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Hirano closer to becoming first Japanese player in USHL

UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, home of USHL Pittsburgh Showcase
UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, home of USHL Pittsburgh Showcase

Yushiro Hirano is one step closer to becoming the first Japanese player to compete in a USHL regular season game. The Tomakomai, Hokkaido, Japan native has made the Youngstown Phantoms' opening day roster.

The '95 right wing had a goal and an assist this past weekend in the USHL Pittsburgh Showcase, both exhibition games, against the USNTDP U-17 and U-18 Teams.

Hirano had six goals and two assists in five games played for the Japanese national team at last winter's World Junior Championship Division 1B.

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Jeff Cox covers college, junior, high school and prep hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.