Hockey returns to Youngstown Tuesday with the opening of Phantoms training camp. Twenty-four players will attend the four-day evaluation at the Ice Zone, the Phantoms’ practice facility on McClurg Road in Boardman, to help prepare for the start of the team’s fourth season in the United States Hockey League.
This will be Anthony Noreen’s second camp at the helm of the Phantoms and his third with the organization. The 29-year-old coach said there are two priorities he and his staff hope to address on and away from the ice in Boardman — establishing a competitive environment and developing a team identity.
“[The identity] is something we put in place last year and the guys did a good job of shaping it from the beginning,” Noreen said. “That’s something that our staff and leadership core need to create from Day 1 this year.”
Playing hard-nosed and up-tempo was a trademark for Noreen’s squad in 2011-12 and it paid off in the form of a 32-21-7 record and the franchise’s first Clark Cup playoff berth. With 11 players from that team among the 24 invited to camp, Noreen said not to expect much in the way of change.
“With any team I’m standing behind the bench, that’s the type of game we’re going to play — no matter what type of personnel we have,” he said.
Among the 11 veterans attending camp are center Austin Cangelosi, who had 29 goals and 30 assists in 53 games last season as a 17-year-old, and left wing J.T. Stenglein, whose 31 goals last season are the most of any returning player in the USHL.
Noreen said they, as well as the rest of the core from last year’s team, will be counted upon to lead by example with an infusion of young talent expected to make up a hefty chunk of the 2012-13 roster.
“It’s exciting to see what happens when guys — and you can go up and down the board — get put in a leadership position and how they respond,” he said.
The on-ice portion of training camp will take place this week from 3:15 to 5:15 p.m. at the Ice Zone and sessions are open to the public.