April 17, 2013 by conteconfidential
Austin Cangelosi made a name for himself in the first round of the Clark Cup playoffs last year.
When asked if he can see himself replicating his famous chip shot goal, he just laughed.
“No, I can’t,” he said. “I’ll probably never do anything like that again. But maybe someone else on our team will do something like that. The playoffs seem to bring a lot of special moments.”
Cangelosi’s Youngstown Phantoms are hoping that this year their special moment involves hoisting the Clark Cup. And their quest for a first championship begins now.
The third-seeded Phantoms are playing the second-seeded Green Bay Gamblers in the first round of the playoffs. The best-of-five series begins tonight at 8:05 p.m. in Green Bay.
Given the recent history between the two teams, the series should be intense and hard-fought.
Bolstered by Cangelosi’s overtime heroics in game one, the Phantoms swept Cedar Rapids to earn their first ever playoff-series win last year. But they were knocked off by Green Bay 3-1 in the next round.
The Gamblers went on to win their second Clark Cup in three years.
“A lot of the guys on our team were on the team last year, and they still have guys from that winning team,” Cangelosi said. “So there’s some bad blood, and we want to get back at them.”
Youngstown has the talent to get their revenge and dethrone the champs.
Sam Anas set a new team record with 37 goals. John Padulo and Kyle Connor finished the regular season with more than 40 points each. Sean Romeo played the most games (53) among USHL goaltenders and finished seventh with a GAA of 2.75.
And, of course, there’s Cangelosi, who Youngstown head coach Anthony Noreen has called a “program changer.”
(photo credit: Robert Bindler/Youngstown Phantoms)
The co-captain finished the regular season 11th in the USHL with a team-best 64 points (21 goals, 43 assists). He also netted his 11th career shorthanded goal, putting him alone in first place in the Tier 1 era of the USHL.
In the second to last game of the regular season, Cangelosi achieved a personal milestone by tallying his 50th career USHL goal.
“Cam Brown got the puck and did a bunch of moves making the D look really silly,” Cangelosi said. “I planted myself backdoor and after he did all that work he passed it to me and I tapped it in.”
Last year, even though he was 10th in the league in scoring and turned heads with his high-end speed and hard-nosed play, the 5-foot-7 dynamo went undrafted in the NHL draft. That could change this year.
Noreen said that the Boston College recruit could be a late-round draft pick.
“We know how special he is, and we know how valuable any team at any level would find him so it’s almost shocking to us that he may not get drafted,” Noreen said. “At the same time, I understand NHL guys may be looking for bigger, maybe pro-body, type guys.”
Even though he’s aware that a solid playoff performance will help his draft chances, that’s the last thing on Cangelosi’s mind.
“I try not to focus on that, especially with it being the playoffs and it being a team effort,” he said. “I’m trying to do what I can to help the team win.”
And Cangelosi wants to finish his USHL career as a winner.
“It’s my last chance at a Clark Cup,” Cangelosi said. “It’s a hard thing to accomplish, and we’ve put in the work. There are no words to describe it. We want to go out there and win it.”
By Jen Dobias