YOUNGSTOWN PHANTOMS: The 2023-23 U.S. National Under-18 Team kicks off its season with a pair of USHL preseason matchups against the Youngstown Phantoms.
The Phantoms head into the preseason with 31 players on their roster as they attempt to cut down in advance of the regular season.
Forward Charlie Cerrato, who skated the past two seasons with the National Team Development Program, was the first overall pick of the 2023 USHL Phase II Draft by Youngstown. He looks to make his Phantoms debut after not entering into the lineup in either of last weekend's matchups.
Youngstown dropped their first preseason matchups in Muskegon last weekend, falling by 6-5 (OT) and 5-2 final scores.
Defenseman Andrew Strathmann, who finished among the top-10 scoring blueliners in the league last season, led the team with a pair of scores.
All three rostered goalies saw time in net, led by Owen Bartoszkiewicz' 25 saves on Saturday night.
The two-game set will be the first of five matchups between the Phantoms and U18s this season and they will meet again next on December 15-16, a home-and-home set.
EL PASO RHINOS: The U.S. National Under-17 Team makes their debut at the NAHL Showcase this weekend in Blaine, Minnesota.
They start the weekend set with the El Paso Rhinos, who finished the 2022-23 season in 7th place in the NAHL's South Division. The start to the current campaign has gone well for El Paso, who jumped out to wins in each of their first three games, all over the Colorado Grit in Greeley, Colorado. The Rhinos will play in two more contests later this week before facing off with the U17s on Friday night.
Forward Frank Tafelski, a Troy, Michigan, native, leads the team with five points (4g-1a) through three games played, while seven other skaters have pitched in a pair of points.
Joey LoVullo picked up two wins in the crease, turning aside 37 of 40 shots on net, while appearing in all three games. Michael Manzi made 23 saves, getting action in all three games as well, to earn the other win for El Paso.
NEW MEXICO ICE WOLVES: The Under-17 Team wraps up their time at the NAHL Showcase with the final game of the weekend, taking on the New Mexico Ice Wolves on Saturday night.
The Ice Wolves split their season-opening series with the Lone Star Brahmas last weekend, taking a 5-1 win in the opener before falling 4-0 in the rematch the next day.
Forward Ryan Johnson potted a trio of goals to lead the squad in the opening two games, while Graham Harris and Yusaku Ando finished the week with three points apiece.
Goaltender Jackson Fuller has taken the majority of time in net through two games, collecting the team's lone win while posting a 0.50 goals-against average and .975 save percentage.
The matchup will be the first ever contest with the Ice Wolves in NTDP history.