Youngstown Phantoms forward JT Stenglein’s big week became a little more special when he committed to play collegiate hockey at Michigan State University starting next fall.
“I want to thank Coach [Anthony] Noreen, the Phantoms staff and my family for all their support,” Stenglein said. “It’s been a long process, but I couldn’t be happier to be able to continue my development at such a prestigious program.”
Michigan State is part of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, but will join the Big Ten Conference for its inaugural season in 2013-14. The three-time national champion Spartans (4-5-1, 3-3-0) finished fifth in the CCHA last season en route to their 24th NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament appearance.
Stenglein, 19, is in his third season with Youngstown, and he is the 10th current Phantom to commit to play NCAA Division I hockey.
“I’m extremely proud and happy for JT,” Noreen said. “He’s really earned this commitment through his hard work and production over the past couple years.
“Michigan State is one of the premier college programs and it’s a great spot for him to further his career and hopefully lead him to the pro ranks.”
Stenglein scored 31 goals and added 20 assists for 51 points in 2011-12, setting a Phantoms’ franchise record for single-season goals. Through 11 games this season, the Phantoms assistant captain has registered six goals, five assists and 11 points.
He was named the USHL’s CCM Offensive Player of the Week for his four-goal, five-point outburst on Oct. 5 at Waterloo.
Stenglein was part of the U.S. Junior Select Team that captured gold last weekend at the World Junior A Challenge in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. He scored two goals on Sunday when Team USA defeated Canada West, 6-3, in the gold medal game.
The Greece, N.Y., native scored the game-winning goal in Team USA’s 6-3 win over Canada West in the gold-medal game and finished the tournament with two goals, two assists and four points in four games.
Saturday, the Phantoms (5-11-0, 10 points) will return to the ice in Michigan when they take on the Muskegon Lumberjacks (9-4-1, 19 points). The Phantoms are hoping to snap a four-game losing streak with their first victory of November. Their last win came on Oct. 31, a 6-5 victory over the Indiana Ice.
Last season, the Phantoms went 4-3-1 against the Lumberjacks, including a pair of wins at L.C. Walker Arena,
There’s no love lost between the teams as they combined for more than 460 penalty minutes in those eight contests.
After finishing one point out of last place last season, the Lumberjacks are off to a red-hot start and in second placed in the Eastern Conference.
Phantoms forward John Padulo will see some familiar faces. Last season, he tied for third in scoring with the Lumberjacks but was left unprotected for the 2012 USHL Entry Draft, in which he was selected by the Phantoms in the ninth round.