Friday night marked another exciting night of USHL action. A pair of Western Conference teams moved to 2-0, a goaltender pitched a shutout in his first USHL start, and two games needed overtime to decide a winner. Below are recaps and observations from Friday's USHL action.
1. Dugan Does It Again
Chicago Steel forward Jack Dugan had another stellar night on Friday. The Vegas Golden Knights prospect tallied two points (1G, 1A) in his team's 3-2 victory over the Muskegon Lumberjacks. Dugan assisted on Baker Shore's second period tally and scored the game-winning goal on a penalty shot five minutes into the final frame. He has recorded five points (3G, 2A) in his first three USHL games, tied for second among all USHL players early in the season. Chicago hoped to reload after last season's Clark Cup championship, and players like Dugan appear that the Steel have done just that.
2. Moe's Dazzling Debut
It was quite the USHL debut for Waterloo Black Hawks goaltender Jared Moe, who led his team to a 2-0 shutout of the Dubuque Fighting Saints in his first USHL start. The New Prague, MN native stopped all 13 shots he faced in the first period, all eight attempts he saw in the second period, and all nine Dubuque shots in the final 20 minutes of play to earn the shutout. It's early in the season, but between Moe and Philadelphia Flyers prospect Matej Tomek, Waterloo looks to have a dynamic duo between the pipes. Jack Drury and Matej Blumel found the back of the net for the Black Hawks in the victory.
3. More Overtime
Just like last Saturday, two USHL games needed overtime to decide a victor on Friday night. The Fargo Force and Madison Capitols picked up identical 3-2 victories in extra time, with the Force knocking off the Youngstown Phantoms, while the Capitols knocked off in-state rival Green Bay. Grant Hebert picked up the OT winner for Fargo, giving the Robert Morris commit his first career USHL goal. He has two points (1G, 1A) in three games this season and is looking to be a key contributor to Fargo's offensive attack. USHL veteran Alec Broetzman scored in overtime for the Capitols, marking his first tally of the season as well. Broetzman is in his third season with Madison, and has increased his point total eery season, from 12 in 2015-16 to 16 last year. He has two points (1G, 1A) in three games this year and looks poised to increased his point total from last year once again.
4. Stefanson's Four Point Night
It was a great night for Reid Stefanson, who tallied four points (2G, 2A) in the Sioux Falls Stampede's 7-2 victory over the Omaha Lancers at Ralston Arena. The UMass-Lowell commit scored the first goal of the game 2:07 into the first period, assisted on the two Stampede goals in the middle frame, scored by Kirill Panyukov and Kevin Conley, respectively, and scored the middle of the three Sioux Falls tallies in the final 20 minutes of play. The Winnipeg, MB native is currently leading the USHL with six points (2G, 4A) in his first three games this season. Between Stefanson, Khristian Acosta (2G, 3A) and Nolan Walker (2G, 2A), among others, the Stampede look to possess a potent offensive attack early in the season.
5. Nebraska Home Cookin'
All three USHL teams based in Nebraska played at home on Friday night, and two of the three picked up victories. The Lincoln Stars knocked off the Des Moines Buccaneers 4-2, while the Tri-City Storm defeated the Sioux City Musketeers 3-1. After going down 2-0 through 20 minutes, the Stars scored three times in the second period, courtesy of Ashton Calder, Paul Cotter and Austen Long, as well as an empty netter from Gustaf Westlund to earn the victory. Tri-City scored all three of their goals in the second period, with Brian Hawkinson, Michael Maloney and Adam Goodsir all scoring their first goals of the year. The Stars and Storm both moved to 2-0 with the wins, remain atop the Western Conference, and are looking to help get Nebraska back to the Clark Cup Playoffs after all three Nebraska teams failed to qualify for the Clark Cup Playoffs last season.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 16th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2017-18. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in five 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.