UND commit Andrew Strathmann celebrates a Clark Cup in Youngstown

The 2024 Fighting Hawks commit has been one of the USHL's top offensive defensemen the last two seasons and played a key role as the Phantoms captured their first Clark Cup

Youngstown defenseman Andrew Strathmann hoists the Clark Cup after defeating Fargo in Game 3 of the Clark Cup Finals at the Covelli Centre.
Contributed / Youngstown Phantoms

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Andrew Strathmann received the news last July that he had been traded from the Tri-City Storm to the Youngstown Phantoms.

The left-shot defenseman earned USHL All-Rookie First Team honors with the Storm last season as Strathmann scored five goals and added 18 assists while blossoming into one of the league’s biggest threats from the blue line. However, he felt his game had room to grow and wanted a change.

Nearly a year later, it’s a move that’s benefited his game and has made him a Clark Cup champ.

“At the time it was a fresh start for me and honestly it’s probably the best thing that could’ve happened to me,” Strathmann said after Friday’s 1-0 win over Fargo. “Everyone here has been so welcoming from the start and I’ve had such a great time playing here.

“We have a great group of players and leaders, great coaches and it’s just been a great fit.”


The UND commit notched a career-high 38 points (3-35-38) in 56 regular season games and quarterbacked Youngstown’s power play.

Strathmann racked up 19 of his 38 points on the man-advantage and finished eighth among USHL defensemen in overall scoring with those 38 points.

However, he saved his best for the postseason as Strathmann scored three times and added four assists, helping the Phantoms win eight of their playoff games and capture their first Clark Cup in franchise history.

“It’s mind-blowing and you just kind of black out when you hear the final buzzer and start celebrating,” Strathmann said. “It’s been such an amazing group to play with and the fans here are unbelievable. It’s just a great feeling to (win the Clark Cup).”

Game 3 Strathmann celebration.JPG
Andrew Strathmann (No. 27) helped the Youngstown Phantoms win their first Clark Cup in franchise history. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound defenseman from Beach Park, Ill., had seven points in nine playoff games, which ranked second among all USHL blue liners.
Jordan McAlpine / The Rink Live

Strathmann saw Youngstown from afar last season as the Phantoms made the playoffs but were knocked out in the first round by Madison.

Tri-City — which won the Anderson Cup last season — made it to the Western Conference Final but was swept by Sioux City in three games. Strathmann had zero points in five playoff games.

As much as the defeat stung in the moment, the following weeks opened the door for an opportunity in Youngstown. Ryan Ward — who served as Tri-City’s director of player development the last two seasons — was named the Phantoms head coach in May and said it was a "no-brainer" when the opportunity to acquire Strathmann presented itself.

The Strathmann acquisition, along with the in-season addition of Andon Cerbone, proved pivotal down the stretch as the Phantoms made their Cup run.


“Stratty has matured a lot and was just so consistent for us,” Ward told The Rink Live. “We had one of the youngest teams in the league and these kids all went through it. Especially as a young defenseman it takes some time to find your game and he’s done that while also maturing as a leader and a person.”

“I think the guys here kind of came into this season with an underdog mentality and we went into every rink wanting to prove ourselves,” Strathmann added. “We kinda got off to a slow start but then we won a couple big games and our confidence just kept growing from there.”

Strathmann’s development was especially on display in the postseason as he helped shut down one of the league’s top offenses (Fargo) and put together a strong showing right down the road from his future home in Grand Forks.

“He's going to be a captain," Ward said after Game 2. "A defenseman takes a little longer, right? Any defenseman worth his weight in gold, you can't rush. You have to have situations where you round them out to a full, complete player. So, when they go to wherever they're going — in this case North Dakota — he can hit the ground running.

“I think he's done a great job taking strides this year. I think we're looking for him to be the best defenseman in the USHL next year."

Youngstown's Andrew Strathmann and Fargo's Anthony Menghini mix it up during Game 1 of the Clark Cup Finals at Scheels Arena on Friday, May 12, 2023.
David Samson/The Forum

Strathmann will return to northeast Ohio for one more USHL season. Strathmann says he’s excited to return and believes another year of junior hockey will help him in the long run. And he wants to add another banner to the Covelli Centre rafters.

He’ll likely have an NHL logo next to his name on next year’s line charts too as Strathmann is projected to be picked in the second or third round at next month’s NHL Draft. He came in at No. 44 among North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings.

However, he’s going to use the next few days to soak in the celebration before his focus shifts too far ahead.


“This has been such an incredible year and we’re just really excited to win this for Youngstown and the fans here,” Strathmann said. “It's been an unbelievable year and we're excited to celebrate this together."

Game 3 Strathmann celebration shot.JPG
A piece of the net dangles out of Andrew Strathmann's hat as the Youngstown defenseman calls family members on the ice Friday night after winning the Clark Cup.
Jordan McAlpine / The Rink Live

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