A recap of Friday night action in the USHL.
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders 4 @ Youngstown Phantoms 3
The first goal of the season for defenseman Scott Moldenhauer was the game-winner as the Riders earned their third straight road victory. Kyle Connor started things for Youngstown with a goal less than six minutes into the contest. The teams then combined for five goals in a wild second period. Jason Kalinowski scored less than four minutes into the frame and then Andrew Poturalski tallied his 25th of the season to give the Riders a 2-1 lead. Connor netted his second of the night moments later to again tie the contest. The teams traded goals again late in the period as Frederik Tiffels scored for Cedar Rapids followed by a Trey Bradley goal for Youngstown only 47 seconds later. Moldenhauer had the only goal of the third period, but it would prove to be the winner for the Riders. Danny Tirone made 18 saves to collect his 25th win of the season.
Omaha Lancers 2 @ Muskegon Lumberjacks 3 (SO)
Matej Paulovic converted the deciding shootout tally as the Jacks won for the sixth time in their last seven home games. Trevor Morbeck gave Muskegon the lead midway through the opening period before USHL leading scorer Jake Randolph tied the contest late in the frame with his 24th goal of the season. Defenseman Joseph Cecconi netted his second of the season early in the second for the Jacks, but a shorthanded tally for Brian Williams again evened the game for the Lancers. Following a scoreless third period and overtime session, the teams went to a shootout. Jack Rowe and Paulovic both converted for the Jacks to give them a key win in a race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Eric Schierhorn made 27 saves and stopped 2-of-3 in the shootout to capture the win while Hayden Hawkey had 39 stops in the loss.
Des Moines Buccaneers 2 @ Waterloo Black Hawks 7
The Hawks scored seven goals for the third time in their last five games on the way to earning their 40th win of the season, setting a new team record. Zach Sanford wasted little time in getting Waterloo on the board as he scored just 28 seconds after the opening faceoff, and then defenseman Hayden Shaw scored a little more than four minutes later to make it 2-0. The Hawks took advantage of special teams in the second frame as they scored four straight power play goals. Patrick Russell started the run with his team-leading 27th of the season before defenseman Brandon Montour tallied his 13th of the year. Tyler Sheehy then tallied his 20th USHL career goal and defenseman Mark Friedman scored five minutes. Connor Schmidt would add a power play tally for Des Moines to stop the Waterloo run. The teams then traded goals in the third as Marcel Godbout scored early in the frame for the Bucs and Jake Horton closed out the victory for Waterloo. Cam Johnson made 22 saves to post his 25th USHL career win.
Sioux City Musketeers 2 @ Sioux Falls Stampede 1
Joel L’Esperance tallied the game-winner midway through the third period to give the Musketeers their third straight victory. Following a scoreless opening period, Christian Horn tallied his 22nd goal of the season to get the Stampede on the scoreboard first. Kyle Schmidt then responded for the Musketeers six minutes later with his 20th USHL career goal. L’Esperance then broke the tie in the third period to lead his team to the win and spoiling the night for the Stampede as they had a record-setting crowd of 4,827 at the Sioux Falls Arena. Kyle Hayton made 41 saves to post his 24th win of the season and third victory over his last four appearances.
Tri-City Storm 4 @ Fargo Force 1
Chase Berger netted a pair of goals as the Storm collected their 20th victory of the season. Jake Wahlin started the scoring late in the first with his second goal in as many games for Tri-City. Ryan McMurphy then made it a 2-0 lead just over three minutes into the second, but Mikey Eyssimont responded just 36 seconds later for Fargo to cut the lead in half. Berger would then take over scoring two goals in a span of 3:12 to put the game out of reach and give the Storm a victory in the first contest of a four-game road stretch. Hayden Lavigne made 38 saves to record the win, including stopping all 18 shots he faced in the third period.
Lincoln Stars 3 @ Green Bay Gamblers 4
Nick Schmaltz scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner, to help the Gamblers snap a three-game losing streak on home ice and earn a key victory in a race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Green Bay came out firing in the first period as they scored three goals and out-shot the Stars 15-4. Even Tironese started the scoring just 1:27 into the contest before Dawson Cook tallied his 15th of the year midway through the frame. Schmaltz then scored late in the period to complete the three-goal run. Lincoln came charging back in the second period as Zach Frye and John Simonson scored just nine seconds apart to bring the Stars within a goal. Schmaltz would respond less than a minute later with his second of the night to extend the lead back to two goals. It was the 35th goal of his USHL career. Simonson would add his second of night late in the third, his 26th goal of the season, but Green Bay would hang on for the victory. Jared Rutledge made 16 saves to record the win.
Team USA 5 @ Chicago Steel 6 (SO)
Mason Bergh scored two goals and the Steel scored twice in the shootout to snap a five-game losing streak. Bergh tallied less than eight minutes into the contest before Nick Boka responded a minute later for Team USA’s Under-17 squad. Robby Jackson scored his 26th of the season for Chicago just 24 seconds into the middle period, but Team USA would respond again in short order as Jeremy Bracco netted his third goal over his last five games. USA took the lead on a Ryan Wagner goal, but this time the Steel would have the quick response as defenseman Alec Vanko tied the game 1:30 later. Jordan Greenway netted his 10th USHL goal of the season early in the third before the Steel got a goal from Jake Bunz and the second of the night for Bergh to regain the lead. Team USA pulled the goaltender in favor of the extra attacker late in the contest and Luke Kirwan scored with only 54 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime. After a scoreless extra session, Jackson and Artemov converted in the shootout and goaltender Cale Morris stopped both Team USA attempts to earn the win and help keep Chicago in the race for a playoff spot.
Indiana Ice 5 @ Dubuque Fighting Saints 4
Sam Kurker scored twice, including the game-winner, as the Ice collected their 40th victory of the season. Defenseman Blake Hillman scored less than four minutes into the contest for Dubuque, but Kurker and Joe Sullivan would score15 seconds apart to give the Ice the lead heading into the first intermission. Max McHugh tied the game just 49 seconds into the second frame on his fifth goal over the last five games for Dubuque, but Dwyer Tschantz would respond with his fourth goal over the last five games for Indiana. Jacob Benson would score 44 seconds into the final period to tie the game again for Dubuque, but Indiana would take the lead for good when defenseman Matt Roy scored and Kurker tallied his second of the night less than four minutes later. Dubuque would make it interesting when they pulled the goalie for the extra attacker and Alexx Privitera scored to pull them within a goal, but the Ice would hold off a late charge to earn the win. Goaltender Hayden Stewart made 27 saves against his former team to push his winning streak to 13 straight for the Ice.
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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