Photso by (left to right) Hickling Images, Corbey Dorsey and Hickling Images
The United States Hockey League announced the CCM Forward, Defenseman and Goaltender of the Week for Week 4 of the 2016-17 season. Minnesota Wild prospect Ales Stezka earned his second weekly honor after recording his second shutout this season, while Youngstown forward Alex Esposito and Tri-City defenseman Philip Alftberg each earned their first career weekly honors. CCM Hockey is the official equipment provider of the USHL.
Forward: Alex Esposito – Youngstown Phantoms
2 GP: 4 goals, 2 assists, +4 rating
Esposito extended his league best point streak to six games over the weekend with a two-point night Friday, and a hat trick Saturday. The second year Phantoms forward has 12 points in seven games, second best in the USHL. His seven goals leads all USHL players. Saturday’s hat trick and assist was the third consecutive multi-point game, and fourth this season. The West Haven, CT native previously played for The Loomis Chaffee School (USHS) prior to joining the Phantoms last season. The University of Vermont commit scored 25 points and 11 goals in 58 games last season with Youngstown. Esposito was originally drafted by the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the 2015 USHL Phase II Draft in the 4th round, 57th overall.
Defenseman: Philip Alftberg – Tri-City Storm
2 GP: 2 goals, 2 assists, +1 rating
Alftberg dished out two assists Friday night and followed up the performance with a pair of goals Saturday, giving the defenseman three multi-point games on the year. Alftberg leads all USHL defensemen in scoring with seven points, and is tied for second in goals scored after this weekend. He has been on the ice for 15 of the Storm’s 28 goals this season. Tri-City is 3-1-0-0 when Alftberg is credited with a point this season. The defenseman previously played for Brynäs J20 (SuperElit) and Sweden U18 national team. The Tri-City Storm selected Alftberg in the 2016 USHL Phase II Draft in the 9th round, 146th overall.
Goaltender: Ales Stezka – Chicago Steel
1-0-0-0, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 SV%
Stezka recorded his second shutout this season, maintaining his 0.00 GAA and 1.000 SV% on the year. The Chicago Steel netminder is one of two goaltenders in the USHL with two shutouts, and is a perfect 2-0-0-0 on the season. The 35-save performance was the second most in his USHL career, and his third career shutout. The Chicago Steel remained undefeated on the year thanks to the shutout, and have allowed only six goals in six games this season. Stezka previously played for the Czech National U16-U20 teams and Bili Tygri Liberec (Czech U20) prior to being selected by the Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) in the 2015 USHL Phase II Draft. The Liberec, CZE native was selected in the 2015 NHL Draft in the 4th round, 111th overall by the Minnesota Wild.
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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