Josef Korenar (G)

Lincoln Stars

12-10-3-0, 2.22 GAA, .926 SV%

10. Lincoln Stars

30-20-4-1, Last Poll: 10

 

The Stars have won three straight games heading into the final two weeks of the season and are now just three points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a game-in-hand over the fourth-seeded Des Moines Buccaneers. Brandon Schultz has gone on a tear in March, with eight points (3G, 5A) in eight games. The Northeastern commit is now the Stars scoring leader with 41 points (13G, 28A) in 41 games. Swedish forward and Michigan commit Gustaf Westlund has also been helping Lincoln’s cause as of late with four points (2G, 2A) in his last five games. Another big reason for the Stars success as of late has been goaltender Josef Korenar, who was named CCM/USHL Goaltender of the Week on Monday. The Czech netminder has been stellar between the pipes for Lincoln all season long, as he is currently second among all USHL goaltenders in SV% (.926) and third in GAA (2.22). He has won four of his last five starts in net to help Lincoln make a late push for the Clark Cup Playoffs and has made at least 25 saves in four of his last six appearances. Korenar's two starts with less than 25 saves during that stretch both resulted in shutouts. The Stars take on the Youngstown Phantoms on Friday and Saturday in a series that could go a long way in determining if either team can move into Clark Cup Playoffs position. Lincoln will then end the regular season with a home-and-home series over in-state rival Omaha as they will look to advance to the Clark Cup Playoffs for the second straight season.

 

9. Youngstown Phantoms

31-19-5-1, Last Poll: 7

 

Youngstown is currently tied with Green Bay for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference standings. The Phantoms have been scoring by committee all season long and it has been especially true as of late, as the Phantoms hold their playoff tied position despite not having a player among the top-20 in USHL scoring. Nicolas Werbik (17-20—37), Pierce Crawford (17-17—34), Austin Pooley (19-10—29), Alex Esposito (14-15—29) and Coale Norris (14-15—29) sit in the top-five in team scoring. Norris has scored a goal in each of his last three games and had five points (1G, 4A) along with Pooley (2G, 3A), who now leads the team with 19 goals on the season. Ivan Kulbakov continues to shine between the pipes for the Phantoms. The Belarusian netminder is second among all USHL goaltenders with a 1.96 GAA, tied for second with 27 wins, and tied for fifth with a .918 SV%. Youngstown has a pivotal series with Lincoln this upcoming weekend and will close out the regular season with a home series against Team USA.