Below are five takeaways from Friday's USHL games:
5. Next Mann Up
With Ryan Bischel participating at the World Junior A Challenge, the Fargo Force have looked to Strauss Mann to pick up the slack in goal, and the University of Michigan commit has done that and then some. Mann earned his fourth straight victory and second shutout of the season with a 27-save whitewash in Fargo's 4-0 win over the Waterloo Black Hawks. With the win, Mann now sports a 9-1-0-2 record along a 1.92 GAA and .935 SV%, both of which are in the top-five among all USHL goaltenders. He also added on the offensive end as well, picking up an assist for his first point of the season. William Fallstrom and Grant Hebert found the back of the net for the Force in the win in addition to Garrett Van Wyhe, who scored the final two goals of the game. Fallstrom has been dominant against Waterloo this season, recording eight points (3G, 5A) in his five games against the Black Hawks. Fargo has now won its last four games and sits four points clear of the Tri-City Storm for the top spot in the USHL standings.
4. Preston, Primeau Power Dubuque
The Dubuque Fighting Saints traveled to Kearney for the first time since the 2016 Clark Cup Final to take on the Tri-City Storm, and a pair of veterans in Quinn Preston and Chayse Primeau led the way to give the Fighting Saints a 4-2 victory. Preston scored two goals in the win, his eighth and ninth tallies of the season. The Ohio State commit has now recorded five points (4G, 1A) in his last three contests and looks to be locked in offensively right now. Primeau, who committed to Nebraska Omaha earlier in the week, opened the scoring with his sixth goal of the season. He also added two assists, giving him points in five of his last six games, with eight points in that span (3G, 5A). Jake Hale added the other goal for the Fighting Saints, and Jaxon Castor stopped 18 of the 20 shots he faced for his seventh victory of the season.
3. Del Gaizo Leads By Example
Anthony Del Gaizo is the captain of the Muskegon Lumberjacks, and he let his play lead the way on Friday night, as he scored twice in the opening period to help his team to a 4-2 home victory over the Chicago Steel at L.C. Walker Arena. The UMass-Amherst commit opened the scoring just under seven minutes into the game and added his second goal of the night and 12th tally of the season to give Muskegon a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. He has now scored five times in his last four games, including a pair of two-goal efforts. Chicago scored once in the second period and midway through the third to even the score at two, but Benito Posa and Emilio Pettersen responded for the Lumberjacks later in the final frame, giving the home team the 4-2 win. Mikael Hakkarainen dished out a pair of assists for Muskegon, and Keegan Karki made 22 saves on 24 Chicago shots to pick up his fourth win of the year.
2. Gamblers' Furious Comeback
A pair of Michael Mancinelli goals, one midway through the second period and another less than 90 seconds into the third period, gave the Madison Capitols a 2-0 lead on the road over in-state rival Green Bay. The Gamblers didn't quit, however, as they scored three times in the final 11: 36 of regulation to mount a furious comeback and walk away with a 3-2 victory. McKade Webster cut the Capitols' lead in half at 8:24 of the final frame with his third goal of the season, Matt Jennings' sixth tally of the year tied the game at two just under three minutes later, and Josh Dunne added the game-winning goal, his sixth goal of the season, at 14:53 of the third period, giving Green Bay the come-from-behind win. Vegas Golden Knights prospect Maksim Zhukov made 17 saves on 19 Madison shots to move to 11-6-0-2 on the season. Green Bay remains alone in third place in the Eastern Conference.
1. Lancers Win Seventh Straight
The Omaha Lancers pushed their winning streak to seven straight games on Friday as they defeated the Des Moines Buccaneers 5-2 at Ralston Arena. Filip Suchy was the star of the night for Omaha, scoring two goals and dishing out a pair of assists in the victory. The Czech forward has now registered six points (4G, 2A) in his last two games, both of which have been multi-goal efforts. He now sits at a point-per-game pace, with 14 points (7G, 7A) through 14 games. Omaha's leading scorer Christian O'Neill also had a strong night, dishing out four assists, giving him 21 points (7G, 14A) through 20 games. The Princeton commit has recorded at least one point in seven of his last night games dating back to Nov. 11, with 14 points (3G, 11A) in that stretch. Cole Gallant, Brendan Furry and Noah Cates also scored for the Lancers, while Vinnie Purpura continued his strong play between the pipes, stopping 24 of the 26 Des Moines shots he faced for his fourth straight victory. The Lancers have now moved into fourth place in the Western Conference standings.
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.