By JOE CATULLO
Friday at three in the morning, Sioux City hockey player Cam Brown got a phone call and later entered his coach’s office with a surprising message.
Brown was traded to the Youngstown Phantoms.
Brown quickly packed his bags and caught a 6:15 a.m. layover out of Chicago into Pittsburgh. He arrived in Youngstown around 12:30 p.m., missing morning practice. His first time with the team was during pregame warmups at 6:30 p.m., 45 minutes before the opening faceoff against Team USA.
Brown did not start, and didn’t even have a name on his jersey, but eventually played and helped contribute to Youngstown’s 6-0 victory.
“I tried to take a nap, but I was a little excited [and] nervous to be here, so I really didn’t sleep that well to be honest,” Brown said.
In the trade, Sioux City received JT Stenglein, the rights to affiliate forward Max Becker and a fourth-round pick in the 2013 USHL Futures Draft.
For the Phantoms, Stenglein scored six goals and collected five assists in 11 games this season. His 31 goals scored in the 2011-12 campaign set a single-season Youngstown record.
In addition to Brown, the Phantoms received a second-round pick in the 2013 United States Hockey League (USHL) Entry Draft, a third-round pick in the 2013 USHL Futures Draft and future considerations from the Musketeers.
“We thought it was the best thing for all parties involved,” Phantoms head coach Anthony Noreen said. “Obviously at this level, you got to do what’s right for the team and what’s best for the team.
“I think it brings a little different dimension,” Noreen said. “JT’s obviously a goal scorer, more of a power forward, and Cam’s a little more dynamic-field playing who we really think is going to bring us secondary scoring.”
The Phantoms (8-11-0, 16 points) used a strong defensive effort and precision second-period scoring against Team USA (5-9-1).
Kyle Connor connected on his fourth goal this season with 12:56 remaining in the first period, giving the Phantoms an early 1-0 advantage. John Padulo collected his 10th assist.
The Connor-Padulo combination connected again with 16:33 remaining in the second period, lifting the Youngstown lead to 2-0.
“It was big just to get the team rolling, get the confidence up,” Connor said.
The Phantoms increased the lead to three at the 5:29 mark after Markus McCrea picked up goal number seven this season, and Alexander Dahl tallied his fourth assist.
But the Phantoms were not done in the second period. Near Team USA’s blue line, Ryan Lowney scored his third goal of the season with 1:51 left. Youngstown held a commanding 4-0 lead heading into the second intermission.
Hammering nails in the coffin, Kyle Mackey assisted Dahl’s fourth season goal, increasing the lead to five at the 14:05 mark in the third period. Two minutes and 13 seconds later, Lowney scored his second goal, putting the Phantoms up by six. Brown was credited with a secondary assist.
The Phantoms face Team USA tonight at the Covelli Centre, hoping to extend their three-game winning streak.
“We together dug ourselves a hole, and we together have an opportunity to get ourselves out of it,” Noreen said, regarding the young season. “We’ve got to try to go out tomorrow and keep the ball rolling.”