YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The Youngstown Phantoms earned a share of the 2014-2015 Anderson Cup, after a 5-4 shootout loss to the Chicago Steel on Wednesday, April 8th. In one of the most exciting games of the season, the Phantoms overcame a pair of three-goal deficits, and forward Kiefer Sherwood scored the game-tying goal with just 5.3 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. It marks the first time the Phantoms have earned the Anderson Cup, which is presented to the USHL’s regular season champion. Youngstown needs just one point to clinch the Anderson Cup outright.
Earning at least a share of the Anderson Cup is just one of the many accomplishments the Phantoms have had during their sixth USHL season. Youngstown rattled off 17 straight wins during the months of February and March, setting a new USHL Tier-1 era record (2002-Present) for consecutive wins. In the process, the Phantoms vaulted to the top of the League Standings, and have not relinquished that position since.
The on-ice success does not stop there, as the Phantoms have been one of the most potent offenses in the USHL this season. With two regular season games remaining, Youngstown has already scored a team-record 233 goals, while only allowing 164, which is the fourth fewest in the USHL this season. The Phantoms are also in the top two in many offensive categories, leading the League in both power play goals (60) and shorthanded goals (16), and ranking second in overall scoring, averaging 4.01 goals per game.
Individually, the Phantoms have been finding success all season long as well. Youngstown currently boasts three of the top ten USHL scoring leaders, including League leader Kyle Connor(32g, 45a), Max Letunov who ranks fifth, (24g, 38a), and Josh Melnick who is tied for eighth (14g, 45a). This season, Connor became the Phantoms’ all-time leading scorer, while Letunov and forward Tyler Sheehy each recorded their 100th career USHL point. Additionally, Head Coach Anthony Noreen secured his 100th career USHL win.
One of the biggest accomplishments from this season was the improvement in the standings from last year. The Phantoms have already seen a 42 point turnaround from last year, marking one of the largest turnarounds in League history. Their 17-straight wins also equaled the Phantoms’ entire win total from last season.
As the Phantoms prepare for their third playoff appearance in team history, they hit the ice for the final time in the regular season at home this Saturday night when they take on Team USA’s Under-17 program. Saturday is also Fan Appreciation night, presented by State Farm. The first 3,000 fans through the door will receive a free t-shirt, and the Phantoms will be giving away prizes all night long. The Anderson Cup will also be on the concourse for fans to see and have their picture taken with it.
The Anderson Cup is named after Harold Anderson who was an influential figure in the formation of the Midwest Junior Hockey League, the predecessor to the USHL. The Cup, standing nearly five-feet tall, has been awarded every year since 1973 and became the regular season trophy for the USHL when it began play in 1979.
The Phantoms are marching towards their first Clark Cup Championship in team history, and you are invited along for the ride. Tickets are on sale now for home games one, two, and three of the first round of the 2015 Clark Cup Playoffs. Home games one and two will be Friday and Saturday, April 17th and 18th, while home game number three (if necessary) will be Wednesday, April 22nd.