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USHL Weekly: Week 3

10/12/2016, 9:45am CDT
By Kevin Meyers, USHL

USHL alumni news, team recaps and weekend previews.

 

NHL Alumni News

 

USHL alumni and first round NHL Draft picks Kyle Connor (Youngstown Phantoms), Zach Werenski (Team USA) and Nick Schmaltz (Green Bay Gamblers) made the Winnipeg Jets, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Chicago Blackhawks opening night rosters according to their respective teams…  Johnny Gaudreau (Dubuque Fighting Saints) signed a six-year, $40.5 million contract on Monday… Gaudreau was 2011 USHL Rookie of the Year, was named to the 1st USHL All-Rookie Team and All-USHL Second Team, led USHL rookies with 36 goals and 72 points, and scored 11 points in 11 playoff games en route to the Dubuque Fighting Saints winning the 2011 Clark Cup.

 

 

NCAA Alumni News

 

 2016 USHL Player and Forward of the Year Rem Pitlick (Muskegon Lumberjacks) scored his first collegiate goal for Minnesota in a 6-0 win over Alaska-Anchorage on Friday… goalies Hayden Lavigne (Bloomington Thunder), Ryan Larkin (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Ben Blacker (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Joseph Woll (Team USA) and Jake Oettinger (Team USA) all made impressive NCAA debuts in net, all five earned victories on the weekend… Lavigne stopped all 31 shots he faced for a shutout in his debut for the University of Michigan… Brock Boeser (Waterloo Black Hawks) scored six points (1 G, 5 A) for North Dakota on opening weekend… 2015 USHL Defenseman of the Year Neal Pionk (Sioux City Musketeers) has three goals and six points early in the season on for Minnesota Duluth… Anders Bjork (Team USA) has four goals and seven points in two games for the University of Notre Dame.

 

 

NCAA Award Winners

 

Brock Boeser (Waterloo Black Hawks), Neal Pionk (Sioux City Musketeers) and Nick Deery (Lincoln Stars) swept NCHC weekly honors…  Tyler Sheehy (Youngstown Phantoms), Hayden Lavigne (Bloomington Thunder) and Corbin McGuire (Fargo Force) swept the Big Ten weekly awards… Anders Bjork (Team USA) and Mitchell Fossier (Sioux City Musketeers) were named Hockey East award winners… Robbie Payne (Tri-City Storm) was the lone weekly award recipient in the WCHA…  T.J. Moore (Chicago Steel) and Shane Starrett (Lincoln Stars) took home Atlantic Hockey weekly honors…

 

 

Bloomington Thunder

 

Last’s Week Record: 0-1-0-0

Overall Record: 1-2-1-0 (3 PTS, 8th in East)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 10/14 vs. Chicago, Saturday, 10/15 at Green Bay

 

The Thunder dropped their only game of the weekend to the still unbeaten Chicago Steel. But there are plenty of positive things to focus on in Bloomington. Despite the loss on Friday, team captain Tarek Baker scored for the first time this season. Rookie forward Cameron Burke has been a big bright spot, as he has scored four points (1 G, 3 A) in the first four games of the season. The Notre Dame commit had a three-game point streak up until Saturday and is one of four USHL rookies leading their respective team in scoring. Additionally, affiliate list player Brandon Bussi announced his commitment to St. Lawrence University on Monday. Bloomington will look for revenge on Friday night in their third game of the season against Chicago before traveling to Green Bay on Saturday.

 

 

Cedar Rapids RoughRiders

 

Last Week’s Record: 0-2-0-0

Overall Record: 0-4-1-0 (1 PT, 9th in East)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 10/14 at Tri-City, Saturday, 10/15 at Des Moines

 

It was a solid weekend for both current and former Cedar Rapids goaltenders. Despite a loss on Saturday night, rookie netminder Drew DeRidder played well in his USHL debut, making 23 saves against the Muskegon Lumberjacks. A pair of former RoughRiders have also gotten off to good starts at the college level. Ben Blacker is a perfect 2-0-0-0 to start the season with the Western Michigan Broncos, while Blacker’s teammate and fellow freshman Ryan Larkin picked up his first NCAA victory for Miami University in a win over Providence College. The RoughRiders will look for their first victory of the season this weekend on the road with games against Tri-City and Des Moines.

