Photo credit (left to right): Hickling Images, Muskegon Lumberjacks, Hickling Images
The United States Hockey League announced the CCM Forward, Defenseman and Goaltender of the Week for Week 29 of the 2016-17 season. Muskegon Lumberjacks teammates Anthony Del Gaizo and Ty Farmer were named Forward and Defenseman of the Week, respectively, for the first time this season, while Ivan Kulbakov of the Youngstown Phantoms earned Goaltender of the Week honors for the second time. Del Gaizo picked up a hat trick on Friday in a win over Chicago before adding two assists the next night in Bloomington, Farmer dished out an assist on Friday before scoring twice on Saturday, and Kulbakov led the Phantoms to two wins over the weekend, including a 22-save shutout on Saturday that helped Youngstown clinch the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. CCM Hockey is the official equipment provider of the USHL.
Forward: Anthony Del Gaizo - Muskegon Lumberjacks
2 GP: 3 goals, 2 assists, +4 rating
Del Gaizo earned his first career USHL hat trick in Muskegon's 5-2 road victory over the Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Steel on Friday before tallying a pair of assists to help the Clark Cup Playoffs-bound Lumberjacks pick up a 5-2 victory over Bloomington in the final game of the regular season. The Basking Ridge, NJ native finished the 2016-17 campaign with 24 points (11G, 13A) in 57 games, including seven points (4G, 3A) in his final six contests. This weekend also marked the second and third multi-point performances of Del Gaizo's USHL career. Del Gaizo is in his second season in the USHL and has 27 points (13G, 14A) in 97 career USHL games. He is committed to the University of Massachusetts and previously played for the New Jersey Rockets (EHL) and Delbarton School (USHS).
Defenseman: Ty Farmer - Muskegon Lumberjacks
2 GP: 2 goals, 1 assist, +2 rating
Farmer dished out his 12th assist of the season in the 5-2 win over Chicago on Friday and followed that up with two goals, including the game-winning tally, on Saturday against the Bloomington Thunder. The Michigan State commit finished the season with points in three of his last four games, with four points (2G, 2A) in that span. In total, Farmer had 16 points (4G, 12A) in 53 games during the 2016-17 season. The O'Fallon, MO native was acquired by Muskegon from the Youngstown Phantoms in late December and had nine points (3G, 6A) in 24 games with the Lumberjacks. This is Farmer's third season in the USHL and he has amassed 24 points (5G, 9A) in 111 career USHL games. He originally joined the USHL via a tender with Youngstown prior to the 2014-15 season and previously played the Phantoms and St. Louis AAA Blues (T1EHL).
Goaltender: Ivan Kulbakov - Youngstown Phantoms
2-0-0-0, 1.00 GAA, .952 SV%
Youngstown needed a pair of wins to clinch the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and Kulbakov helped the Phantoms do just that. The Belarusian netminder stopped 18 of 20 Team USA shots in a 4-2 win on Friday before posting a 22-save shutout in a 3-0 win on Saturday to help Youngstown advance to the Clark Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2015. Kulbakov finished the season with an impressive 30-16-0-5 record, a 1.93 GAA and .919 SV%. He was one of the top goalies in the USHL all season long, finishing second in GAA, tied for second in wins, tied for fifth in SV%. He was also the busiest goalies in the USHL, as he led all USHL goalies with 3,050 minutes played and was tied for the league-lead with 52 games played. Kulabkov was also named USHL Goaltender of the Week on Nov. 28 and was named to the NHL Central Scouting Players to Watch List earlier this season. He previously played for HK Gomel-2 in Belarus and was selected in the 12th round, 190th overall by Youngstown in the 2016 USHL Phase II Draft.
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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