- Written by Justin Irwin
- Category: Game Recap
- Hits: 689
If there was anymore welcome of a sight to Phantoms fans than Sean Romeo in warmups, I don't know what it was. Last years workhorse goalie was back in action last night after missing the beginning of the season, as well as pre-season. Lukas Klok also made his North American debut. However, the Indiana Ice came in in the spoiler role and spoil they did.
It wasn't the most offensive minded tilt this year with less than 40 shots on net combined between the two clubs, despite a combined 14 powerplays. There was plenty of hitting. The bottom line for the Phantoms was 8 powerplays, 2 of which were 2 man advantages for more than a minute, and no goals on any of them. I'll quote coach Anthony Noreen from the official reacp since he said something that I've said for decades:
"...if you get two minute-plus 5-on-3’s – at this level or higher – and you don’t score, you don’t deserve to win the game.”
I'll one better that, if you have 8 chances with the man advantage and fail on all of them you probably deserve to lose. One of those 5-on-3 opportunities was a full 2:00 chance but with 0:31 left the Phantoms too a penalty for too many men on the ice. Mistakes like that are inexcusable.
The Ice manages a goal a period. Luke Stork scored the only Phantoms goal in the 3rd period. Trailing 2-0, Kyle Mackey sprung Keifer Sherwood on a quick up ice pass. Sherwood fed a beautiful cross ice pass to Stork who buried it on the one-timer. However the next shift defensman Truman Reed was called on a trip and the Ice capitalized on the subsequent powerplay. A few minutes later the Phantoms found themselves on their second failed 5-on-3, which really put the emphasis on the fact that this game was boiling down to who could capitalize on their opportunities.
The Phantoms came into the game with one of the most potent offense in the USHL. One of the biggest problems last night was getting that juggernaut rolling. There was an obvious lack of net front presence and none of the Youngstown players seemed to want to just take a shot and look for a rebound. There was a lot of passing behind the Ice net on the powerplays but very few attempts to turn it to the front. Maxim Letunov looked to be the guy to do just that in the early minutes, crashing the Indiana net and taking it to their goalie, Jason Pawloski. However, he ended up getting called on a slash for it. Pawloski was relatively untouched until later in the 3rd.
Another point I'd like to make is the play of captain Alfred Larsson. The second year Swedish forward hasn't produced offensively and is a -12 already this season. Lat night he coughed the puck up at his own blueline which lead to the first Ice goal. The Phantoms really need him to step up the play. I know the captain position was awarded by player vote but this isn't a league where honors like that are for show. We need to see that leadership on the ice.
The Phantoms take on the Lincoln Stars tonight. Amnesia is an art form in hockey. The guys need to forget last night and focus on tonight. Romeo needs to shake off the rust and the rest of the crew needs to work on getting to the dirty areas and capitalizing on powerplays.
- Written by Justin Irwin
- Category: Opinion and Editorial
- Hits: 1147
It's been another interesting week for the Phantoms with two stories taking front and center. The first story is Colin DeAugustine. Last week he posted a shutout in his first USHL game, against the Chicago Steel, as an affiliate call up from NAHL Johnstown Tomahawks. He followed it up the next night posting a 4-3 shootout win, blanking 7 of 8 shooters in the shootout. In two games he's posted a .952 save percentage and a 1.44 goals against per game average. That's a start contrast to Jake Moore's .833 and 5.28. Moore has had a much heavier workload and has probably faced the tougher opponents but DeAugustine's performance has to leave some wondering if there isn't a backup goalie controversy. To add to that, DeAugustine is still available this weekend should Sean Romeo not be cleared to play.
The other story came out of nowhere with the acquisition of Czech defenseman Lukas Klok. The import blueliner was picked up on the recommendation of Nathan Walker who played with Klok in the HC Vitkovice minor system. Klok has a good offensive record there and has also played a few international tournaments. The Phantoms are obviously looking to bolster the back end and get a little gain on offense too. We could see Klok tonight or tomorrow night.
This weekend we rematch last Saturday's game against Indiana, this time at home. The Ice probably would have liked the extra point coming out of last weeks shootout and will be looking for revenge. Including tonights we have 8 more meetings against the Ice. This is a team we need to dominate this year. We don't want them coming out of Youngstown with anything but bad memories. Tomorrow night we play the Lincoln Stars. The Stars are another team struggling to start the season and still without a win, despite more than a few USHL veterans on their squad, including the highly touted goalie, Michael Bitzer. They've managed a few overtime frames to get a few standing points but are looking for their first in the W column. The Nebraska will head to Youngstown after taking on Team USA U18 tonight in Ann Arbor. They'll also be missing D Connor Frantti, suspended for elbowing earlier this week.
- Written by Justin Irwin
- Category: News
- Hits: 804
Nathan Walker may have moved on to the the AHL and is working on breaking into the NHL but his impact is still being felt by the Phantoms. We all know he's a talanted forward but now we'll get to see how good of a scout he is. This is because the Phantoms have announced they have acquired his former teammate, Lukas Klok, with the Czech HC Vitkovice U20 team. I don't like repeating details, especially when there are official announcments but I think Jason Kohler's statement bears quoting:
“Nathan’s a guy coming out of our program whose opinion we really respect, and he couldn’t have spoken any higher of Lukas,” Noreen said. “That was very important to us – to hear it come from Nathan. He thought Lukas would be a guy we’d love here that plays our style and would help us. We’re excited to have him.”
Klok split last season between the U18 and U20 squads and averaged over a point per game in 24 games with 23 assists, 4 goals and 40 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of +22. After being called up to the U20 team, he recorded 1 goal, 4 assists and 57 PIMs and another +22 rating. The 6'1", 175 pound defensman is described as having excellent two-way skills and poise under pressure. It's possible he will be available to play in Friday's game versus Indiana.
To make room for him on our roster, already maxed out on import players, the Phantoms traded Swedish forward Sebastian Vidmar to the Chicago Steel for a 4th round Phase 1 pick in the 2014 draft. Vidmar only cracked the lineup in one game against Waterloo and did not score and recorded a -1 rating and 1 shot on goal. This should be a good deal for both Vidmar and Chicago since he was struggling to get on the ice due to the Phantoms having a plethora of talented forwards. Likewise, Chicago is struggling for offense and identity and Vidmar certainly can help there.
This is just another example of the aggressiveness of the Phantoms front office. Last year we saw the Stenglein/Brown trade early in the season and then bringing Walker into the fold. The trade for Alex Smith just prior to the start of the season certainly helped defensively and, a little surprisingly, gave us an offensive boost as well. They certainly have a knack of identifying the players they feel play Phantoms hockey and will fill the key roles both on and off the ice. I think it takes a certain amount of maturity as an organization to take the advice of a young import player with unique experience and put in the effort to get Klok over here. I can only imagine the paperwork and immigrations issues.
I'm looking forward to seeing what Klok can bring to the table. We've had great success with our European import players who have adapted well to the North American game and the Phantoms style of Hockey. Let's all give him a warm welcome when he hits the Covelli ice!
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