A recap of Friday night action in the USHL.
Team USA @ Indiana Ice 5
Brian Pinho netted a pair of goals as the Ice collected their 10th home win of the season. The Washington Capitals draft pick started the scoring with a late first-period goal. Mitch Hults scored early in the second and then Scott Conway extended his goal streak to four games with his 17th goal of the season to make the lead 3-0 in favor of the Ice. Dennis Yan scored late in the period to get Team USA’s Under-17 squad on the board. Defenseman Vince Pedrie netted a goal early in the third and Pinho tallied his second of the night just 47 seconds later to close out the victory for Indiana. Goaltender Jason Pawloski made 24 saves to record his 16th win of the season.
Muskegon Lumberjacks 4 @ Youngstown Phantoms 3
The third goal in five games for Connor Wood proved to be the game-winner as the Lumberjacks improved to 3-2-0 during their current eight-game road stretch. Tyler Spezia struck first for Youngstown eight minutes into the game, but Trevor Morbeck responded less than a minute and a half later and Haralds Egle gave the Lumberjacks the lead five minutes later. The Phantoms pulled even again on the 11th of the season for Luke Stork in the second, but Matt Mendelson scored his 12th of the year four minutes later to make it 3-2 Muskegon heading into the second intermission. Wood scored early in the third to make it a two-goal lead before J.J. Piccinich netted his 18th of the season to pull the Phantoms within one. The Jacks would hang on as Eric Schierhorn made 30 saves to record his fourth win over his last five starts.
Chicago Steel 2 @ Cedar Rapids RoughRiders 3 (SO)
Dylan Steman was the lone player to score in the shootout to give the RoughRiders their third straight win and 10th home victory of the season. Following a scoreless first period, Robbie Payne put Chicago on the scoreboard midway through the second frame with his 10th goal of the year. Cedar Rapids would respond a little more than a minute later with the first USHL goal for Brennan Sanford and then Frederik Tiffels scored late in the period while making his debut for the Riders. Patrick Polino netted his 15th USHL career goal late in the third period to tie it for Chicago and force overtime. After no scoring in the extra session, the teams went to the shootout where Danny Tirone stopped all three attempts to go along with his 30 saves to record the victory. Chris Nell made 41 saves in the loss for Chicago.
Dubuque Fighting Saints 3 @ Des Moines Buccaneers 1
Defenseman Josh Elmes scored the game-winning goal in his debut with the Saints to lead them to their 18th win of the season. Defenseman Alexx Privitera started things off for Dubuque a little over seven minutes into the contest, his fourth goal over the last five games. Michael Marnell responded later in the period for Des Moines with his sixth of the season. Elmes, who was acquired earlier in the week via a trade, scored just under seven minutes into the second and Karson Kuhlman netted his 10th of the season to close it out for Dubuque. Goaltender Benjamin Johansson made 39 saves to record the win for the Saints.
Fargo Force 4 @ Lincoln Stars 5
Max Humitz scored the game-winner for the second straight game as the Stars earned consecutive victories for the first time since mid-November. The teams traded goals throughout the evening and combined for five tallies in the first period. Thomas Carey scored less than seven minutes into the game for Lincoln and John Baiocco responded a little more than a minute later for Fargo. Tristan Rostagno netted a goal midway through the period for Lincoln before Baiocco responded again just over a minute later. Newly-acquired Blake Christensen scored in the final moments of the period to give the Stars a 3-2 lead heading into the first intermission. J.M. Piotrowski scored the lone goal of the second period to tie the game again for the Force. Brandon Smith then netted a goal early in the third before Fargo again responded in short order as Christian Cakebread tallied one minute later. Humitz would close it out with his fourth goal of the season. Goaltender Jacob Nehama made 26 saves to record the win for Lincoln while Brendan Jensen had 43 stops in the loss.
Sioux City Musketeers 2 @ Green Bay Gamblers 5
A three-goal first period and two goals by Drew Best led the Gamblers to their third straight home win and 10th victory overall on home ice. Defenseman Jake Linhart struck early for Green Bay, scoring his first goal of the season just 1:35 into the contest. Sebastian Weberg then added his third goal over the last four games to make it a two-goal lead. Brandon Hawkins responded for Sioux City with his 16th of the season but Matt Weis scored with only three seconds remaining in the period to make it 3-1 after 20 minutes of play. Drew Best tallied on the power play a little under six minutes into the second before Waltteri Hopponen scored for the Musketeers. Best then closed it out with a goal early in the third. Jared Rutledge made 25 saves for his fourth straight victory and 16th win overall for the season.
Waterloo Black Hawks 8 @ Sioux Falls Stampede 3
Liam Pecararo recorded a hat trick as the Black Hawks scored a season high eight goals on the way to their eighth consecutive victory. Blake Winiecki remained hot as he scored two goals in the first period for Waterloo, giving him five goals over his last two games. Pecararo scored his first goal in the opening minute of the second while Zach Sandord tallied his 11th of the season late in the frame to make it 4-0. The third period saw the teams combine for seven goals. The Stampede started it off with the first three goals of the period as Tony Calderone netted his 10th of the season and C.J. Franklin scored shorthanded to extend his point streak to five games. Dennis Kravchenko then scored his third goal over the last four games to pull Sioux Falls within a goal, but Waterloo took over to assure the victory. Pecararo scored the next two goals to complete his first USHL hat trick before John Wiitala and Drew Melanson added late power play tallies. Cal Petersen made 23 saves to collect his seventh straight victory.
Omaha Lancers 5 @ Tri-City Storm 3
Gage Hough netted a pair of goals as the Lancers earned points for the eight straight time on the road (6-0-2). The game looked to be headed into the first intermission without any scoring but defenseman Connor Light netted a goal for Omaha with a minute remaining and Dan Labosky responded 29 seconds later for the Storm. Tyler Vesel then scored his 26th of the season just 38 seconds into the second period and Hough added his first of the night less than seven minutes later to make it a 3-1 lead. Joel L’Esperance scored his 19th of the season for Tri-City midway through the frame, but Matt Nelson countered only 22 seconds later to again make it a two-goal lead. Garrett Gamez pulled the Storm within a goal early in the third but Hough tallied his second of the night, and 16th of the season, to secure the 24th victory of the year for Omaha. Goaltender Hayden Hawkey made 37 saves to record his 10th win of the season. USHL leading scorer Jake Randolph added two assists, the first of which was the 100th point of his USHL career.
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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