 

 

Chicago Steel

 

Last Week’s Record: 1-0-0-0

Overall Record: 4-0-0-0 (8 PTS, T-1st in East)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 10/14 at Bloomington, Saturday, 10/15 vs. Madison

 

The Steel continue to roll, winning their only game of the weekend 3-1 over the Bloomington Thunder on Saturday to remain the only unbeaten team in the USHL. Chicago has been dominant through the first four games of the season, outscoring their opponents 15-5 in those contests. One of the big reasons for that remarkable goal differential is goaltender Tommy Nappier. The Ohio State commit has been spectacular early on, compiling a 3-0-0-0 record, a 1.60 GAA and a .943 SV%. The GAA mark is fourth and his SV% is fifth among goaltenders who have played more than 60 total minutes this year. The team defense has been a steel trap as well with Chicago only allowing 1.33 goals/game, best in the league. It was a noteworthy weekend off the ice for the Steel as well. Head coach Dan Muse ran in last Sunday’s Chicago Marathon to raise money for Salute, Inc., a local non-profit that works to assist military and veterans, finishing in an impressive 3:25:36. The Steel will look to keep their perfect record alive with a pair of games this weekend. They will head to Bloomington on Friday before returning home and hosting Madison on Saturday.

 

 

Des Moines Buccaneers

 

Last Week’s Record: 2-0-0-0

Overall Record: 4-0-0-1 (9 PTS, 1st in West)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 10/14 at Lincoln, Saturday, 10/15 vs. Cedar Rapids

 

The Buccaneers are the only Western Conference team to have not yet lost in regulation this season. They continued that streak with a pair of road wins at Team USA in Plymouth, MI over the weekend. Des Moines now has a +12 goal differential, the highest mark in the USHL. Michigan State commit David Keefer was great in those two games, tallying five points (3G, 2A) in the two victories. Goaltending, specifically Jan Ruzicka, has been a big reason why Des Moines is off to such a great start. The Czech netminder was named CCM USHL Goaltender of the Week after stopping all 28 shots he faced in the win on Saturday night, the first shutout of his USHL career. Ruzicka currently sports a 1.70 GAA and a .937 SV%, both of which are in the top 10 among USHL netminders. In addition, Kobe Roth has played great hockey early in the season. The Minnesota Duluth commit has scored in all five Buccaneers games so far this year, giving him the longest active point streak in the USHL. Dave Allison’s club will look to continue their winning ways with games at Lincoln on Friday and at Buccaneer Arena against Cedar Rapids on Saturday.

 

 

Dubuque Fighting Saints

 

Last Week’s Record: 0-2-0-0

Overall Record: 2-3-0-0 (4 PTS, T-6th in East)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 10/14 at Sioux Falls, Saturday, 10/15 at Sioux City

 

Despite a sweep at the hands of the Fargo Force, there are plenty of positives for the Dubuque Fighting Saints. They still sit just two points from a top-three spot in the Eastern Conference, and only four points from the top seed in the Eastern Conference. There is plenty of time for the Fighting Saints, who have a long tradition of success, to find their way toward the top of the conference. Rookie forward Regen Cavanagh has been a nice find offensively early in the season. The uncommitted Virginia native has four points in his team’s first five games. It has also been a good week for former Fighting Saints as former Clark Cup champion Johnny Gaudreau recently signed a six-year contract with the Calgary Flames. In his one season in Dubuque, Gaudreau had 36 goals and 72 points, outranking the next best rookie by 15 goals and 23 points. As for the current Dubuque roster, they will look to move back over .500 with road games against Western Conference opponents. The Fighting Saints will travel to Sioux Falls on Friday before heading to Sioux City on Saturday.

