New Year starts with big performances, streaks, and milestones
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Here Come the Hawks…The Waterloo Black Hawks have started out 2014 in the same way they finished 2013 – by winning. After earning a 4-1 victory against the Lincoln Stars on New Year’s Eve, they added two more wins over the weekend to extend their win streak to seven games and improved to 12-0-1 in their last 13 contests. Goaltender Cal Petersen, who wears #40 on his jersey, made 32 saves on December 31st to collect the 40th win of his USHL career. He then made 25 saves in the 6-4 win over the Dubuque Fighting Saints on Saturday to extend his win streak to six. Defenseman Mark Friedman scored a goal in both weekend contests, including the game-tying goal with only 2:20 remaining in regulation to force overtime on Friday. Liam Pecararo would eventually convert the deciding tally in the sixth round of the shootout to lead the Hawks to a 4-3 win against the Fargo Force. Blake Winiecki would record his first USHL hat trick, scoring all three of his goals in the second period, during Saturday’s win over Dubuque. His three goals came over a span of 10:43 minutes of game action
Magic Minute…The Waterloo Black Hawks exploded for four goals in a span of 3:05 during the second period of Saturday’s 6-4 win at Dubuque. Their first three goals came in a span of just 55 seconds, including two by Blake Winiecki. Although fast, the feat did not set a USHL record. That still belongs to the Thunder Bay Flyers who scored three goals over just 30 seconds on October 29th, 1988 while also playing in Dubuque against the Saints.
Winter Storming…The Tri-City Storm started off 2014 with a weekend sweep of the Sioux Falls Stampede and have now won three straight against the Stampede. The Storm have been victorious in five of their last six games. They tallied 11 total goals in their weekend sweep and successfully killed off 12-of-13 shorthanded situations against the Stampede who are the second best team in power play conversion on home ice this season (24.1%). Christian Horn scored in each contest and now has five goals during his current four-game goal streak. Austin Poganski scored two goals in Saturday’s 6-4 win, giving him five goals over his last six games. Goaltender Jacob Johansson was in net for both games, stopping a total of 54 shots to extend his win streak to five games and give him 10 victories for the season.
On the Homeland…The Sioux City Musketeers started off 2014 with a pair of home victories, giving them a total of 13 on home ice which ties for the USHL lead. The Musketeers outscored the Muskegon Lumberjacks 7-2 over the two-game set and forward Austin Adduono netted three of the goals. Zach Gleinke scored his first USHL goal in Friday’s 3-0 win while Jake Montgomery scored his 13th of the season in Saturday’s 4-2 victory. The 13 home victories for Sioux City are just one shy of their total from all of last season and their 21 overall wins are two less than last season’s total.
Crease Work…Fargo Force goaltender Brendan Jensen kept busy on Friday night as he faced 61 shots over three periods and a five-minute overtime against the Waterloo Black Hawks. The 58 saves he made in the 4-3 shootout loss are the most in a USHL game since John Gibson stopped 58 shots for Team USA on November 20th, 2009. It was the third time in a span of four games that Jensen had faced at least 50 shots. Waterloo Black Hawks defenseman Brandon Montour fired 12 of the shots on Jensen, equaling a USHL season high for shots in one game.
Bucca-Niners…The Des Moines Buccaneers had an offensive outburst during their 9-5 win on Saturday against the Fargo Force. Six of their nine goals came in the second period, the most goals scored by a USHL team in a single period this season. Tanner Karty netted a pair of goals in the period. Overall, 16 Bucs registered at least one point. It was the most goals scored by the team since they put up in 10 on October 19th, 2012, a game in which Karty also scored two goals.
Make it Eight, Again…The Omaha Lancers also had a big night on Saturday when they earned an 8-1 win against the rival Lincoln Stars. It was the second time over their last five games they had scored eight goals. A total of 13 Lancers recorded at least one point, including Ryan Tait who had a USHL career high four points (1g, 3a). League leading scorer Jake Randolph netted his 15th goal of the season and dished out his 40th assist of the year. Luca Frigo netted a pair of goals, including his fourth game-winner of the season. Hayden Hawkey stopped 21 shots to improve his record to 9-1-0 this season.
One of Each…The Chicago Steel rang in the New Year with both a road win and home win. They have now won six of their last seven outings. Mason Bergh scored two goals in Friday’s 4-1 victory over the Youngstown Phantoms while Chris Nell made 35 saves to post his 10th win of the season. Robbie Payne also scored in the contest, giving him eight goals over his last eight games. On Sunday, Robby Jackson tallied the game-winner in the third period to lead a 4-3 win over the Green Bay Gamblers. The Steel have now won three straight against Green Bay after dropping their first three meetings of the season.
