Phantoms Ready for First Road Test of New CampaignOctober 4, 2012 - United States Hockey League (USHL) Youngstown Phantoms
No, there's no time for the Phantoms (2-0-0, T-first East) to ease into the season.
The Black Hawks (2-0-0, first West) got red-hot late in the 2011-12 campaign and rode that momentum through the playoffs and within a game of the Clark Cup. With 10 returners from that squad - including their top-two scorers, Taylor Cammarata and Vincent Hinostroza - the Hawks are not taking anyone by surprise this season.
"We knew from the beginning of the year - I think everyone in the league knows - that they're probably one of if not the team to beat," head coach Anthony Noreen said.
Waterloo lived up to those expectations last weekend, racking up a league-high 12 goals in a pair of wins over Green Bay and Sioux Falls last weekend, led by Hinostroza (three goals, two assists and five points) and newcomer Kyle Schmidt (two goals, three assists, five points).
The Black Hawks had the opportunity to get a head start on the preseason when they took part in the Junior Club World Cup in Omsk, Russia, in August, and Phantoms winger John Padulo said that has certainly benefitted the Western Conference foe.
"They've been playing together for awhile," he said. "They're probably in midseason form, where we're just starting off. That's definitely an advantage"
Linemate JT Stenglein said that despite the perceived advantage, the Phantoms aren't expecting any sympathy and have their focus elsewhere.
"Obviously they're a good... but we can't really prepare for any team any differently," he said. "We just have to go out and do what we do."
Things will get no easier on Saturday against Cedar Rapids (1-0-0, T-second East), which is coming off a 4-1 win over Green Bay in its season opener. The Phantoms developed a heated rivalry with the RoughRiders last season, culminating in a first-round match up in the Clark Cup Playoffs. Youngstown swept the best-of-three series - a memory likely lingers despite Cedar Rapids' strong start to the new season.
"It's on both sides," Noreen said. "When we played them last year, almost every game was an overtime, one-goal or shootout game. We're expecting another great matchup with them this Saturday."
Puck drop is set for 8:05 p.m. EST Friday and Saturday night and both games will be webcast on FASTHockey.com.
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 October 4, 2012
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