Photos by Hickling Images
The United States Hockey League announced the Forward, Defenseman and Goaltender of the Week for Week 24 of the 2018-19 season. Team USA forward and top 2019 NHL Draft prospect Jack Hughes was named USHL Forward of the Week for the first time this season and third time in his USHL career, while Cedar Rapids RoughRiders defenseman Jack Millar and Central Illinois Flying Aces goaltender and Washington Capitals prospect Mitchell Gibson earned their first USHL weekly awards. Hughes scored three goals and dished out a pair of assists in a pair of games at Lincoln, Millar scored his second goal of the season and added two helpers over the weekend and Gibson led the Flying Aces to a pair of wins by stopping 74 of the 75 shots he faced, including a 37-save shutout over Eastern Conference-leading Muskegon on Saturday. The USHL is America’s only Tier 1 junior hockey league, and continues to lead the world in the advancement of Division I college hockey athletes.
2 GP: 3 goals, 2 assists, +5 rating
Hughes scored twice and added an assist on Friday in Lincoln before adding his third goal and second helper of the weekend on Saturday as Team USA's U18 team earned a split with a 9-3 victory over the Stars. Hughes, projected as the top overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, has had an exemplary second USHL season. The Orlando, FL native has recorded 31 points (9G, 22A) in just 18 USHL contests this season, good for second among all Team USA players in scoring. He is tied for third among all U18 players in goals and leads all Team USA players with his 22 assists. Hughes is currently riding a five-game point streak dating back to Feb. 27, with 11 points (7G, 4A) and four multi-point performances in that span. Of the 18 games in which he's played, he has registered multiple points 11 times, including three three-point efforts. This is Hughes' third weekly award of his USHL career, as he was previously named Forward of the Week on Jan. 22, 2018 and Mar. 12, 2018. He was listed as an A-rated skater on both the NHL Central Scouting Preliminary and Updated Players to Watch List, and was then ranked first overall among North American skaters on January's NHL Central Scouting Midterm Rankings. Hughes is in his second season in the USHL and had an incredible first USHL campaign, as he recorded 54 points (21G, 33A) in just 27 games to help Team USA to the Clark Cup Playoffs for the first time since the 2011-12 season. Prior to his time in the USHL, Hughes skated for the Toronto Marlboros.
2 GP: 1 goal, 2 assists, E rating
Millar dished out an assist on Liam Walsh's goal 33 seconds into Cedar Rapids' game on Thursday against Madison, a 5-1 RoughRiders win over the Capitols. The Colorado College commit followed that performance with a goal and another helper on Saturday. With his three-point weekend, Millar has reached the double-digit mark in points on the season, as he has recorded 10 points (2G, 8A) in 49 games. Over his last 10 games, he has played extremely well, recording nine points (2G, 7A) as well as a pair of multi-point performances in those contests. His two goals are tied for 10th among all USHL rookie defenseman, while his eight assists are tied for ninth. He is fourth in points among all Cedar Rapids defensemen and second among RoughRiders blueliners in scoring. Millar is in his first full USHL season, as he played in two games for the RoughRiders during the 2017-18 season, recording an assist in those contests. The Westminster, CO native was selected in the 14th round, 212th overall by Cedar Rapids in the 2017 USHL Phase II Draft and previously played for the Rocky Mountain RoughRiders.
2-0-0-0, 0.50 GAA, .987 SV%
Gibson was outstanding between the pipes for Central Illinois this weekend, as he stopped 37 of the 38 shots he faced to lead the Flying Aces to a 3-1 win in Madison on Friday before recording a 37-save shutout on Saturday against the Eastern Conference-leading Muskegon Lumberjacks to help keep Central Illinois in the hunt for a spot in the 2019 Clark Cup Playoffs. Since the calendar turned to March, the Harvard commit has been rock solid for Central Illinois, going 4-1-0-0 in five games and recording a stellar 1.60 GAA and .953 SV% in those contests. He has allowed two goals or fewer in each of his last four victories, including the aforementioned 37-save whitewash on Saturday night against the top offense in the USHL. This marks Gibson's first weekly award of his USHL career, as he is in the midst of his first USHL season. He spent the 2017-18 season with the NAHL's Lone Star Brahmas, posting a 1.59 GAA and .935 SV% in 35 games en route to being named NAHL Rookie and Goaltender of the Year. Following his outstanding season, he was selected in the fourth round, 124th overall by the Washington Capitals at the 2018 NHL Draft. He was acquired by Central Illinois from Sioux Falls on Oct. 2, 2017 and was originally drafted by the Stampede in the sixth round, 89th overall in the 2015 USHL Phase I Draft. Prior to his junior hockey career, the Phoenixville, PA native played for the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers and Team Comcast.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 17th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2018-19. The USHL had a record 45 players selected at the 2018 NHL Draft, more than any junior league in the world, 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.