A recap of Saturday night action in the USHL.
Team USA 4 @ Indiana Ice 1
Ed Minney stopped 34 shots to lead Team USA to their 20th win of the season and knock off the top team in the Eastern Conference. Less than seven minutes into the game, Anders Bjork gave Team USA’s Under-18 squad with his nine goal of the season in USHL play. The lead was extended to 3-0 after Sonny Milano and Alex Tuch scored five minutes apart early in the second period. Indiana finally got on the scoreboard early in the third when Tyler Andrew scored in the opening minute, but Jack Eichel closed out the Team USA victory with an empty net goal in the closing moments. Team USA earned the win despite being out-shot 35-17 in the contest.
Muskegon Lumberjacks 3 @ Chicago Steel 7
Robby Jackson recorded a hat trick and Fredrik Olofsson netted a pair of goals to lead the Steel to their fifth straight win. Jackson scored a goal in each period, the first of which came less than a minute after the opening faceoff. C.J. Smith then made it a 2-0 lead with a shorthanded goal. Muskegon battled back early in the second period as Cullen Hurley and Matt Iacopelli scored a little more than three minutes apart to tie the contest. Jackson would then score his second to regain the lead before completing his hat trick early in the third period. Danny Fetzer and Olofsson then scored 1:08 apart to blow the game open for Chicago. Christopher Dodero added a tally for Muskegon midway through the third, but it was far from enough as Olofsson netted his second of the period to close out the victory. Chris Nell made 41 saves to collect his 15th win of the season.
Waterloo Black Hawks 0 @ Omaha Lancers 5
Hayden Hawkey stopped all 30 shots he faced for his second shutout in as many nights to lead the Lancers to victory and move into first place in the Western Conference. Defenseman Tucker Poolman started things early for Omaha as he scored just over two minutes into the contest. Luca Frigo then made it 2-0 later in the period. Jake Randolph scored his 20th goal of the season five minutes into the second before Frigo added his second of the night later in the frame. Ryan Tait would close out the scoring with a goal late in the third as the Lancers claimed their 33rd win of the season, tying Waterloo for the USHL lead.
Lincoln Stars 5 @ Tri-City Storm 4
Dominick Sacco scored a pair of goals to lead the Stars to their third straight road win. Sacco netted his first less than six minutes into the contest, but Chase Berger would respond to tie it for the Storm. Sacco scored again later in the period, and then the teams combined for three goals in a span of 1:38. Chris Wilkie scored for Tri-City before Brandon Smith and Max Humitz tallied for Lincoln. Berger netted his second of the night late in the second period to pull the Storm within a goal. Thomas Carey made it a two-goal advantage for Lincoln early in the third period, but Conner Valesano responded just 43 seconds later to cut that lead in half. It would be all the closer that the Storm would get however as Michael Bitzer made 11 of his 33 saves in the third period to earn the victory for the Stars.
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders 2 @ Dubuque Fighting Saints 5
Dylan Gambrell scored twice to lead the Saints to victory and help snap a five-game winless skid (0-3-2). Dubuque netted three goals in the first period, starting with Gambrell finding the net just over four minutes into the game. Brett Boeing and Shane Kavanagh then scored five minutes apart to make it 3-0. Defenseman Jordan Klimek extended the lead in the second period before Cedar Rapids finally got on the scoreboard with a Mark Auk goal. Gambrell netted his second of the night just 39 seconds into the third to put the game out of reach. Dylan Steman would add a goal for the Riders but the night belonged to Dubuque. Kevin Reich made 22 saves to record the victory for the Saints.
Fargo Force 3 @ Sioux Falls Stampede 5
The Stampede scored four goals in the second period on the way to earning their third straight victory on home ice. Zeb Knutson tallied late in the first to put Sioux Falls on the scoreboard. The teams then combined for six goals in a wild second period. Christian Horn and Keith Burchett started it off by scoring to give the Stampede a 3-0 lead. Tyler Hynes then scored to put Fargo on the board. Late in the period, three goals were scored in a span of 1:04 as a Louis Nanne tally was followed up by the first USHL goal for Andrew Zerban of Fargo just 15 seconds later. Ed McGovern then scored with only three seconds remaining in the period to give the Stampede their fifth goal of the night. Michael Babcock scored in the third for Fargo, but it wasn’t enough as Sioux Falls claimed the victory in front of a record crowd of 4,815.
Youngstown Phantoms 0 @ Green Bay Gamblers 3
Jared Rutledge stopped all 26 shots he faced to record his fifth USHL career shutout and help the Gamblers snap a three-game losing streak. Following a scoreless first period, Nick Schmaltz scored on the power play for his 30th USHL career goal. A little more than a minute later, Ryan Lough made it 2-0 on a shorthanded tally. Anthony Walsh closed it out with an empty net goal in the final moments. Rutledge made 14 of his saves in the second period alone to post his 21st win of the season and give the Gamblers a weekend split with Youngstown.
Sioux City Musketeers 6 @ Des Moines Buccaneers 5 (SO)
Sam Saliba converted in the sixth round of the shootout to lead the Musketeers to their 30th win of the season. Brandon Hawkins gave Sioux City the early lead when he netted his 23rd of the season just over four minutes into the game, but Des Moines responded with two quick goals as Alec Rauhauser and Oskar Norlov scored in a span of 1:44. Austin Adduono would tie the game later in the period as the teams finished the opening frame tied 2-2. They traded goals again in the second as Marcel Godbout netted his 10th of the season for Des Moines and Jared Thomas tallied his 13th for Sioux City later in the period. The Musketeers jumped out to a two-goal lead in the third as Jake Montgomery and Joel L’Esperance both found the back of the net. The Buccaneers wouldn’t give up though as Willem Nong-Lambert cut the lead in half, and then with their goaltender pulled for the extra attacker, Corey Schueneman forced overtime when he scored in the final minute of regulation. After no scoring in the overtime session, Thomas and Saliba converted their shootout attempts and Collin Olson stopped 5-of-6 Des Moines shooters to earn the seventh straight victory for Sioux City.
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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