 

 

Fargo Force

 

Last Week’s Record: 2-0-0-0

Overall Record: 3-2-0-0 (6 PTS, T-3rd in West)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 10/14 and Saturday, 10/15 vs. Omaha

 

Fargo vaulted past the .500 mark over the weekend with a pair of 4-2 wins over the Dubuque Fighting Saints and now find themselves in the top half of the Western Conference. Special teams have been a big part of the Force’s success early in the year. Cady Eades’ club is a perfect 21/21 on the penalty kill and 26.1% on the man advantage, good for third in the USHL. The Force have also received big contributions from rookies and veterans alike. Jack Adams and Blake Lizotte are tied for the team lead with seven points each. Veteran Hank Crone was great over the weekend as he had three points (2 G, 1 A) in the win on Saturday. The Boston University commit now has 11 career multi-point games in his USHL career. Defenseman Clayton Phillips leads all rookie defensemen in scoring with four points (2 G, 2 A). His team will look to move their winning streak to three and potentially four with a pair of games at home against Omaha over the weekend.

 

 

Green Bay Gamblers

 

Last Week’s Record: 2-0-0-0

Overall Record: 3-2-0-0 (6 PTS, T-3rd in East)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 10/14 at Madison, Saturday, 10/15 vs. Bloomington

 

Green Bay had a difficult test last week and passed with flying colors. They traveled to Kearney, NE for a pair of games with the Tri-City Storm and swept the defending Clark Cup champions to move just two points out of the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The big story of the weekend was forward Casey Mittelstadt. In five games this season, Mittelstadt has seven points (3 G, 4 A). He is one of the four rookies to lead their respective teams in scoring and leads all rookies with those seven points, including two assists in the win on Saturday. Third generation USHL-er Brock Caufield scored his first goal of the year over the weekend. The Gamblers also have the top power play in the league at 44.4% (8/18). Green Bay will look to build on last weekend’s success with games against Madison and Bloomington this upcoming weekend.

 

 

Lincoln Stars

 

Last Week’s Record: 1-2-0-0

Overall Record: 3-3-0-0 (6 PTS, T-3rd in West)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 10/14 vs. Des Moines, Saturday, 10/15 at Tri-City

 

Sandwiched between two Lincoln losses was an impressive 1-0 shutout of the Sioux City Musketeers on Saturday at the Ice Box. Wisconsin commit Dominick Mersch picked up the game-winning goal for the Stars. It was his second goal of the season, both of which ended up being game-winners for the Stars. NHL Central Scouting Preliminary Player to Watch Eero Teravainen tallied his first career USHL point as well over the weekend. In goal, it was Josef Korenar who moved his record to 2-0-0-0 with a 27 save shutout of the Musketeers. Lincoln kept their record at .500 and is right in the thick of things in the Western Conference early on. The Stars will try to move above .500 this weekend with games at home against Des Moines and at Tri-City.

 

 

Madison Capitols

 

Last Week’s Record: 1-1-0-0

Overall Record: 2-2-0-0 (4 PTS, T-6th in East)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 10/14 vs. Green Bay, Saturday, 10/15 at Chicago

 

Madison dropped Friday night’s game to the Youngstown Phantoms before responding with a big 3-2 win to split the weekend set and even their record to 2-2-0-0. Rookies have been the predominant storyline with the Capitols. First-year forward Kamil Sadlocha is one of the four USHL rookies leading their team in scoring. The Ohio State commit has a goal and three assists in four games, including two points (1 G, 1 A) in the Saturday win at Youngstown. In goal, it’s been Daniel Lebedeff leading the way. In his three games played, the University of Wisconsin commit has posted a stellar 1.70 GAA and .937 SV%. Both of those marks lead all rookie goaltenders and have him in the top-10 among all USHL netminders. Madison will look to get over the .500 mark this weekend with a game at home against Green Bay before traveling to visit currently unbeaten Chicago.

