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Saad readies for World Challenge

December 26, 2008

Brandon Saad leads the Phantoms in goals scored with 11.

When the Mahoning Valley Phantoms host the Alpena IceDiggers this weekend, they’ll do so without the services of team’s leading goal-scorer Brandon Saad, as he will be in British Columbia playing for Team USA at the 2009 World Under-17 Challenge.

The event runs from Dec. 29 through Jan. 4.

Team USA head coach John Hynes says Saad is a perfect fit for Team USA at the Challenge.

"We're looking forward to having Brandon on our team," said Hynes, who also serves as head coach of the U.S. Under-17 Team. "He’s a very good player who's playing style and character are what we’re looking for when adding players for a major international event."

Saad, from Gibsonia, Pa., currently leads the Phantoms with 11 goals and is second on the team in scoring with 18 points.

The World Under-17 Hockey Challenge welcomes 10 teams, including five Canadian regional teams (Pacific, West, Atlantic, Ontario and Quebec) and the United States, Germany, Slovakia, Finland and Russia.

The U.S. National Under-17 Team has won the tournament twice (2001, 2002) in the 13 years it has participated. Team USA is coming off of back-to-back second-place finishes at the Challenge.

The Phantoms, meanwhile, open a two-game series with Alpena on Sunday at the Chevrolet Centre. The puck will drop for the North Division contest at 7:15 p.m.

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