We're back with the previews. This one is going to be short since I'm pressed for time, and we're playing a weak team we've seen a couple times already. This week the Phantoms (11-8-4-0) are heading back to Wisconsin to face the Madison Capitols (3-19-1-0).

So the Caps are bad. Really bad. Carson Bantle is about the only bright spot on the roster right now with 10g and 14a. They traded their second leading scorer, Kristof Papp (10g, 9a), to Des Moines for netminder Christian Stoever and Patrick Schmiedlin. This is one of those questionable trades, at least as far as Madison is concerned. Des Moines gets another decent scorer but lose a goaltender that many thought was having a very good season and challenging for the top spot for the Bucs.

Stoever, as Phantoms fans know from last season, is a more than capable netminder when he gets a little help from the five guys in front of him. There are netminders who stand on their head when hung out to dry by the defense, but Stoever is not Dominic Hasek. In his first game for the Caps he gave up 5 goals on 42 shots to Green Bay in a Gamblers shutout. Patrick Schmiedlin, a C-ranked skater on the CSS, played 2 games for the Caps and has 1 assist and 2 games worth of suspensions to serve.

I don't see either player for Madison able to make a significant impact on this year's run. Schmiedlin might be a piece of the puzzle for next season, if he sticks around, and Stover might be able to help a young netminder in rookie Simon Latkoczy (4.50GAA, .875 SV%). This season is probably a wash for the Caps. We'll see what happens when the USHL trade deadline nears. Anything is on the table then and some expect players to be looking for a trade out. Carson Bantle would fetch a good price if they were willing to trade him.

It's Thanksgiving week, and the Phantoms (9-6-3-0) have a full plate and I'm not talking turkey. Over the course of 4 days we'll play 3 games in 3 different cities, none of which are Youngstown.

First up, we'll work up an appetite with a trip up to Plymouth to face the NTDP U18s(11-7-0-0). Then back home for some dinner and a nap before heading up to Green Bay (9-6-1-2) on Friday then over to Madison (2-15-1-0) on Saturday for the leftovers. Yeah, we'll play almost as many road games in 1 week as we did home games over 2 weeks. Welcome to the USHL. Since I'm pressed for time to get this done before I head up to Plymouth for that game, I'm thankful we've played 2 of these teams this season and I can fall back on those preview articles.

I've already covered the U18s. Nothing much has changed here. Ty Smilanic has been out with injury, if he does make it back that'll be a big lift for the U18s. Forward Matthew Beniers and defenseman Tyler Kleven won't be in the lineup, they were both suspended for that game.

Green Bay will be the focus of this weeks article. We haven't played them yet and they have a pretty good team. Jesse Tucker was the Gamblers leading scorer last season and continues that this season with 11g, 9a. The underrated '00 is a fairly composed forward, ready to make a play or take the shot and can back check an help out on defense. Despite being injured for most of last season, McKade Webster (5g, 10a) was a late 2019 NHL Draft pick (7th round, Tampa Bay). He's a very competitive player who will use his speed to drive the defense back. Ryan O'Reilly (6g, 6a) was a 4th round Detroit pick last NHL Draft. He's bounced from Madison to Fargo and then Green Bay. He's big (6'2", 202lbs). He's got a laser shot, decent skating, and plays aggressive hockey. There is a lot to like with O'Reilly, you just hope he doesn't show it against the Phantoms.

Well, we're back for another weekend at the Covelli for one more weekend before another road stand. The good news for the Phantoms (8-6-2-0) is that they get to play host to one of the leagues weakest opponents, the Sioux Falls Stampede (2-10-2-0). We've been down this road before, and lost, so it's not something we can overlook and count as an easy week.

I'm really hard pressed to find any real stars on this team. The scoring leaders are Brian Carrebes (6g, 7a) and Tyler Coffee (6g, 5a). Both are solid prospects but not guys I would expect to lead the team. The only NHL scouting report is Garrett Pinoniemi, who raised his draft stock in the last update from 116 to 106 overall, good for a projected 4th round pick. However, Pinoniemi only has 1 assist in 12 games played. I'm not sure what these CSS scouts are seeing here.

On defense, Evan Nause is a very promising '03 born blueliner, 1g and 3a and one of the few players on the squad whose +/- rating is on the positive side at 1. Evan Bushy is another young defenseman, an '02, and leads the team in +/- at 2. Yeah, spectacular numbers on defense. If Nause and Bushy are around next season, I can see the Stampede's defense being one of the better in the league but it's still 2019.

In net, Grant Addams has carried most of the load, 10 games played with a 1-6-2-0 record. His 3.81 GAA and .888 SV% aren't exactly bad considering how poor the Stampede have looked this season. Backing him up was Nate Reid, who played 4 games for a 1-2-0-0 record with a 4.57 GAA and a .876 SV%. He was scratched last weekend and newcomer Arseni Sergeev got both starts, losing both and putting up a 7.27 GAA and a .811 SV%.