Photo by Hickling Images
Below are five takeaways from Saturday's USHL games:
5. Lancers Looking Good
The Omaha Lancers are currently one of the hottest teams in the USHL, winning their fourth straight game with a 5-3 victory over the Des Moines Buccaneers. After a scoreless first period, Jack Randl opened the scoring late in the middle frame. Christian O'Neill, Logan Will and Ethan Price added goals of their own in the third period, and Randl scored his second goal of the game, an empty-net tally, to seal the victory for the Lancers. Brendan Furry and Noah Cates dished out two assists each, and Christian Sbaraglia stopped 31 of the 34 Des Moines shots he faced for his second straight victory. Omaha is now 7-2-1-0 in their last 10 games and currently sit two games over .500.
4. Storm Stifle Caps
It was just another day at the office for Filip Larsson and the Tri-City Storm, who shut out the Madison Capitols 3-0 Saturday afternoon at the Viaero Center. The league's-leading defense was on display again, allowing 27 shots on goal but no goals. Tri-City scored three times in the second period goals to earn the win, getting tallies from Johnny McDermott, Brian Hawkinson and Charlie Dovorany. Larsson stopped all 27 shots he faced for his league-leading 13th victory and fourth shutout of the season. Tri-City has only allowed 30 goals all season long, far and away the lowest mark in the USHL. The Storm are once again tied atop the USHL standings with 28 points and could be considered the toughest matchup in the league.
3. Kraws Shuts Out Saints
The Sioux City Musketeers went into the Mystique Ice Center on Saturday night and walked out with a 2-0 shutout victory over the Dubuque Fighting Saints. Following a scoreless first and second period, Parker Ford broke the tie late in the final frame, giving Sioux City a 1-0 lead with just over three minutes to play in regulation, and Micah Miller added a shorthanded, empty-net goal to seal the victory for the Musketeers. Ben Kraws was outstanding between the pipes, stopping all 27 shots he faced for his first USHL win and shutout. Quite the way for the Miami commit and NHL Central Scouting C-rated goaltender to pick up his first USHL victory.
2. Stars Special Teams Shine
The Lincoln Stars special teams units were exceptional in their 5-1 win over the Green Bay Gamblers. Lincoln's man advantage capitalized twice in the victory, getting tallies from Devlin McCabe and Casey Dornbach, and the Stars also picked up a shorthanded marker from Ashton Calder en route to the four-goal victory. McCabe recorded three points (2G, 1A) on the night, Dornbach added a multiple-point effort (1G, 1A) and Tomas Vomacka stopped 23 of the 24 shots he faced to claim his fifth victory of the season. The Stars have now won two games in a row and sit three games over the .500 mark. If their special teams can continue to produce, the Stars will be a forced to be reckoned with.
1. Dugan Does It Again
The Chicago Steel celebrated Britney Spears' birthday at Fox Valley Ice Arena on Saturday Night, and Jack Dugan celebrated by scoring the overtime winner, his second goal of the game, giving the Steel a 3-2 victory over the Waterloo Black Hawks. The Providence commit now has 13 goals on the season thanks to his two-goal performance, moving him into second place in the USHL in goals. He is also tied for second in the league in points with 24 (13G, 11A). Blake McLaughlin scored the other goal for the Steel, giving him 21 points (8G, 13A) on the season, fourth among all USHL players. Graham Lillibridge dished out a pair of assists, moving him to 18 points (3G, 15A) on the year, most among all USHL defensemen. Oskar Autio picked up the win between the pipes, his 10th of the season, with a 30-save shutout.
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.