2023 Green Bay Gamblers vs Youngstown Phantoms

Andrew Strathmann Shining With Youngstown After Trade From Tri-City

Andrew Strathmann Shining With Youngstown After Trade From Tri-City

Andrew Strathmann knew he had more to offer than his first season in the USHL suggested. This year, he's shining with the Youngstown Phantoms.

Mar 1, 2023 by Ryan Sikes
Andrew Strathmann Shining With Youngstown After Trade From Tri-City

Andrew Strathmann knew he had more to offer than his first season in the USHL suggested. 

The Beach Park, Illinois, native finished with 23 points (five goals, 18 assists) in 61 games for the Tri-City Storm in his rookie campaign.

The 2023 NHL Draft-eligible prospect wanted to position himself to best showcase his talents.

Strathmann felt the best place for him to do that was with the Youngstown Phantoms, so he requested a trade over the summer.

With Youngstown losing several of its top point producers from the 2021-2022 campaign, the young defenseman saw an opportunity for him to take on an expanded role in his second season. 

He also felt it was an excellent place to continue developing his defensive game.

“Playing the D zone is a big part of the player I’m trying to become, so that’s one of the biggest things I was focusing on (coming into this year) and will continue to focus on,” Strathmann said.

Strathmann got his collegiate commitment out of the way as soon as possible. He visited the University of North Dakota in the summer of 2021 and committed on Aug. 1.

After speaking with the coaching staff and seeing the team’s facilities, it was a relatively easy decision. It was the only school the young blueliner visited, understanding the track record of the program’s ability to produce NHL talent. 

“This was something that me and my dad looked at each other and were like, ‘This is unbelievable,’” he said.

Strathmann, who turned 18 on Monday, began his tenure with the Phantoms with points in five out of his first six games, including a two-point effort in the team’s season opener.

With a relatively young team after the roster turnover from the previous year, the Phantoms were looking to find their footing in the first two months of the season.

It wasn’t until around mid-December that the team started to string together some wins.

At the time, Strathmann and Phantoms teammate Jacob Fowler were selected to represent Team USA at the World Junior A Challenge. The Americans won the gold medal for the eighth time since the tournament’s inception in 2006.

“(Fowler) is a great goalie and an even better dude,” he said. “He’s very competitive and someone I’ll take on my team any day of the week. I love the guy, and sharing that experience with him was really cool.”

Strathmann has been a big part of the Phantoms’ turnaround since the early stages of the season. Youngstown sits in second place in the Eastern Conference, within striking distance of first place.

The young defenseman has accumulated 31 points (two goals, 29 assists) in 38 games. Strathmann has 90 shots on goal but isn’t too concerned about the lack of goals.

The young defenseman’s abilities shine quarterbacking the power play, with 14 of his 29 assists coming on special teams.

With all of the talent on the Phantoms roster, Strathmann knows that simply putting pucks on net will result in great scoring chances for him or his teammates.

“I have guys around me that are obviously really skilled, and they can make plays at a high level, so it’s easy (to collect points on the powerplay),” he said. “Sometimes, you find a guy, shoot it, and it gets tipped in.”

Not only has Strathmann been fortunate enough to participate in international play this year, but the young defenseman had what he described as an “unbelievable experience” in Youngstown’s first outdoor game last week.

Officially named the Cleveland Classic, the Phantoms and Cedar Rapids RoughRiders squared off at FirstEnergy Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns.

Strathmann collected a secondary assist on Andon Cerbone’s short-handed goal in the third period, effectively putting the game out of reach.

Despite the 4-1 win, Strathmann noted several challenges of playing outdoors, compared to playing inside a controlled, indoor environment.

“The ice was a little tough, and it just felt a little different,” he said. “It wasn’t very loud. The fans were far away, and you’re just kind of out there with your team playing like pond hockey, so there wasn’t much noise or anything.”

Entering the home stretch of the regular season, the Phantoms are well-positioned to make a run for the top spot in the East. 

Youngstown is firing on all cylinders, led by Fowler, who recently was named USHL Goalie of the Week for the fifth time this year.

And Strathmann knows this squad will not settle for second place.

“Since the start, we felt like we’ve had the ability to be the best team in our conference,” he said. “We’re gunning for first right now, so that’s definitely the mindset heading into the last stretch here.”