Photo by Hickling Images
MUSKEGON LUMBERJACKS  at TEAM USA (U17)  SO
Muskegon moved into a tie for second in the Eastern Conference standings with a 4-3 shootout win over Team USA. Jachym Kondelik's first goal of his USHL career put the Lumberjacks up 1-0 after 20 minutes. Tyler Weiss tallied a shorthanded marker early in the second to even the game, but Keenan Suthers responded two minutes later to put the visitors up 2-1. Team USA came right back with two goals later in the period from Erik Middendorf and Jake Goldowski to take a 3-2 lead heading into the third period. Casey Gilling's sixth goal of the season evened the score early in the frame, and the two teams headed to overtime. Following a scoreless extra frame, Mikael Hakkarainen scored the only goal in the shootout to give Muskegon the win. Keith Petruzzelli stopped 23 of the 26 shots he faced as well as all three Team USA attempts in the shootout.
CEDAR RAPIDS ROUGHRIDERS  at YOUNGSTOWN PHANTOMS 
The Phantoms moved into a tie for fourth in the East with a 4-2 victory over Cedar Rapids at Covelli Centre. After a scoreless opening period with only 13 combined shots between the two teams, goals Alex Esposito and Andrew Petrillo put Youngstown up 2-0 midway through the second. Matt Kidney scored 25 seconds after Petrillo to cut the lead in half, and Jake Johnson tied the game five minutes later. The Phantoms took the lead with just 13 seconds remaining in the frame thanks to Coale Norris. Chase Gresock added an insurance goal in the third period to seal the victory for Youngstown. Ivan Kulbakov made 15 saves on 17 shots for his 10th victory of the season. He is the fifth goalie to reach the double-digit mark in wins.
FARGO FORCE  at CHICAGO STEEL 
Chicago is now on a three-game winning streak thanks to a 5-2 home victory over Fargo. After a scoreless opening period, Johnny Walker and Mitch Lewandowski scored on the power play to put the Steel up 2-0 in the second. Martin Sundberg cut the lead to 2-1, but Chicago scored twice in 14 seconds late in the period courtesy of Lewandowski and Jack Badini to take a 4-1 lead into the final 20 minutes. Badini and Shane McMahan scored for their respective teams in the third. Badini now has 10 goals on the season and is the third Chicago player to reach double-digits in goals. Walker dished out a pair of assists, and Ales Stezka made 23 saves for his ninth victory of the season.
GREEN BAY GAMBLERS  at MADISON CAPITOLS 
Green Bay knocked off in-state rival Madison 4-3 and sit in a tie for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Nolan Moyle gave the Gamblers the lead early in the first before Eetu Selanne evened the score midway through the frame. The teams headed into the second period tied at one, and Noah Weber broke the tie with just over three minutes left in the frame. Green Bay responded quickly with a Dante Palecco tally less than two minutes later to make it a 2-2 game heading into the final 20 minutes. Jared Spooner and Josh Kosack gave Green Bay a 4-2 lead midway through the period, and despite a late Capitols goal from Alec Broetzman, the Gamblers hung on for the victory. Spooner and Connor Mackey registered two assists each, and Maksim Zhukov stopped 24 of the 27 Madison shots he faced for his eighth win of the year.
TRI-CITY STORM  at OMAHA LANCERS 
Omaha held a 2-0 lead after the first period thanks to a pair of goals from captain FIlip Rydstrom. Austin Alger picked up an assist on both of Rydstrom's tallies. Mitch Perrault's seventh of the season early in the second made it 3-0 before Adam Goodsir cut the lead to 3-1 with a power play goal. Erlends Klavins finished the scoring with his fourth of the season late in the second period. Pierce Crawford also picked up two helpers, and Tommy Nappier won his second consecutive start with a 25-save performance. The Lancers sit just three points out of the top-four in the Eastern Conference.
DES MOINES BUCCANEERS  at SIOUX FALLS STAMPEDE 
A pair of second period goals by the Jason O'Neill led the Stampede to a 2-0 shutout of the Des Moines Buccaneers at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center. The first period featured Des Moines outshooting Sioux Falls 11-5, but neither team was able to find the back of the net. O'Neill's first goal of the game came on the power play, as he finished a beautiful passing sequence from Alex Stevens and Austin Albrecht. He added his second of the game four minutes later, with assists to Albrecht and Paul DeNaples. Albrecht now has 18 assists on the season, second most in the USHL. Mikhail Berdin stopped all 32 shots he faced to move to 6-5-0-0 on the season. It was the Winnipeg Jets prospect's first shutout of his USHL career.
SIOUX CITY MUSKETEERS  at WATERLOO BLACK HAWKS  OT
A battle of the top two teams in the Western Conference did not disappoint, as the Waterloo Black Hawks edged the Sioux City Musketeers 3-2 in overtime at Young Arena. Hank Sorensen opened the scoring 12:10 into the game, but Kristian Pospisil tied it up for Sioux City just three minutes later. Shane Bowers scored the only goal of the middle frame, and Waterloo held a 2-1 lead going into the third period. The Musketeers tied it up again with just two minutes gone in the third, thanks to Cole Koepke, and the teams headed to overtime. With just under five minutes gone in the extra session, Kevin Charyszyn scored a beautiful coast-to-coast goal to give the Black Hawks the win. Ace Cowans dished out a pair of helpers for Waterloo, and Robbie Beydoun turned 27 of the 29 Musketeers shots he saw aside to move to 9-5-0-1 on the year. With the victory, Waterloo is five points behind Sioux City in the Western Conference standings.
DUBUQUE FIGHTING SAINTS  at LINCOLN STARS 
Lincoln is now alone in fourth place in the Western Conference courtesy of a 5-1 home victory over the Dubuque Fighting Saints, who came into the game winners of eight of their last nine contests. Both teams had 11 shots on goal in the first period, but neither side was able to find the back of the net. Dylan Woolf, who had three points (1G, 2A) in the game, broke the scoreless tie at 12:16 of the second, but Colin Theisen evened the score just five minutes later. Theisen is now on a three-game goal streak. The two teams headed to the third tied at one, but the Stars exploded for four goals in the final 20 minutes to earn the win. Christian Krygier who was tendered by the Stars for the 2016-17 season, scored the first of his USHL career to put Lincoln up 2-1. Krygier also added an assist. Lincoln then added three more in the final 1:57 of the game, thanks to Sam Sternschein and two from Dominick Mersch. Derek Schaedig stopped 27 of the 28 shots he faced for his first career USHL victory.
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.