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PHANTOMS MAKE ROSTER CHANGES AT HOLIDAY BREAK

By Youngstown Phantoms, 12/21/18, 12:00PM EST

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Purpura and Suede depart, DeStefani and Veltri added

YOUNGSTOWN, OH— The Youngstown Phantoms (10-11-0-3, 23 pts.) have announced four roster moves as the Phantoms head on holiday break.

Goaltender Vincent Purpura will be departing the Phantoms and joining the Boston University Terriers of the NCAA (Hockey East) for their second semester. Forward Jake Suede is returning to the Lone Star Brahmas of the NAHL after his time on loan from their club to Youngstown. Forward Ethan DeStefani will be joining the Phantoms from the Merrimack College Warriors of the NCAA (Hockey East). Goaltender Chad Veltri has been added to the club and will be joining the team after the holidays.

Purpura played in three games with the Phantoms after being acquired from the Omaha Lancers on November 12th and went 2-1 with a 1.97 goals against average and .912 save percentage. As a condition of their trade with the Lancers, the Phantoms will receive their 2019 Phase II 4th round draft pick back as compensation.

“Vincent was a quality addition while he was with our team,” said Phantoms’ General Manager Jason Koehler. “We are in the business of developing our players for the college and professional levels and sometimes the timing maybe is not what is best for us (the team), but for the player and the opportunity presented at that time. In this case, Vincent was committed to Boston University and they had a need to add and upgrade their goaltending situation and felt that after two and half seasons of junior hockey in the NAHL and USHL – Vincent was ready to step in and help them.”

Suede departs the Phantoms and rejoins the Lone Star Brahmas of the NAHL after a ten-game stint with Youngstown in November and December due to the Phantoms suffering some forward injuries and the two-week loss of forward Jack Malone to Team USA’s entry at the World Junior A Challenge Team (where Jack Malone earned a gold medal). Suede registered one assist in his ten games with Phantoms and provided a welcome addition to the forward group and played with energy and discipline.

“Jake performed well for us in his time with our club. He was excited to be here and help contribute to the team. Jake will continue to impress and develop in Lone Star and the NAHL and hopefully his time with us has opened up some additional college coaches’ eyes for his future” stated Jason Koehler.

Nineteen-year-old forward Ethan DeStefani (6’2 195 lbs.) joins the Phantoms after finishing the first semester of college hockey at Merrimack College (Hockey East). DeStefani departs Merrimack playing in four games with the school this fall. DeStefani hails from Bedford, New Hampshire and has previously played junior hockey in the USHL and NAHL for the Waterloo Blackhawks and the Minnesota Magicians respectively. DeStefani was originally drafted by Waterloo in the Phase I Draft of 2015 in the 9th round (134th overall) and then re-drafted by the Phantoms in last May’s 2018 USHL Phase II Draft in the 9th round (144th overall).

“We had drafted Ethan back in May in the event he did not enroll in college this fall, so we have a feel for him as a player as he attended our tryout camp in May and watching him the previous four seasons in prep hockey (with the Gunnery School) and in junior hockey,” said Koehler. “Hopefully a change of scenery is good for the player and we feel that Ethan can add a quality scoring line forward that possesses size, hands, and some playmaking ability while also having junior and college experience and most importantly some motivation to move on to a new college opportunity.”

Twenty-year-old free agent goaltender Chad Veltri (5’11 175 lbs.) joins the Phantoms after playing with the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL this season. Veltri, committed to Niagara University in western New York, is in his second season of junior hockey and held a 3.75 goals against average and .875 save percentage in ten games with the Stampede.  Veltri hails from the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area of Fox Chapel, previously played for the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite AAA program growing up and the Corpus Christi Ice Rays of the NAHL last season. Veltri was Sioux Falls’ 4th round selection (61st overall) in the 2018 USHL Phase II Draft.

“We’ve been able to watch and track Chad the last four years on a pretty consistent basis and he’s always performed well and in key situations and pressure,” said Koehler.” This young man helped lead the U18 AAA Pittsburgh Penguins to a National Championship a few years ago and then had a fantastic first season of junior hockey last year in the NAHL with Corpus Christi (21-13-2 record in 39 games with a 2.30 GAA and a .930 save percentage along with a strong playoff last year), so we hope that the return to the region and a familiar environment is a boost to the player and our club. Chad has practiced with us in the past, attended various camps with us, and even served as an emergency back-up with our team in the past while living in Pittsburgh.”

The new additions will join the team as they head on the road through Iowa following the holiday break, with tilts against Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, and Dubuque.

The Phantoms return to the Covelli Centre January 4-5 for a weekend series versus the Sioux City Musketeers. Call the Phantoms office at 330-747-7825 to order tickets.