YOUNGSTOWN, OH – After a three-week fan vote on YoungstownPhantoms.com, the Youngstown Phantoms are proud to announce the choices for the Youngstown Phantoms All-Decade team from their first ten years of USHL Hockey, 2009/10 – 2019/20. Fans were given the opportunity to select three forwards, two defensemen, one goalie, and one coach on their ballot with the ability to write-in names in the categories as well. The results are as follows, based on the percentage of ballots a name appeared on:
Kyle Connor (50.3%) – Kyle played in Youngstown from 2012-2015 and is still one of the most offensively-gifted forwards to wear a Phantoms jersey. To this day, Kyle still holds several Phantoms’ offensive records, including number of points in a season and number of points in a career. The Phantoms used their first-round tender ahead of the 2012 USHL Phase I draft to bring Kyle into the organization, and he was a part of the Phantoms’ Anderson Cup team in 2014/15 that also set a USHL Tier-1 record for consecutive wins (17). As a result of his outstanding season, Kyle won the USHL scoring title and was named the USHL Forward of the Year and Player of the Year for the 2014/15 season. After his time in Youngstown, Kyle was drafted in the first round, 17th overall, by the Winnipeg Jets in 2015. He spent one season at the University of Michigan, helping the Wolverines to a Big Ten title and a berth in the Frozen Four. Through the first 249 games of his NHL career, Kyle has scored 105 goals and 201 points for Winnipeg and also helped them reach the Western Conference Final in 2018.
Josh Melnick (17.9%) – Drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 USHL draft by Youngstown, Josh played for the Phantoms from 2013-2015 and was one of the key components of the most successful season in Phantoms history during 2014/15, finishing third on the team behind Kyle Connor and Max Letunov in scoring. Josh led the USHL in assists with 48 and wore an “A” for the Phantoms that year. Josh’s 48 assists during that historic 2014/15 campaign are still the most during a single season in Phantoms history. After his time in Youngstown was over, Josh played collegiate hockey at Miami (OH) University, wearing an “A” during his sophomore and junior years before being named team captain for his senior season in 2018/19. At the conclusion of his college career, Josh was signed by the Dallas Stars organization and has scored 19 points in 66 career AHL games.
Sam Anas (17.2%) – As Youngstown’s second round pick in the 2011 USHL Entry Draft, Sam wore a Phantoms sweater from 2011-2013, helping lead Youngstown to the first two Clark Cup Playoff berths in club history. Sam was a key component in the 2012/13 team that made it all the way to the Eastern Conference finals against Dubuque, where the Phantoms fell in five games to the eventual-Clark Cup Champions. Sam finished second on the team in scoring during the 2012/13 season, just one point behind Austin Cangelosi, but did lead the team in goals with 37. Those 37 goals were the most in by a player in a single season until Brett Murray scored 41 in 2018/19. Sam traded in the purple and orange of Youngstown for the blue and gold of Quinnipiac University. He led the team in scoring all three years of his collegiate career, helping the Bobcats to several #1 weekly rankings and a berth in the Frozen Four and National title game during his junior year. After his third year of college, Sam was signed by the Minnesota Wild organization and has spent the last four seasons with the Iowa Wild of the AHL. Sam has accrued 72 goals and 197 points in 259 AHL games. He was the leading assist-man in the AHL during the 2019/20 season with 50 and won the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as the AHL’s leading scorer as well with 70 points total.
Alec Mahalak (24.5%) – Youngstown’s third round pick in the USHL Futures Draft in 2014, Alec made it to the USHL for the 2016/17 season, his final year of hockey before moving on to Miami (OH) University. Alec was a key component of a defense that combined with netminder Ivan Kulbakov to finish second in the USHL in goals allowed (135). Alec also helped lead the Phantoms back to the playoffs after they missed the postseason the year before, falling to the eventual Clark Cup Champion-Chicago Steel in five games. Alec led all Phantoms defensemen in scoring that year with 23 and was a top-20 scoring defenseman in the USHL that season as well. So far in his collegiate career for the Redhawks, Alec has 2 goals and 23 points through 95 NCAA games and has one year left of NCAA eligibility.
Matt Miller (14.6%-tie) – Originally drafted by the Des Moines Buccaneers in the second round of the 2011 USHL Futures Draft, Matt only ended up playing 5 games for Des Moines before playing in 167 for Youngstown from 2012-16, the most by a defenseman in Phantoms history. Matt was a part of the 2014/15 Anderson Cup team and wore an “A” for Youngstown during the 2015/16 season. Matt finished his USHL career with 11 goals and 33 points before heading to Ohio State. Matt scored 19 goals and 64 points in four seasons for the Buckeyes, helping them to the Big Ten Regular Season title in 2019.
Aiden Gallacher (14.6%-tie) – Drafted in the 14th round of the 2018 USHL Phase II draft, Aiden was a mainstay on the Phantoms blueline for two seasons. He became the first defenseman in team history to be named team captain when he was awarded the “C” during the 2019/20 season. Aiden led all Phantoms defensemen in scoring during his final USHL campaign and totaled 11 goals and 35 points during his 83-game USHL career. Aiden will begin his collegiate career next season in East Lansing, Michigan, suiting up for the Michigan State Spartans.
Ivan Kulbakov (18.5%) – Selected in the 12th round of the 2016 USHL Phase II draft, Ivan spent only one season in Youngstown, but what a season it was. During the 2016/17 season, Ivan put up the best seasonal number by a goaltender in Phantoms history, tallying the highest save percentage in Youngstown history (.919) and becoming the only Phantoms netminder to put up a sub-2.00 goals against average in a season (1.93). Kulbakov also posted five shutouts during the 2016/17 campaign, tying the mark set by Sean Romeo in 2012/13. Youngstown did make the Clark Cup Playoffs during Kulbakov’s only season with the Phantoms, but they were eliminated in five games by the eventual Clark Cup Champion-Chicago Steel.
Brad Patterson (47.7%) – After serving as an assistant for the Phantoms from the team’s inaugural season in 2009/10 until 2015/16, Brad was handed the keys to the car and named the head coach prior to the 2016/17 campaign. Brad has done nothing but win during his four-year tenure as Youngstown’s bench boss, leading the Phantoms to the Clark Cup Playoffs every season he’s been at the helm, including a berth in the Clark Cup Final in 2018. Brad currently ranks first in standings points (272), second in wins (123), and second in winning percentage (.586) in Phantoms history, trailing Anthony Noreen by 3 and John Wroblewski by .06 in each category respectively. In addition to being the head coach, Brad was also named the Phantoms General Manager prior to the 2019/20 season.
The Youngstown Phantoms would like to thank all the fans who participated in this event and for an amazing first ten years that saw almost 500,000 fans come to the Covelli Centre to witness the United States Hockey League action and future National Hockey League stars start their careers right here in Youngstown!