As an American Hockey League (AHL) team, the Youngstown Phantoms have a relatively short but eventful history. They were founded in 2003 as part of the United States Hockey League (USHL) and have since established themselves as a dominant force in minor hockey, producing numerous notable players and capturing the hearts of fans all across the country.
But what truly sets the Phantoms apart from other teams in the league are their unforgettable moments – historic upsets and wins that have cemented their place in minor hockey history. In this article, we take a look at some of the most memorable moments in Youngstown Phantoms history, from shocking upsets to thrilling victories.
The Birth of a Legacy
While the Youngstown Phantoms were officially founded in 2003, it wasn’t until the 2009-2010 season that they truly made a name for themselves. Led by head coach Curtis Carr, the Phantoms put together a remarkable team that would go on to capture the hearts of fans and make history in the process.
With standout players like Austin Cangelosi, J.T. Stenglein, and Scott Mayfield, the Phantoms emerged as a force to be reckoned with. They finished the regular season with a record of 35-16-9, securing the first division title in the team’s history and earning them a spot in the playoffs.
The Phantoms continued their dominant run in the playoffs, sweeping the Indiana Ice in the first round before defeating the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in a thrilling five-game series in the conference finals. And in their first ever appearance in the Clark Cup Finals, the Phantoms went head to head with the powerhouse Green Bay Gamblers in a series that would go down in history as one of the most memorable in junior hockey.
After a hard-fought six-game series, the Phantoms emerged as champions, securing their first ever Clark Cup and etching their names in the history books. This monumental victory marked the beginning of a legacy for the Youngstown Phantoms.
A Cinderella Story
The 2014-2015 season was a difficult one for the Phantoms, as they struggled to find their footing and secure a playoff spot. But with determination and hard work, they managed to clinch the final spot in the playoffs with a record of 34-22-4.
Despite being the underdogs, the Phantoms were determined to prove themselves in the playoffs. And in a stunning turn of events, they eliminated the top-seeded Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in a thrilling three-game sweep in the first round.
But the Phantoms weren’t done yet. In the conference finals, they went up against the heavily-favored Muskegon Lumberjacks. In a hard-fought series, the Phantoms emerged victorious, earning themselves a spot in the Clark Cup Finals against the Sioux Falls Stampede.
In an intense five-game series, the Phantoms pulled off a remarkable upset, winning their second Clark Cup in franchise history and further solidifying their place in minor hockey history. This Cinderella story will forever be remembered as one of the most unexpected and inspiring moments in Youngstown Phantoms history.
A Night to Remember
While the Phantoms have had many memorable moments, one that stands out as particularly special was the Miracle in Youngstown – a game that took place on March 28, 2012.
The Phantoms were set to face off against the powerhouse Waterloo Black Hawks, who were on a record-breaking 24-game winning streak. The odds were stacked against the Phantoms, but they were determined to give it their all.
In front of a sold-out crowd at the Covelli Centre, the Phantoms put on a show, showcasing their skill and resilience. Trailing by two goals in the third period, the Phantoms rallied to tie the game, sending it into overtime.
In a nail-biting finish, the Phantoms secured the win in overtime, ending the Black Hawks’ winning streak and giving their fans a night to remember. This moment not only marked a significant upset in Phantoms history, but it also brought the team and their fans closer together, solidifying the strong and passionate fan base that the Phantoms have today.
As the 2021-2022 season approaches, the Youngstown Phantoms are gearing up for another exciting year of minor hockey. With a roster of talented players and a committed coaching staff, they are determined to add more memorable moments to their already impressive history.
From their first Clark Cup victory to their Cinderella story in 2015, the Youngstown Phantoms have etched their names in minor hockey history with their historic upsets and wins. And with the passion and dedication of their players and fans, there’s no doubt that they will continue to make waves in the AHL for years to come.