A recap of Friday night action in the USHL.
Chicago Steel 9 @ Team USA 8 (SO)
Mason Bergh and John Schilling each netted two goals as the Steel scored a season high eight goals in regulation and won a thrilling shootout contest for their 20th victory of the season. Robby Jackson started the scoring in the first for Chicago with his 15th of the season before Luke Kunin answered for Team USA’s Under-17 squad. Danny Fetzer tallied his 15th USHL career goal in the final seconds of the period to give Chicago a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission. Noah Hanifin tied it early in the second, but Chicago went on a run, including consecutive goals by Schilling and the first of the night for Bergh. Team USA responded late in the period as Kunin tallied his second of the game and defenseman Grant Gabriele scored his first USHL goal to pull his team within a goal. Colin White tied it for Team USA early in the third period but Chicago regained the lead just 47 seconds later on a Brian LeBlanc goal. Team USA caught fire with three consecutive goals in a span of less than three minutes as Christian Fischer, Charles McAvoy, and Christian Evers all scored to give their club an 8-6 advantage. Chicago would go away though as Robbie Payne scored late in the game and Bergh tied it just 22 seconds later to force overtime. After the scoreless extra session, the game went to a shootout with Chicago scoring on three of their four attempts. Frederik Olofsson would get the deciding tally to complete the wild victory for the Steel.
Tri-City Storm 1 @ Indiana Ice 4
Hayden Stewart made 20 saves to lead the Ice to their fourth straight win. The Ice took control of the contest midway through the first period as Jason Salvaggio scored his 13th of the season before Dwyer Tschantz netted his 14th of the year just 36 seconds later. Brian Pinho made it a 3-0 lead early in the second with his 13th goal of the season for the Ice. Tri-City would finally get on the scoreboard midway through the third period as Kevin Kerr scored his first USHL career goal, but Aidan Muir would add an empty netter in the closing moments to seal the Ice win. Stewart improved to 6-0-0 since being acquired by the Ice and has not allowed more than one goal in any of those victories.
Youngstown Phantoms 2 @ Muskegon Lumberjacks 5
The Lumberjacks jumped out with four goals in the first period on the way to picking up their 20th win of the season. Muskegon took advantage of special teams as they scored three times on the power play in the opening frame. Matt Iacopelli started the scoring midway through the period with his 30th goal of the season. Haralds Egle and Jack Rowe then scored just 1:18 apart and Scott Pooley added another power play goal to make it 4-0 headed into the first intermission. Following a scoreless second period, J.J. Piccinich got Youngstown on the scoreboard early in the third with his 23rd goal of the season. Muskegon would respond quickly as Mason Jobst scored a minute and a half later. Kiefer Sherwood added another tally for Youngstown but the night belonged to the Lumberjacks. Jordan Uhelski made 36 saves in goal for Muskegon to earn his third straight victory.
Fargo Force 0 @ Sioux City Musketeers 4
Kyle Hayton stopped all 19 shots he saw to record his second shutout of the season and earn his 20th victory of the year. Brandon Hawkins got Sioux City on the scoreboard midway through the first period with his fourth goal over the last four games, and Waltteri Hopponen netted a goal just 50 seconds later to make it 2-0. Defenseman Tyler Mueller extended the lead with a power play tally less than seven minutes into the second period. Jared Thomas would complete the scoring halfway through the third with his 30th USHL career goal. Hayton has now won each of his last three starts. Mathias Israelsson made 49 saves in the loss for Fargo.
Omaha Lancers 7 @ Lincoln Stars 5
Gage Hough recorded a hat trick as the Lancers scored seven goals for the third straight game and picked up their League-leading 15th road win of the season. Lincoln jumped out to an early lead as Christian Lampasso scored just 39 seconds after the opening faceoff and Jonathan Desbiens netted a goal just over two minutes into the game to make it 2-0. Dominick Sacco extended the lead midway through the period, but Hough would get Omaha on the scoreboard only moments later. The Lancers came alive in the second period as defenseman Tucker Poolman scored on the power play just eight minutes into the frame. Omaha would score twice in the final minute of the period as Hough added his second of the night and Jake Henderson tallied a goal with just one second remaining on the clock. Poolman then scored his second of the night in the opening minute of the third before Tyler Vesel extended his goal streak to four games for the Lancers. Tom Marchin stopped the Lancers momentum with his third of the season for the Stars, but Hough would complete his hat trick only 31 seconds later. Magnus Hoff tallied a late goal for Lincoln, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Lancers got the best of the rivalry matchup.
Des Moines Buccaneers 3 @ Sioux Falls Stampede 2 (SO)
Jake Jackson had the deciding shootout tally as the Buccaneers snapped a three-game winless skid on the road (0-2-1) and earned their 15th win of the season. Danny Elser got things going early for the Bucs and he scored less than five minutes into the game. Ryan Schwalbe tied it later in the period, but the Bucs regained the lead just 1:10 later on a goal by Oskar Norlov. There would be no scoring in the second, but the Stampede would tie the game early in the third as defenseman Nolan Gluchowski scored his first goal in a Sioux Falls uniform after being acquired in late January. Following a scoreless overtime session, the Bucs came out firing in the shootout as Patrick Grasso, Tanner Karty, and Jackson all converted their attempts to seal the win for Des Moines. Ryan Ruck made 38 saves and stopped two attempts in the shootout to earn his 11th victory of the season.
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders 3 @ Waterloo Black Hawks 2
Carlos Fornaris scored two goals to lead the RoughRiders to their fourth straight win on the road. Waterloo wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard as Liam Pecararo scored just 28 seconds after the opening faceoff. The goal would be reviewed via video by the officials, and for the second straight week the proper call was confirmed by the referee. Dylan McLaughlin would tie the game early in the second, his third goal over the last four games. Defenseman Alec McCrea scored late in the period, his second goal in as many games to give Waterloo the lead, but Fornaris tied it just over two minutes later. Fornaris then netted the game-winner with less than seven minutes remaining in the third period and Danny Tirone made 14 of his 38 saves in the final frame to give the Riders the victory. It was the fourth consecutive victory for Tirone.
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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