2018-19 Finish: 27-27-4-4 (62 points), 7th Western Conference
NHL Draftees: Alexander Campbell (F) Nashville Predators (2019, Rd. 3, 65 overall)
Akira Schmid (G) New Jersey Devils (2018, Rd. 5, 136 overall)
This preview is part of a series highlighting all 16 USHL teams ahead of the 2019-20 regular season.
The Omaha Lancers missing the playoffs last season by just five points after a late season push for the playoffs. Omaha registered a 19-11-3-2 record in 2019 as they continued to gain ground on the rest of the Western Conference and despite two separate five-game winning streaks in that time and picking up at least a point in 24 of their final 35 games.
“Last year was most definitely disappointing, but the lessons learned and experiences gained should serve us well moving forward,” said General Manager and Head Coach David Wilkie. “The competitive balance in this league is tremendous night in and night out and it requires your team to be on point every game. Our entire organization is looking forward to, and relishes the challenge, that each game and season present.”
The Lancers will rely on another strong season from goaltender Akira Schmid who led the USHL with a .926 save percentage last year while his 2.18 goals against average was second. The New Jersey Devils prospect (2018, Round 5, #136 overall) finished with a 16-14-2-0 record and registered shutouts on December 15, 2018 (32 saves vs. Muskegon Lumberjacks) and March 8 (37 saves at Fargo Force). The Swiss netminder was named USHL Goaltender of the Week on February 11 after a 16-save relief performance against the Sioux City Musketeers and then made all three saves in the shootout victory and then stopping 43 of the 45 shots against the Des Moines Buccaneers.
Randl rejoins the Lancers after spending the 2018-19 season with the University of Michigan. The Carpentersville, Ill. native has appeared in 108 USHL games with Omaha from 2016-18 with 51 points (29-22-51) in that span. The former Chicago Mission forward will serve as the Lancers captain this season and has international experience as a skater on USA Hockey Five Nations team (2016), Ivan Hlinka roster (2017), and the U.S. Junior Select Team at the World Junior A Challenge (2017). Randl also represented the Lancers at the 2018 USHL/NHL Top Prospect Game and 2017 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game.
Campbell, a Nashville Predators prospect (2019, Round 3, #65 overall), joins the Lancers after putting up 67 points (21-46-67) with the Victoria Grizzlies of the British Columbia Hockey League last season.
PItlick will rejoin the Lancers after appearing in seven games last season with an impressive five points (1-4-5) in that time. The Montreal Canadiens prospect (2019, Round 5, #131 overall) posted 129 points (60-69-129) in 71 games over the last three seasons with Minnesota’s Chaska High School. The University of Minnesota commit was named to the USHS All-USA Hockey Third Team after putting up 61 points (28-33-61) in 25 games with Chaska last season.
The Lancers roster this season will also feature defenseman Christian Berger, who joins Omaha after spending parts of the past three seasons with the Madison Capitols. In three seasons, the St. Louis, Mo. Native has appeared in 72 games, including 61 last season. The Penn State University commit registered 19 points (8-11-19) with the Capitols last season, including points in eight of the final 13 games of the season. Berger had a career-high three-point night on March 24 against the Green Bay Gamblers when he potted two goals and added an assist. The two-goal night kicked off goals in four of the final seven games of the season as the former St. Louis AAA Blues blueliner picked up half of his goals in the final two weeks of the season.
Be sure to check out the Lancers full-season schedule as well as their promotional schedule, which includes Motto McLean Legacy Night as part of the team’s home opener when the Lancers will wear throwback Omaha Knights jerseys to remember “Omaha’s Mr. Hockey” Motto McLean, a cornerstone of the Omaha hockey community.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 18th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2019-20. The USHL had 55 players selected at the 2019 NHL Draft, 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.