Photo by Hickling Images
TEAM USA (U17)  at YOUNGSTOWN PHANTOMS 
Youngstown clinched the final Eastern Conference playoff spot by shutting out the U17s by a score of 3-0. Six minutes into the opening period, Alex Esposito scored a shorthanded goal to open the scoring and put the Phantoms up 1-0. It remained a 1-0 game until less than a minute remaining in the second, when Pierce Crawford found the back of the net for the 18th time this season to double Youngstown's lead to 2-0. Early in the final frame, Nicolas Werbik also scored his 18th goal of the year to extend the Phantoms advantage to 3-0 and complete the scoring. Werbik and Esposito each had assists, and Ivan Kulbakov stopped all 22 shots he faced for his 30th win and fifth shutout of the season. Youngstown will visit Chicago for games 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals next weekend.
MUSKEGON LUMBERJACKS  at BLOOMINGTON THUNDER 
Muskegon closed the season with three wins in the final four games and they capped off the regular season with a 5-2 victory over the Bloomington Thunder. Ty Farmer gave the Lumberjacks a 1-0 lead 12 minutes into the first period with his third goal of the season. Matt Steeves and Koby Bender found the back of the net in the middle frame to make it a 3-0 game heading into the third period. Casey Gilling and Collin Adams extended Muskegon's lead to 5-0 six minutes into the third before Walker Duehr and Calen Kiefiuk got Bloomington on the board and complete the scoring. Collin Murphy and Anthony Del Gaizo dished out two assists each, and Adam Brizgala made 40 saves on 42 shots to finish the season with a 15-8-0-2 on the year. Muskegon will open the Clark Cup Playoffs at Dubuque next weekend.
TRI-CITY STORM  at DES MOINES BUCCANEERS 
Des Moines finished the season on a four-game winning streak, capping it off with a 5-1 home win over the Tri-City Storm. Matt Hudie and Julian Napravnik found the back of the net in the opening frame for the Buccaneers, while Brian Hawkinson scored his third goal of the season for the Storm, making it a 2-1 game heading into the second period. Des Moines then scored three straight goals in the middle frame, courtesy of Brian Halonen, Colin Rutherford and Michael Rounds. Following a scoreless third period, Des Moines picked up the 5-1 victory. Jan Ruzicka stopped nine of the 10 shots he faced in the first period to pick up his fourth straight win between the pipes. Nick MacNab stopped all 16 shots he faced in relief. Des Moines will travel to Sioux City for the opening round of the Clark Cup Playoffs.
CEDAR RAPIDS ROUGHRIDERS  at DUBUQUE FIGHTING SAINTS 
Dubuque also ended the year on a four-game winning streak to clinch home ice in the first round of the Clark Cup Playoffs, as the Fighting Saints finished the year with a 3-2 home win over in-state rival Cedar Rapids. Following a scoreless first period, Dubuque scored three times in the span of 5:23, courtesy of Colin Theisen, Patrick Kudla and Alex Stevens, to jump out to a 3-0 lead. Two minutes after Stevens' goal, Justin Cole got the RoughRiders on the board, making it a 3-1 game heading into the third period. Marc McLaughlin cut the lead to 3-2 early in the final frame, but Dubuque was able to hang on for the remaining 15 minutes to earn the win. Zach Solow dished out a pair of assists to clinch the USHL scoring and assists titles, finishing the year with 69 points (18G, 51A). Jaxon Castor won his 30th game of the year with a 17-save performance. Dubuque will host Muskegon in the opening round of the playoffs.
CHICAGO STEEL  at MADISON CAPITOLS 
The Eastern Conference-leading Steel finished the season with a 4-3 shutout victory over the Madison Capitols. After Anthony Callin gave Madison a 1-0 lead in the opening period, Tyler Gratton found the back of the net just 13 seconds later to tie the game. Less than three minutes after Gratton's goal, Jason O'Neill scored his 20th goal of the season to put Chicago up 2-1 heading into the second period. Eduards Tralmaks scored the only goal of the middle frame, making it a 3-1 game after 40 minutes. Madison stormed back to the tie the game in the third period with goals from Vincent de Mey and Jeffrey Losurdo, sending the teams to overtime. After a scoreless extra frame, Aleksi Halme scored the only goal of a 10-round shootout to give Chicago the 4-3 win. Corson Green dished out a pair of assists, and Dayton Rasmussen and Ales Stezka stopped a combined 29 shots. Stezka picked up the win with a 23-save performance over the final 47 minutes in addition to stopping all 10 Madison attempts in the shootout. Chicago will host Youngstown next weekend in the opening round of the Clark Cup Playoffs.
LINCOLN STARS  at OMAHA LANCERS 
Omaha held a 2-0 lead five and a half minutes into the second period with a first period tally from Ben Lown and Cole Gallant's 15th goal of the season. Collin Peters scored 10 minutes after Gallant to got Lincoln on the board and make it a 2-1 game heading into the final frame. The Stars then exploded for five goals in the third period, courtesy of Peters, Dominick Mersch, Sam Sternschein, Chayse Primeau and Brandon Schultz to run away with a 6-2 victory. Mersch added a pair of assists, and Josef Korenar stopped 19 of the 21 Omaha shots he faced to finish the season with a 14-11-0-2 record.
SIOUX CITY MUSKETEERS  at SIOUX FALLS STAMPEDE 
Six minutes into the opening period, JC MacLean scored his eighth goal of the season to give the Musketeers a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of play. Sioux Falls then responded with four unanswered goals, scoring twice in each of the final two periods. Josh Passolt and Marcus Russell tallied in the middle frame, while Passolt and Jack St. Ivany found the back of the net in the third period, giving the Stampede a 4-1 win. St. Ivany's goal was the first goal of his USHL career. Winnipeg Jets prospect Mikhail Berdin was spectacular between the pipes, stopping 57 of the 58 shots he faced to finish the season with a 14-12-0-2 record.
FARGO FORCE  at WATERLOO BLACK HAWKS 
Fargo clinched the third seed in the Clark Cup Playoffs with a 4-3 victory over Waterloo. Both teams scored once in the opening period, with Garrett Klee scoring for the Black Hawks and Clayton Phillips finding the back of the net for the Force. Jack Adams and Brian Hurley both scored in the second period, giving Fargo a 3-1 lead heading into the final frame. Adams finished the season as the USHL goal-scoring champion, as the Union College commit found the back of the net 36 times on the year. Alex Limoges cut the lead to 3-2 early in the third before Phillips added his second of the game four minutes later to double the Force lead. Despite a late goal from Bailey Conger, Waterloo was not able to get closer than 4-3, giving Fargo the win. Blake Lizotte dished out a pair of helpers, Hank Crone added four assists and Matt Murray made 22 saves on 25 shots to win his 30th game of the season.