Photo by Hickling Images
Muskegon Lumberjacks – 2 vs. Team USA (U17) – 7
Five Team USA players picked up multiple points in their 7-2 season opening win over the Muskegon Lumberjacks in Plymouth. Team USA picked up goals from Spencer Stastney, Oliver Wahlstrom, Patrick Giles, Jake Pivonka, Bode Wilde and two from Joel Farabee, who also added an assist. Giles, Stastney, Jack DeBoer and Jake Wise all tallied a pair of points each. Matt Steeves and former Team USA forward Keenan Suthers scored for the Lumberjacks. Keegan Karki earned the win for Team USA between the pipes by stopping 29 of 31 shots in the victory.
Madison Capitols – 2 vs. Green Bay Gamblers – 3
Game on of the Cheese Cup rivalry began at the Resch Center last night, as the Green Bay Gamblers edged the Madison Capitols 3-2. The Gamblers picked up the first two goals of the game. After a scoreless opening frame that saw the Gamblers outshoot the Capitols 14-10, Casey Mittelstadt and John Leonard both scored in the 2nd period to stake the Gamblers to a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes of play. Madison came charging back in the third period, getting goals from Marcel Godbout and Mick Messner 1:15 apart to even the score 2:29 into the final frame. Jason Dhooghe responded for the Gamblers about 10 minutes later to give his team a 3-2 lead with just under eight minutes to play in regulation, a goal that ended up being the game-winner. Special teams were a big key in the game as Green Bay scored two power play goals while killing off all three Madison opportunities on the man advantage. Maxim Zhukov made 25 goals on 27 Capitols shots to get his first career USHL win in net for the Gamblers.
Fargo Force – 7 vs. Omaha Lancers – 4
In a high-scoring affair at Ralston Arena, the Fargo Force defeated the Omaha Lancers 7-4. Both teams picked up a pair of goals in the first period. The Lancers jumped out to a 2-0 lead six minutes into the game. Austin Alger opened the scoring at 4:55 with a between the legs tally that would make its way onto SportsCenter Top 10 later that night. Jack Adams cut the lead in half on the man advantage at 13:08, and the Force made it a 2-2 game on another power play goal, this time from Clayton Phillips, with just 10 seconds left in the period. Fargo then scored twice in the middle frame. Blake Lizotte gave the Force the lead at 4:23, and Brian Hurley tallied the Force’s third power play goal of the game to make it a 4-2 game with just over six minutes to play in the period. There were five goals combined in the third period – three by Fargo and two by Omaha – to give the Force a 7-4 win. Michael Graham scored twice in the third period, and Alger, Crawford and Adams all tallied their second goals of the game in the final frame. Matthew Murray earned Fargo’s first win of the year between the pipes by turning away 26 of 30 Lancers shots.
Tri-City Storm - 3 vs. Lincoln Stars – 1
In a battle featuring two Western Conference playoff teams from last season, the defending Clark Cup champions opened their season at the Ice Box and took on the Lincoln Stars, defeating them 3-1. Linus Weissbach gave the Storm a 1-0 lead with just under five minutes remaining in the first period. Tri-City then added a pair of goals in the middle frame from Monte Graham and Joseph Cipollone. Despite a shorthanded third period tally from Chayse Primeau, the Storm were able to hang on to earn the 3-1 victory. Tri-City goaltender Dayton Rasmussen picked up his first victory of the season by stopping 26 of 27 Stars shots.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 15th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2016-17. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in four consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.