 

 

Muskegon Lumberjacks

 

Last Week’s Record: 2-0-0-0

Overall Record: 4-1-0-0 (8 PTS, T-1st in East)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 10/14 and Saturday, 10/15 vs. Youngstown

 

If the Chicago Steel are considered the hottest team in the league, the Muskegon Lumberjacks might have an argument to claim second. They have won their last four games by a combined score of 18-7, including a 5-2, 4-1 sweep of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders over the weekend. Leading the way is veteran forward and CCM USHL Forward of the Week Collin Adams. The New York Islanders prospect has eight points (4 G, 4 A) in five games, tied for the most in the league. He is averaging more than a point per game. Defenseman Zach Berzolla has also been solid for the Lumberjacks. He has five points (3 G, 2 A) in five games, a +9 rating, a shorthanded goal and a game-winning goal. He has been a rock on the back end for first year head coach John Lafontaine.  Top 2017 NHL Draft prospect Andrei Svechnikov tallied his first career USHL goal over the weekend as well and has four points in five games. Muskegon looks to stay scorching hot with a pair of weekend games in Youngstown against the Phantoms.

 

 

Omaha Lancers

 

Last Week’s Record: 2-2-0-0

Overall Record: 2-4-0-0 (4 PTS, 8th in West)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 10/14 and Saturday, 10/15 at Fargo

 

It was a great rebound weekend for the Lancers, who knocked off Sioux Falls 6-3 on Friday before edging Tri-City 3-2 on Sunday for their first two victories of the season. 14 different players on the roster were credited with a point in the win over the Stampede. Tender Emilio Pettersen scored his first USHL goal on Friday and followed that up with a goal in the win on Sunday. He now has four points in six games this season. Brannon McManus also scored in both games and now has a three-game goal scoring streak, tied for the longest active streak in the USHL. In six games, the University of Minnesota commit has five points (4 G, 1 A). Peter Thome, a Columbus Blue Jackets prospect and University of North Dakota commit, won both of the team’s games on the weekend. Omaha will try to keep the winning train rolling with a pair of games at Fargo over the weekend.

 

 

Sioux City Musketeers

 

Last Week’s Record: 1-1-0-0

Overall Record: 2-1-0-0 (4 PTS, T-3rd in West)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 10/14 vs. Waterloo, Saturday, 10/15 vs. Dubuque

 

The Musketeers responded with a 2-1 shootout win over rival Sioux Falls after starting the weekend with a tough 1-0 loss to the Lincoln Stars. Despite the split, Sioux City still sits near the top of the Western Conference. They have been getting contributions up and down the roster, including top 2017 NHL Draft prospect Eeli Tolvanen, who picked up the shootout winner on Saturday. The Boston College commit now has four points (3 G, 1 A) to tie for the team lead in scoring. Also tied for the team lead is defenseman Matt Hellickson, just one of two defensemen to do so. It’s been Mattias Kivlenieks leading the way between the pipes. The Minnesota State University, Mankato commit has a 3-1-0-0 record with a 1.21 GAA and a .957 SV%, both of which are fourth in the league. The Musketeers have two big home games this weekend against Waterloo on Friday, and Dubuque on Saturday.

 

 

Sioux Falls Stampede

 

Last Week’s Record: 0-1-0-1

Overall Record: 2-2-0-1 (5 PTS, T-6th in West)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 10/14 vs. Dubuque, Saturday, 10/15 vs. Waterloo

 

The Stampede picked up a single point on the weekend, falling 6-3 to the Omaha Lancers at Ralston Arena on Friday night and dropping a tough 2-1 contest to rival Sioux City in a shootout on Saturday. Austin Albrecht had a two-point night, giving him eight points (4G, 4A) on the season. Those eight points have Albrecht tied atop the USHL leaderboard with Muskegon’s Collin Adams. Sioux Falls has also been getting some stellar performances in goal. Rookie Jeremy Swayman stopped 47 saves in the loss on Friday. He now has the top-two individual performances between the pipes in the USHL this season. In addition to the 47 saves against the Lancers, he also stopped 48 shots on September 24th in the Stampede’s opening night shootout win over the defending Clark Cup champion Tri-City Storm. The Stampede will look to right the ship this weekend with home games against Dubuque and Waterloo.

 

 

Team USA

 

Last Week’s Record: 0-2-0-0

Overall Record: 2-4-1-0 (5 PTS, 5th in East)

Upcoming Games: No games this weekend

 

Team USA dropped both of their games to Des Moines and will not play a USHL game again until next weekend. They feature the fourth USHL rookie to lead their team in scoring with Joel Farabee. The Boston University commit has five points (2 G, 3 A) in five games. It was a notable weekend for NTDP goaltenders as both Jake Oettinger and Joseph Woll made their collegiate debuts. Oettinger, now playing for Boston University, picked up the victory in his debut by making 29 saves. Woll, a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect, made his first two starts for Boston College and finished with a 1-1-0 record and a .955 SV%.

 

 

Tri-City Storm

 

Last Week’s Record: 0-3-0-0

Overall Record: 2-4-0-1 (5 PTS, T-6th in West)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 10/14 vs. Cedar Rapids, Saturday, 10/15 vs. Lincoln

 

Despite losing three games last weekend, the Storm have a great chance to pick up points with a pair of home games over the weekend. Playing at home certainly seems to suit first-year forward Charlie Kelleher. The New Hampshire commit is currently tied for second on the Storm with five points (2 G, 3 A) and currently sports a four-game point streak at the Viaero Center. Last season’s Clark Cup MVP Wade Allison made his collegiate debut with Western Michigan and scored his first goal last weekend against the Ferris State Bulldogs. Allison was selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round of the 2016 NHL Draft.

 

 

Waterloo Black Hawks

 

Last Week’s Record: 2-0-0-0

Overall Record: 4-1-0-0 (8 PTS, 2nd in West)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 10/14 at Sioux City, Saturday, 10/15 at Sioux Falls

 

The Black Hawks are another team vying for the top spot in the league. With a pair of victories over Lincoln last weekend, Waterloo now sports a four-game winning streak, tied for the longest in the league early on. Speaking of streaks, Kevin Charyszyn has one of his own. He has four goals and an assist through the first five games and currently sports a three-game goal streak, tied for longest in the league. In addition, University of Minnesota Duluth commit Mikey Anderson took home USHL Defenseman of the Week after putting up four points over the weekend in the two wins over the Stars. Anderson is averaging a point per game with five points in five games. He is also one of two defenseman to lead their team in scoring. It’s been the Robbie Beydoun show between the pipes. He currently sports a 3-0-0-0 record, a 0.67 GAA and a .975 SV%, all in the top three in the league. In alumni news, Brock Boeser had a goal and five assists for North Dakota on opening weekend, while former forward Tyler Sheehy won Big Ten First Star honors. Waterloo will look to continue their winning streak on the road this weekend against Western Conference rivals Sioux City and Sioux Falls.

 

 

Youngstown Phantoms

 

Last Week’s Record: 1-1-0-0

Overall Record: 3-2-0-0 (6 PTS, T-3rd in East)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 10/14 and Saturday, 10/15 at Muskegon

 

The Phantoms are one of the 11 teams in the league over .500 after Week 3 thanks to a split with the Madison Capitols over the weekend. In the win on Friday night, Ivan Kulbakov improved his record to 2-0-0-0 and recorded the first shutout of his USHL career. Austin Pooley has been red hot this season as well. He extended his goal-scoring streak to four with a tally on Friday before it was snapped in the loss on Saturday. The Ohio State commit has six points (5 G, 1 A) to tie for the team lead. The Phantoms also have a goal differential of +10, tied for the highest in the Eastern Conference. Youngstown will look to stay over .500 with a road series at Muskegon on Friday and Saturday.

 

 

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.

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Tag(s): Recaps