Youngstown Phantoms are USHL's sleeping giant
With a new coach and key players brought in with trades, the Phantoms are locked and loaded for the 2022-23 season.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — After a disappointing finish to the 2021-22 season, there's a lot to be excited about in Youngstown, Ohio, for the upcoming USHL season. With a new head coach behind the bench, notable players brought in from the finalization of trades, and numerous future draft picks acquired, the future in Youngstown is bright.
"I think Youngstown is a sleeping giant in the USHL," said Ryan Ward, head coach of the Youngstown Phantoms. "I think the guys are extremely excited to be here with the resources and everything they have here. Our staff is phenomenal. Quite honestly our team is a great microcosm of the city of Youngstown. I think Youngstown has grit, it's a city that's on the rebound, it's coming back. We're super excited to play in front of our fans and represent this city well."
Former head coach Brad Patterson led the Phantoms to a 29-23-0-10 record in the 2021-22 season. Adam Ingram led the team in goals with 26 and in points with 55 through 54 games. Trey Taylor led the team in assists with 33. Despite making it to the Clark Cup playoffs, the Phantoms were swept in the first round by the Madison Capitols.
- Phantoms completed trade with Omaha. On May 10 they added Jack Wilson and Sam Scheetz from the Lancers. They also acquired Garrett Wright and 2022 second-round Phase II draft pick and a 2023 fourth-round Phase II draft pick.
- Ryan Ward was announced the next head coach in the Phantoms organization after announcing Brad Patterson's contract would not be renewed. However, assistants Andy Contois and Brandon Gotkin were to remain in the organization.
- Youngstown received Andrew Strathmann and multiple draft picks through 2024 in a trade with Tri-City.
- Filip Nordberg, Michael Fisher , Adam Ingram , David Gucciardi , James Fisher, and Reese Laubach are all current, future and former Phantoms players drafted in the 2022 NHL Draft.
- Mike Macchioni was named firector of sports performance.
- Andrew Strathmann and Will Whitelaw represented the Phantoms for Team USA at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
Andrew Strathmann was acquired by Youngstown in a trade with Tri-City early this offseason. Last year with the Storm he totaled five goals and 18 assists for 23 points.
Will Whitelaw only skated in nine games for the Phantoms last season, but had a huge season for Shattuck St. Mary's 18U Prep where he totaled 46 goals and 64 assists for 110 points in 55 games. At the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, he was a top player who had six goals and five assists for 11 points in four games.
Shane Lachance has been named the captain of the Phantoms for the 2022-23 season, and coach Ward says he is a huge key. The veteran had 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points last season.
The Phantoms play at Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio. The arena opened in 2005 and has a capacity of 5,900 and can seat 5,200 fans.
The Youngstown Phantoms will play their first game of the season at the Dick's Sporting Goods Fall Classic when they take on the Waterloo Blackhawks on Sept. 24.