Well, our two games of pre-season action came and went last week and regular season kicks into effect this week with the Phantoms playing the U18 USA NTDP squad in Ann Arbor on Saturday. In pre-season action the Phantoms went 1-1, winning a shootout with Dubuque 4-3 and losing to the U18 NTDP squad in a lesser balanced affair, 6-3. Overall it was mostly good news tempered with some of my usual complaints. Also it was our first look at some of the new faces on the roster.

So let's start with the roster. We've had the 30-man list for a while now and can probably cross some names off. Easiest of which is Joe Drabin and Ryan Bednard. Both are playing in Johnstown for the NAHL's Tomahawks. Also on the list but not making the trip were Ryan Shea, John Barry, and Alex Carle. Ryan Shae, a '97 forward, looks like he's chosen to play another year of high school hockey in the Boston area. John Barry, a big (6'2" 200lbs) '95, looks like he'll be playing in the USPHL for the South Shore Kings. Earlier in the tryouts, Alex Carle seemed like a sure bet, as long as he was healthy. The '94 defensman had made the roster last season but quickly fell to injury. I can only speculate that he's not 100% ready to go but we'll still count him in the running for a roster spot. In addition, several of the billet parents, have let me know that Lukas Craggs should have been listed on the 30-man list and is in the running for a spot. However, I didn't see him on any of the game sheets from preseason. So counting Carle and Craggs as being on the current roster list, my math gives me 27 players. We'll need to cut that down to 23 very soon. We're also carrying 5 import (non-USA born) players and the max we're able to carry is 4, unless I missed someone's dual-citizenship. Max Letunov, despite being Russian born, isn't counted as an import since he's played enough years in USA hockey.

Well, we're just a few hours from the start of the Phantoms preseason action. Today we play Dubuque and tomorrow Team USA U18. These are the only games we have on schedule for the 2014 preseason. Dubuque is 5-0 so far in exhibition this season. I don't have any real preview, the best I can do for now is wish the team good luck. If fate wills it, I may be able to catch the game archive on Fasthockey and have a decent write up later in the week.

One thing to look out for are some rule changes. Preseason will see a lot of 3-on-3 action and don't be shocked to see icing called on teams killing penalties. This is only for preseason. Regular season will see some changes too and I'll have something on that soon, as one may have a big impact on the game. I'll have a couple more sections coming to the site, one is a WIP and may come and go.

We're less than 2 weeks until the start of the regular season and less than a month until the home opener. I'm really excited about this season, we have a lot to really look forward to and I hope I can get a good breakdown of how I see the season playing out before the season starts. OK, that's all I really have for today - stay tuned.

Coming just days after the USA Hockey partial protected lists, the USHL finally released the full protected and affiliate list. There aren't a lot of surprises here. Here is the copy & past: