A recap of Friday night action in the USHL.
Chicago Steel 4 @ Sioux City Musketeers 3
A third-period goal by Robby Jackson proved to be the game-winner as the Steel swept the two-game season series with the Musketeers. Jared Thomas got Sioux City on the board just over seven minutes into the contest, but Chicago would respond with three goals in the second period. Defenseman Victor Bjorkung and forward Brian LeBlanc scored to give the Steel a 2-1 lead, but Brandon Hawkins tied it a minute after LeBlanc’s goal. A little more than a minute after that, John Schilling gave the Steel the lead again on his fourth tally of the season. Jackson netted his 12th of the year less than a minute into the third, putting Chicago up by two. Waltteri Hopponen pulled the Musketeers within one after scoring his sixth goal over his last six games, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Steel held on for their 18th win of the season. Cale Morris made 34 saves to pick up his fifth straight victory for Chicago.
Green Bay Gamblers 3 @ Lincoln Stars 2
Dawson Cook scored with less than three minutes to play to lead the Gamblers to their third win over their last four contests. Magnus Hoff started the scoring midway through the first period when he netted his fifth of the season for the Stars. Matt Weis evened the game just over seven minutes into the second with his 12th of the year. Evan Tironese put Green Bay up early in the third period, but John Simonson responded a mere 30 seconds later to again tie the contest. Taking advantage of a late power play opportunity, Cook buried his eighth of the season with just 2:42 remaining in regulation. Cam Hackett earned his first USHL victory as he backstopped the Gamblers with 35 saves.
Muskegon Lumberjacks 1 @ Waterloo Black Hawks 5
Peter Krieger netted a pair as the Black Hawks continued their impressive winning streak by earning their 14th consecutive victory. Muskegon jumped out early as Matt Iacopelli netted a goal just 5:31 after the opening faceoff. It was his fifth goal over the last four games and tied him for the League lead with 28 goals for the season. Krieger responded five minutes later to tie the game for Hawks heading into the first intermission. It would be all Waterloo from there as Drew Melanson and and Tim Lappin scored just 48 seconds apart and Jake Horton added a shorthanded tally during a three-goal second period. Krieger netted his second of the night less than a minute into the third. Waterloo outshot Muskegon 52-23 for the contest. Cal Petersen made 22 saves to collect his USHL best 22nd win of the year. Eric Schierhorn had 47 saves in the loss. With the victory, the Black Hawks tied a USHL record with 20 consecutive games without losing in regulation (19-0-1).
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders 3 @ Sioux Falls Stampede 2
The first goal in a RoughRiders uniform for Andrew Gaus was the game-winner to lead his team to their third straight win and fifth over their last six contests. Jason Stephanik got Sioux Falls on the scoreboard 12 minutes into the first, extending his point streak to three games (1g, 2a). Mitch Maloney tied the contest late in the second period, but Tony Calderone responded just before the period expired to extend his goal streak to four games for the Stampede. Andrew Poturalski tied the game again with a power play tally in the third, and then Gaus netted the winner at the exact midway point on the final period. It was just the fourth game for Gaus with the Riders since being acquired via trade. Chris Birdsall made 31 saves to earn the 15th win of his USHL career.
Omaha Lancers 2 @ Fargo Force 5
Mathias Israelsson made 45 saves to lead the Force to victory and snap the team’s 17-game winless skid (0-15-2). Mason Morelli gave Fargo the lead late in the second, scoring a goal one day before his 18th birthday. The Force extended the lead in the second period Mikey Eyssimont and Andrew McDonald scored three minutes apart to make it 3-0. Luca Frigo would finally get Omaha on the scoreboard early in the third, but Jack Rowe responded to push the lead back up to three goals. Ryan Tait would tally his 10th USHL career goal for the Lancers, but it wouldn’t be enough as Rowe closed out the contest with an empty netter in the final moments. It was the first win in a Fargo uniform for Israelsson since being acquired a recent trade.
Des Moines Buccaneers 3 @ Tri-City Storm 5
Four goals in the third period led the Storm to their fourth consecutive win. Chris Wilkie struck first for the Storm as he scored in the final minute of the opening period, his fifth goal over the last five games. Jack Jenkins would then tie it for the Bucs early in the second. Des Moines took the lead just under seven minutes into the third frame on a goal by defenseman Garret Cockerill. The Storm would then come alive as Austin Poganski scored on the power play, followed by a penalty shot goal by Dan Labosky. Tory Dello and Chase Berger would add empty netters just 30 seconds apart for Tri-City to put the game out of reach. Cockerill would net his second of the night in the closing moments, but the win belonged to the Storm. Hayden Lavigne earned his third consecutive victory after making 23 saves while Ryan Ruck had 33 saves in the loss.
Youngstown Phantoms 3 @ Dubuque Fighting Saints 7
Five goals in the second period propelled the Saints to their eighth consecutive victory and gave them 25 victories overall, most in the Eastern Conference. Karson Kuhlman got things going for Dubuque late in the first period with his 15th goal of the season. Dylan Gambrell netted his 15th career goal and Seamus Malone added his fifth over the last six games early in the second. Defenseman Lukas Klok interrupted the Dubuque run with his first USHL goal for the Phantoms midway through the period, but Shane Kavanagh, Eric Robinson, and Jarrid Privitera each scored to complete the five-goal period for the Saints. Kyle Connor scored early in the third for Youngstown, his 17th goal of the season which extended his point streak to eight games. Max McHugh responded shortly after with his third goal over the last four games for Dubuque. Tyler Spezia added a late tally for the Phantoms but the night belonged to the Saints. Kevin Reich made 14 saves to improve to 4-0-0 since joining Dubuque.
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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