Memorable Debut…Goaltender Benjamin Johansson made quite the impression on his new Dubuque Fighting Saints teammates as he stopped all 23 shots in his first USHL game on Friday to record the shutout in the 3-0 win against the Lincoln Stars. It was the first game in North America for the 19-year-old native of Sweden.
Quickies…Several USHL players wasted little time after the puck dropped to light the lamp as there were six goals scored in the opening minute of a period over the weekend. Scott Conway of the Indiana Ice scored just 50 seconds into the second period on Friday and then topped that by scoring only 39 seconds into the third period on Saturday. The quick goals helped him extend his point streak to seven games and move him into a tie for sixth in the USHL with 16 goals. In the same game on Friday, Alec Marsh of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders followed up Conway’s second-period goal by scoring just 37 seconds into the third period. Both of the goals for Austin Poganski on Saturday came in the first minute of the period for the Tri-City Storm. His first came just 56 seconds after the opening faceoff and then he tallied his second of the night only 47 seconds into the second period. Ryan Galt of the Des Moines Buccaneers nearly equaled that feat on Saturday as his first goal came 1:14 into the second period and his second tally was 38 seconds into the third.
Putting in the Extra Time…Despite being outshot 41-17 for the contest, the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders earned a 3-2 shootout win over the Indiana Ice on Saturday to snap a three-game losing streak. The Riders have now won each of their last five games that have gone past regulation time (two overtimes, three shootouts). Goaltender Danny Tirone played a huge role in the win on Saturday as he made 39 saves and stopped both Indiana shooters in the extra season to post his 10th win of the season. He has now turned away all five attempts he has faced in the shootout this season. Dylan Steman and defenseman Charlie Curti both converted in the shootout for the Riders. Curti is now a perfect 2-for-2 on his shootout attempts this season.
The Scoring Touch…Muskegon Lumberjacks forward Matt Iacopelli scored a goal on both Saturday and Sunday, giving him 23 total for the season to rank second in the USHL. He has tallied nine goals over his last seven games. His goal on Sunday proved to be the game-winner in the 5-2 victory against Des Moines. The 19-year-old has scored the winner in three of the last four victories for the Lumberjacks. He has been held off the scoresheet just four times over the last 27 games and has netted a goal in 18 of those contests. Iacopelli is just two goals shy of tying the Lumberjacks season record of 25 goals scored by Matt Berry during the 2010-11 season.
Change of Scenery…Since the Muskegon Lumberjacks and Green Bay Gamblers pulled off a trade just before the holidays, both players involved in the transaction have already had big impacts on their new club. Connor Hurley tallied a goal on Sunday for the Green Bay Gamblers, his third goal in four games since being acquired by the team. He had scored three goals over 21 games prior to the trade. Defenseman Christian Wolanin had two points (1g, 1a) in Sunday’s win for the Muskegon Lumberjacks. Wolanin has produced six points (2g, 4a) in five games since being traded. He had recorded five points (1g, 4a) in 23 previous games this season.
Noteworthy…Des Moines Buccaneers forward R.J. Burns scored his first two USHL goals over the weekend and both were game-winners…Forward Marcel Godbout has netted five goals over his last five games for Des Moines…Keith Burchett scored a goal in both weekend contests for the Sioux Falls Stampede, extending his point streak to six games and giving him five goals over his last four contests…Stampede forward Zeb Knutson netted his 20th goal of the season on Saturday, making it back-to-back years he has scored at least 20 goals…Dawson Cook scored two goals for the Green Bay Gamblers in Sunday’s 4-3 loss to Chicago. It was his second multi-goal effort over his last four games…Defenseman Alexx Privitera netted two goals for the Dubuque Fighting Saints in Saturday’s 6-4 loss to Waterloo. It was his third multi-point effort over his last four contests.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 12th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2013-14. A record 32 players were chosen in the 2013 NHL Draft and more than 300 players on team rosters last season have committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at www.USHL.com or visit the League’s social media platforms, including Facebook (www.facebook.com/ushlhockey), twitter (www.twitter.com/ushl), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/ushlinteractive). Fans can also watch USHL action all season long, live or on-demand via FASTHockey (ushl.fasthockey.com).
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