like JJ Piccinich and Mac MacSorley, a pair of 16-year-olds, and Kyle Connor, just 15 years old, have loads of offensive upside, while veteran forwards John Padulo and Markus McCrea, bring a wealth of experience, grit and leadership to the Phantoms lineup.
In net, goaltender Sean Romeo, fresh off being named to Central Scouting's "Players to Watch" list for the 2013 NHL draft, will have the chance to take over after backing up Matthew O'Connor last season. But Montreal native Patrick Spano, a Yale commit, and Jake Moore, one of the top netminders in AAA hockey last season, will make the battle for the No. 1 spot between the pipes a must-watch.
"We're extremely lucky to have three able goaltenders that give us a chance to win every night," Noreen said. "We're in a great situation in the net."
The Phantoms finished the preseason strong with wins over Dubuque and Green Bay, but Noreen conceded there is no substitute for the regular season games. Friday and Saturday, he'll get the first real look at where his team stacks up.
"This weekend is going to be a great measuring stick for what the best teams in the league are going to be like this year," Noreen said.
The puck drops at the Covelli Centre both nights at 7:15 p.m. EST.
Celebrate downtown Youngstown's revival at Phantom Phest after the games this weekend! Fans in attendance either night will receive a coupon booklet filled more than $40 worth of exclusive food and beverage specials from downtown's top restaurants. And to top things off, the Phantoms will light up the Youngstown skyline after Saturday's game with a vibrant fireworks show, courtesy of Phantom Fireworks.
Season tickets for the 2012-13 season are on sale now starting at the low price of just $7 a game. Benefits include invitations to exclusive season ticket holder events, discounts at the Phantoms Team Shop, playoff priority and much more. Call 330.747.PUCK (7825) for more information or to reserve seats today. For all the latest news, visit www.YoungstownPhantoms.com, follow the Phantoms on Twitter ( @YtownPhantoms ) and "like' them on Facebook ( www.Facebook.com/YoungstownPhantoms ).
United States Hockey League Stories from September 27, 2012
- Phantoms Ready to Drop the Puck on 2012-13 - Youngstown Phantoms
- Downtown Hockey Returns to "Circle City" Saturday - Indiana Ice
- Kravchenko Commits to UMass - Sioux Falls Stampede
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