Denis Smirnov, Fargo Force
The 17-year-old scored three goals over two games to lead the Force to a pair of victories during the week. He netted two goals in the second period on Thursday, the second of which proved to be the game-winner in the 4-2 victory over the Sioux City Musketeers. Smirnov followed up with the game-winning goal in Friday’s 2-0 victory against the Sioux Falls Stampede. It was his 20th USHL career goal, seven of which have been game-winners. He has now scored four goals over his last three games. The Russian-born forward is playing his second USHL season and ranks second on the Force in scoring with 18 points (5g, 13a) through 20 games. He played youth hockey in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights organization and is committed to play college hockey at Penn State University.
Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Omaha Lancers
It was a big night on Friday for the Lancers forward as he produced three points (2g, 1a) in the 4-3 win against the Tri-City Storm. He tallied the first goal of the game and then netted the winner in overtime, giving the Lancers their fourth straight victory. The overtime tally was the 20th goal of his USHL career. It was his second consecutive three-point game, and the forward also finished with a game high plus-three rating. Forsbacka-Karlsson leads the Lancers in scoring and is tied for eighth overall in the USHL with 26 points (9g, 17a) through 23 games. The 18-year-old is committed to play college hockey at Boston University and is also a top prospect for the 2015 NHL Draft. The Sweden native played for the Linkoping organization in his home country prior to his time in the USHL.
Lukas Buchta, Sioux Falls Stampede
The defenseman scored a pair of goals as the Stampede split two games during the week. He scored both of his goals, including the game-winner, during the 4-2 victory against the Des Moines Buccaneers on Wednesday. He also equaled a game high with a plus-two rating. Three of his five goals this season have been game-winners, tying for third overall in the USHL. The 20-year-old native of Frystak, Czech Republic has produced nine points (5g, 4a) through 25 games this season for the Stampede and ranks fourth on the team with a plus-four rating. It is the first full season in the USHL for Buchta after playing for the HC Zlin organization in his native country. He first appeared in the League during the 2012-13 season with the Omaha Lancers.
Mathias Israelsson, Fargo Force
The 20-year-old goaltender stopped all 24 shots he faced on Friday in the 2-0 victory over the Sioux Falls Stampede. It was his first shutout of the season and third of his USHL career. It was also his 15th career win in a Fargo uniform. Israelsson has been in net for nine of the 12 victories for the Force this season, and he is currently sixth among all USHL goaltenders in wins. His .911 save percentage ranks eighth among League netminders while his 2.84 GAA ranks 11th. He is playing his second season in the USHL and second with the Force after being acquired midway through last season from the Waterloo Black Hawks. Prior to his time in the USHL, he played hockey in his native Sweden for the Frolunda organization.
USHL Highlights: Week 10
December 2, 2014
Goals scored by Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Jiri Fronk, Mason Bergh, Sasha Larocque, Vince Pedrie (GWG) and Drew Best (SHG). Save made by Ben Blacker.