Phil played two seasons in the USHL with the Sioux City Musketeers, where he was the second-leading scorer on the team with the league’s best record in 2016-17. He now plays NCAA Division I hockey at Miami University, something Matthew is set to do in the future as a commit to the University of Minnesota.
For now, Matthew is thriving in his first season in the USHL.
The 6-foot-2, 201-pound, 17-year-old forward has averaged a point per game with 13 goals and 29 assists in 42 games.
Matthew took a break from his first USHL season to play for the U.S. Junior Select Team in the World Junior A Challenge, where he helped the team to a bronze medal.
Along the way, he has continued to receive advice from Phil.
“He has been very helpful,” Matthew said. “He kind of mentored me. Once I knew he had gone through this league, I knew this was where I wanted to be and what I wanted to achieve.”
While putting up good scoring numbers, Matthew has been looking to generate some other positive numbers.
For his first full season — he played two USHL games a year ago — his plus-minus number is currently at minus-1.
Transitioning from being an offensive-minded youth player to becoming a well-rounded player in the top level of U.S. junior hockey has presented its challenges.
“It all has to do with work ethic,” Matthew said. “You can’t really take a day off. It takes a lot to make this league and be successful. For a young player, you have to realize it’s not just a skill game anymore. It’s big boy hockey and you need to transition your game a little bit.
“I had to transition my game a lot coming from U16 to this league.”
Matthew said linemates Colby Ambrosio, the team scoring leader and an experienced USHL player, and Nick Portz, a University of North Dakota commit, have helped ease the process for him.
If he needs additional support, Matthew knows where to turn for assistance.
“I couldn’t ask for a better brother,” Matthew said. “He’s been very supportive along the way, giving me some tips.
“He’s been a big help in my life.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
Photo courtesy of Eldon Holmes, Tri-City Storm team photographer.