YOUGSTOWN - Going into Friday night's game against the United States National Under-17 team, Kyle Connor had a chip on his shoulder.
The 15-year-old left winger tried out for the U-17 team but was let go, eventually settling down in Youngstown. On Friday night, though, he got his revenge, as Connor scored the first two goals in the Phantoms' 6-0 demolition of the U.S. U-17 team.
"It gave me some motivation, knowing that they let me go," Connor said. "I just came out and proved to them that I should be on the team."
Connor opened the scoring for the Phantoms (8-11-0) in the first period, recording his fourth goal of the season at the 12:56 mark. Connor received a pass from John Padulo by the side boards and skated in alone in front of the net, before beating U.S. goalie Edwin Minney.
Conner's second goal came with 16:33 remaining in the second period. After taking a couple of shots from his left wing position, the Shelby Township, Mich., native drifted toward the center of the offensive zone, where he received a pass and drilled the puck into the net.
"I think it's giving me some confidence, scoring a couple of goals here," Connor said. "Now, it's just a matter of the future in what I can do."
Connor's second goal marked the point at which the Phantoms started to pull away from U-17 team (5-9-1).
Later in the period, Youngstown scored two more goals, including Ryan Lowney's with 1:51 remaining in the period. Only 19 seconds into the power play, the defenseman's shot rocketed from near the blue line that found the back of the net.
The goals didn't stop in the third period, with the Phantoms adding two more in the final period. Youngstown kept pressing after the team's final goal with 11:52 remaining in the game, almost scoring a few more goals.
"The best thing about tonight was I don't think our game veered," coach Anthony Noreen said. "When it was 0-0 or 6-0, I think that we kind of stuck to our plan and to what we want to do."
Along with hosting the U.S. U-17 team, the Phantoms also unveiled their newest player.
Early Friday morning, Youngstown traded forward J.T. Steinglein to Sioux City for Cam Brown. The Natick, Mass., native found out at 3 a.m. and flew out to Chicago and then Pittsburgh, before arriving in Youngstown at 12:30 p.m.
Noreen said the 19-year-old forward played well, all things considered.
"It was weird," Brown said. "I didn't expect it to be honest 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."
Another aspect of the game that Noreen was excited about came from his defense.
Coming into the game allowing the second-most goals in the league (71), the Phantoms recorded their first shutout of the season. Goalie Sean Romeo stopped 23 shots, and the defenders kept most dangerous plays away from net.
"We pride ourselves on being a team that takes care of our own end first," Noreen said. "Bottom line, we just haven't been good enough defensively all year. Obviously, tonight was a good result."