Phantoms’ Connor to play for U.S. Junior Select Team

Staff report


Youngstown Phantoms forward Kyle Connor, the USHL’s leading scorer, has been named to the U.S. Junior Select Team that will compete at the 2013 World Junior A Challenge in Nova Scotia.

The 16-year-old winger is one of 22 USHL players selected to represent USA at the six-team international tournament, which will be from Nov. 4-12 in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

Phantoms head coach Anthony Noreen will be an assistant coach the U.S. squad.

“This is a big honor for Kyle — especially at his age, being the youngest player on the team — and a big honor for our franchise,” Noreen said Friday. “It’s a testament to how much he’s grown over the last year in the league.

“It’s very well deserved.”

A native of Shelby Township, Mich., Connor has notched four goals and eight assists for a league-leading 12 points through his first eight games. Last season, the University of Michigan recruit racked up an impressive 17-24-41 in 62 games when he was the youngest player in the entire USHL.

Connor has previous experience representing the Red, White and Blue as well. In August, he earned a silver medal with U.S. Under-18 Team at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Breclav, Czech Republic and Piestany, Slovakia.

In 2012, Connor captured gold with Team USA at the 2012 U-17 Five Nations Tournament in Chomutov, Czech Republic, and led the tournament in scoring (four goals and two assists in four games).

“That was part of the equation,” Noreen said. “Kyle’s gone overseas the last few summers and he’s had success and been a contributor on those teams.

“I think he’s proven he’s a guy you can value going into those tournaments.”

The World Junior A Challenge is one of the premier international select tournaments, pitting teams from Canada East, Canada West, Czech Republic, Russia and Switzerland.

This is the fourth year in a row that Youngstown has had at least one player selected to represent the Team USA, which has captured at gold three of those four tournaments, including last year’s.

Team USA opens up it defense of the gold medal on Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. with an exhibition game against Canada West.

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