Photo by Hickling Images
Below are five takeaways from Friday's USHL games:
1. Lancers Blank Bucs
The Omaha Lancers shut out the Des Moines Buccaneers 3-0 at Ralston Arena, and Mick Kohler provided all the scoring for the home team. The German forward scored once in each period, giving the Lancers the 3-0 win. He picked up his goals at 14:27 of the first period, 13:14 of the second period and completed the hat trick with an empty net goal with just under a second remaining in regulation. Zach Driscoll stopped all 25 shots he faced for his second career shutout. Kohler has been rolling as of late, as he has scored four times in his last two games.
2. USA Unbeaten
Team USA remains the only undefeated team in the USHL, with the U18 team knocking off the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders 3-2 to move to 5-0-0-0 in USHL play this season. They were buoyed by a three-goal opening period, getting goals from Jonathan Gruden, Oliver Wahlstrom and Joel Farabee. Gruden recorded three points (1G, 2A) in the contest, while A-rated NHL Draft Prospects Wahlstrom and Farabee picked up a goal and an assist each in the victory. The U17 team will take the reins on Saturday, as they will take on Cedar Rapids to try and remain the only perfect team in the USHL. It has been amazing to watch the start that the NTDP has gotten off to in 2017-18.
3. Preston Produces
It was a big win for the Dubuque Fighting Saints on Friday, as they knocked off the Central Illinois Flying Aces 5-2 in the front half of a home-and-home. It was also an impressive performance from Fighting Saints forward Quinn Preston, who recorded four points (2G, 2A) in to lead Dubuque to victory. The Ohio State commit scored goals in both the second and third periods and added assists in the same frames. He now leads the team in scoring with five points (3G, 2A) and will need to keep producing at a high level if the Fighting Saints offense is going to get back on track.
4. Amazing Andreev
Despite the Central Illinois Flying Aces falling 5-2 to the Dubuque Fighting Saints, Max Andreev kept his point streak in tact. The forward, who committed to Cornell University earlier in the week, scored a goal for the Aces, giving him his USHL-leading ninth point of the season. In addition to leading the league with his nine points (2G, 7A), the Russian forward has recorded at least one point in each of the six games in which he has played this season. Between keeping his point streak going and committing to an Ivy League School, it's been quite the week for Andreev.
5. Storm Stymie Stars
For the second time in the last six days, the Tri-City Storm hosted the Lincoln Stars. And for the second straight time, The Storm knocked off the Stars, this time by a 6-1 final. Tri-City is now tied atop the Western Conference standings and hold two games in hand on both Sioux Falls and Fargo, who also have 10 points on the young season. The Storm's power play was electric, scoring three times and leading the team to victory. Detroit Red Wings prospect Filip Larsson stopped 31 of the 32 shots he faced and now is tied among all USHL goaltenders in wins with five. Right now, the Storm look like one of the most dangerous teams in the USHL.
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.