- Written by Justin Irwin
- Category: Opinion and Editorial
- Hits: 1351
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: 984
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!
- Written by Justin Irwin
- Category: Game Recap
- Hits: 993
Since family matters kept me from catching the webcast of the Indiana game, I'm combining this weekends recaps. I'll probably do this for a lot of road trip or home & away weeks. With the Phantoms struggling to keep puck out of their net and keep their cool, Friday's game was a welcome glimmer of relief on the horizon. The Chicago Steel are a team that looked to be struggling even worse and we started the weekend on home ice. The conundrum was weather to give Jake Moore some relief this weekend and play affiliate call-up, Colin DeAugustine, in abcentia Sean Romeo. Moore had played all 11 games starting in pre-season and it was quite evident he needed some rest. However, the Steel are a team hungry to establish an identity and, more importantly, win their first game. The question was weather they would chance that to a goalie who hasn't played a single USHL game and if so, could he handle it. The answers was "yes" to both and the later emphatically.
DeAugustine, who plays for the NAHL Johnstown Tomahawks, faced a few Steel shots early on including a Steel power play. He showed no sign of being nervous and looked sharp from the beginning to the end. Chicago may not have generated a lot of good chances but they put 27 shots on net and DeAugustine turned aside all 27. The Steel had over a minute of a two-man advantage on the power play and still failed to get one by the Phantoms goalie. The Covelli crowd may not have been large, but the rookie from Burgettstown, PA certainly got the faithful into a frenzy. He also had a few friends and family there too.
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