2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

AFA picks up blue-liner for next season

Published: April 4, 2014, 12:35 pm, by Joe Paisley

MackeyYoungstown Phantoms defenseman Kyle Mackey committed to play starting next season at Air Force.

“Air Force has been showing interest this whole year.  I finally got out to visit this past week, and it was great,” said Mackey.  “The campus was great; the Colorado Springs area is just awesome.  They have a lot to offer, and they set you up for the rest of your life.  It’s a great opportunity, and I’m really blessed for it.”

Mackey has produced 16 points (1g, 15a) and collected 52 penalty minutes in 49 games this season for the Phantoms.  He scored his first USHL goal in a 4-3 shootout win against the Fargo Force on Nov. 8, one month after celebrating his 19th birthday.  It is the second season in the USHL for the Derby, N.Y. native after he recorded six assists and a plus-eight rating over 38 games with the Phantoms last season.

The defenseman came to the USHL after the Phantoms selected him in the 2012 USHL Entry Draft.  He previously played youth hockey for the Buffalo Jr. Sabres organization.

“It’s a great accomplishment for Kyle,” said Phantoms coach Anthony Noreen.  “Last year, and I think he’d be the first to admit it, was a big growing process for him as a player, but he stuck to it.  He believed in us, he trusted us, he worked his way through it, came back this year, and he stepped up big time on our back end when we needed it.  He fought his way into our top pair, and has really been an anchor for us on our blue line all year.  I think it’s something that he deserves, something that he’s worked towards, and it’s a huge honor for him.”

Mackey is joined by two other USHL defensemen that have committed to Air Force – Phil Boje of the Dubuque Fighting Saints and R.J. Majkozak of the Sioux Falls Stampede.