YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Youngstown Phantoms and Head Coach Curtis Carr take great pride in announcing the commitment of defenseman
Justin Stevens has tallied one goal and three assists (4pts) along with 96 penalty minues in 39 games.
Justin Stevens to Mercyhurst College for the fall of 2012. Stevens becomes the fifteenth Phantom on the current roster to secure a college commitment.
Stevensis playing in his first year with the Phantoms but he has three years of junior experience before taking the ice in Youngstown. Like the other committed Phantoms, securing a division one scholarship has been the main goal since he started playing on the junior level.
“This really does feel awesome,” said Stevens. “This is my fourth year playing juniors and this has been the goal since day one. I wanted to go to a great division one program and I am very happy to be headed to Mercyhurst.”
The Brantford, Ontario native, did not take long to make his commitment when the Lakers showed interest. The coaching staff at Mercyhurst reached out to Stevens and three weeks later they secured the Youngstown blueliner.
“This whole process has been awesome,” said Stevens. “They [Mercyhurst] talked to me three weeks before I committed and it has been a school that I have always been interested in. I visited the school and I loved what I saw.”
For first year head coach Curtis Carr, his fifteenth college commitment is yet another testament to what he and his staff have done this year in Youngstown.
“Helping our players achieve that next step is what we are here for,” said Carr. “As an organization we have done very well when it comes to our players developing for the next level. The credit goes to the entire staff, Anthony [Noreen] and Brad [Patterson] do great job working with our players and Jason [Koehler] is out watching these players before they arrive in Youngstown.”
Coach Carr also stressed that the number of commitments out of Youngstown is in part because of the league these players compete in.
“This is what the USHL is here for, to move players on to the next level,” said Carr. “This shows not only the progress of our players but the progress of the whole league. Our staff can take some of the credit but it’s who we play against that forces our players to get better. When you play against better teams you are forced to make yourself better, our guys have been doing that this season.
After the long recruitment process, a relieved Stevens expressed a statement that every USHL player wants to hear.
“I have been waiting four years to hear someone say, ‘we want you to commit to us’,” Stevens said. “Now that it has happened there is a weight lifted off my shoulders. I have always put the team first but it will be nice to fully focus on helping my team make the playoffs.”
Stevensplans to study business once he arrives on campus in the fall of 2012.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)