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Phantoms bring talented Dylan Rozzi into fold

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Dylan Rozzi glides down the ice during the team's main camp last week in Canonsburg, Pa. Rozzi is an talented young forward who could make a splash with the Phantoms this season.

Over the last three seasons, the Youngstown Phantoms have added a litany of high-end talent.

Add Canadian-born forward Dylan Rozzi to that list.

If that name rings a bell, it’s because Dylan’s brother Jake won the Clark Cup with the Phantoms two seasons ago.

Now Dylan Rozzi looks to achieve the same thing and is expected to be a major contributor over the next few seasons.

Despite being selected in the first round of the QMJHL Draft — eighth overall by the Saint John Sea Dogs — Rozzi was at Phantoms camp this past week with an intent to play in Youngstown.

Having a brother familiar with the organization helped make that decision a little easier.

“Everything he told me was great,” Rozzi said. “The staff, he couldn’t say better things about them, the players over here were amazing. And when I got here, it was everything he said. All the people here were amazing. The coaches, they’re really nice. The staff, all the people I met, they’re really nice people and it’s just a great spot to be.”

There’s already a built-in connection between the Rozzi family and Phantoms coach Ryan Ward that dates back before either arrived in Youngstown. Ward coached Jake Rozzi originally at Selects Academy 15U AAA during the 2019-20 season.

“He’s an awesome guy,” Rozzi said. “Every time I see him, we’re always laughing. Everything he says. It’s just amazing. He coached my brother in Youngstown, and he also coached him when he was in prep school, so we know him really well. he’s he’s an awesome guy and can’t ask for a better coach coming into an organization.”

Youngstown is getting an elite-level talent in Rozzi, as the forward scored an eye-popping 96 points (48 goals, 48 assists) in 31 games as a 14-year old during the 2022-23 season. This past season, Rozzi once again averaged over a point-per-game, scoring 46 points (17 goals, 29 assists) in 42 games with the Lac St-Louis Lions (U18).

Adding another high-end player like Rozzi to the fold has the Phantoms eagerly awaiting the start of the year.

“Dylan is an extremely similar player to Jake who played here,” Ward said. “He has unbelievable vision, a great stick, playmaker, and just an unbelievable passer. We’re super excited to have the Rozzi family back in Youngstown. Obviously, winning a championship with Jake was special, and I actually was able to see Jake last night. He came into town. It was a great opportunity for us to draft (Rozzi) and he’s lived up to expectations. His playmaking ability and everything he brings to the table, we’re super super excited about.”

Watching his brother win a Clark Cup two seasons ago is only motivating Rozzi to help the program reach that apex again.

“I mean, this organization knows what it takes to win,” Rozzi said. “They won two years ago and I think we’ve just got to work as hard as we can. I think the people on this team, we have what it takes to win, and I think we’ve just got to work as hard as we can to get to (the championship) one day.”

While there’s no formal rankings yet, Rozzi is one of the top-ranked prospects eligible for the 2026 NHL Draft, along with fellow Phantoms forward Beckham Edwards.

Rozzi is expected to start the year with the Phantoms. When asked if there was anyone he was looking forward to playing with, Rozzi noted the fellow Quebecois on the roster.

“A lot of them are great, but one player that impressed me a lot during this camp is Zach Morin,” Rozzi said. “He’s just a really good player, and he’s also young, so you just know he’s going to get better throughout the years.”

Making the leap to the USHL isn’t an easy one, but Rozzi is confident that once he adjusts to the physicality and speed, he’ll be able to compete during his 16-year old season.

“Making the jump from where I played into (the USHL) is huge,” Rozzi said. “I think it’s just the first couple of games. I’ve got to get used to the physicality and just the speed of the game. I think I’ve just gotta get faster a bit. I think once you’re there, you’ve just got to work as hard as you can on playing the game.”

Jake Rozzi won’t be far from his brother, as the forward is set to be attending and suiting up for Ohio State in the fall.

Have an interesting story? Contact Brian Yauger by email at byauger@tribtoday.com. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, @_brianyauger.

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