- Written by Justin Irwin
- Category: Opinion and Editorial
- Hits: 124
Well, it was a very interesting past week.
Just in case you have been under a rock, the Phantoms (33-20-1-4) played a Wednesday morning "Kid's Day" game, followed by a Friday and Saturday road game, then finished up at home Sunday evening, all against the USA NTDP. Only the Friday game was supposed to be against the U17 squad but after a brawl at the end of Satuday's game, USA Hockey decided to send the U17s for the Sunday game. This has riled up a lot of people in Youngstown and across the league, as well as a few people outside of the USHL. Suspensions to Josh DeLuca, Tristain Amonte, Christian Stoever aside, this might be something the Phantoms can turn into momentum with an "us against the world mentality". Any psychological lift at this point is a good thing as we will be fighting to the finish for the coveted 2nd place spot in the Eastern Conference, and this week we face a tough opponent in the Sioux Falls Stampede (36-15-5-2).
On paper, the Stampede aren't a team that's going to jump out at you as being a top contender. They aren't loaded with veterans or big name prospects, but they do have a lot of pieces in place that seem to work well, and if not this year, they could pose a big threat next season.
Their scoring leader is Artem Ivanyuzhenkov (25g, 23a), a big '98 Russian in his second year of USHL action. Ivanyuzhenkov is comparable to our Brett Murray in size and ability, he has a great shot and can use his frame to get positioning to use it. He also plays a little more physical than Murray and leads the team in PIMs, something to keep an eye on. Behind him are a pair of rookies - Anthony Romano (25g, 20a), a B ranked skater on the NHL draft report, and Jami Krannila (17g, 26a), a C ranked skater with great play making ability. The latter is more defensively responsible, but occasionally crosses the line when things get physical. Kranilla was a scratch in the Stampede's game earlier this week, I don't know if he's injured, and if he doesn't play that'll be a big loss for the Stampede.
On defense, rookie Ryan Johnson (6g, 18a) is another B ranked skater on the scouting report who has earned a WJAC gold medal and played in the USHL Top Prospects Game. Matt Kessel is a veteran who played in Fargo and Chicago last season and has proven to be a solid defensive asset on the blueline for the Stampede this season.
- Written by Justin Irwin
- Category: Game Recap
- Hits: 140
Okay, this was a weird game.
I have to start the recap by mentioning what you probably already have heard. The Phantoms were involved in a scuffle with the NTDP U18s on Saturday night as the final buzzer sounded that resulted in several players on both sides, as well as the NTDP Head Coach, John Wroblewski, getting suspended. Analyzing that mess, I will save for another day.
The result was yesterday morning it was announced that due to a "scheduling conflict" the U18s were not making the trip to Youngstown but instead sending the U17s.
The behind the scenes report is that due to the fight, they were not "dressing any draft eligible players" except Danny Weight and instead calling up the U17 players. That came straight from an alert from the NHL's Central Scouting Service.
As pointed out by Ryan Hardy, the GM of the Chicago Steel, this was not a true call up situation since they sent the full U17 coaching staff. So we got the U17s, possibly a break for the Phantoms, but still an awkward situation at best for the team, league and USA Hockey. For their part, the Phantoms would be without the services of Tristian Amonte, Josh DeLuca, and Christian Stoever. To fill in we dressed and played affiliate forward Garrett Steele, and affiliate netminder Collin Purcell backed up Chad Veltri.
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