A recap of Saturday night action in the USHL.
Team USA 7 @ Muskegon Lumberjacks 0
Edwin Minney stopped a season high 38 shots on the way to his first USHL career shutout and led Team USA’s Under-18 squad to the victory. Following a scoreless first period, Team USA scored three goals in the second. Dylan Pavelek started things off before Anders Bjork and Alex Tuch tallied just over two minutes apart. It was more of the same in the third period as they netted four goals, including three on the power play. Defenseman Jack Dougherty scored midway through the period before Shane Gersich and Bjork converted 21 seconds apart. Nathan Billitier then closed it out with a late power play goal. It was the seventh win in 10 USHL starts for goaltender Minney who made 21 of his saves in the third period.
Youngstown Phantoms 2 @ Chicago Steel 3
Robbie Payne scored in the final minute of the third period to give the Steel their fifth win over their last six home games. After no scoring in the first period, Artem Artemov netted his 14th of the season early in the second for Chicago. Youngstown then responded by taking advantage of special teams and scored two power play goals, the first by J.J. Piccinich, his 21st of the season, and the second by Conor Lemirande. Five minutes into the third, C.J. Smith would tie the game with his 16th of the season. The game appeared to be heading into overtime until Payne tallied the winner with just 47 seconds remaining in regulation. Cale Morris made 22 saves to collect his fourth consecutive victory.
Des Moines Buccaneers 3 @ Lincoln Stars 2
The first goal of the season for Connor Schmidt proved to be the game-winner as the Bucs won for the third time in their last four road games. Following a scoreless opening period, Oskar Norlov struck midway through the second for Des Moines, his third goal over the last three games, but Lincoln would respond a little more than a minute later on the 10th goal of the season for Brandon Smith. The Bucs defensemen took over in the third as Josh Couturier scored less than three minutes into the frame and Schmidt netted his goal just 48 seconds later. Christian Lampasso netted a goal to pull the Stars within one, but it wouldn’t be enough as Des Moines goaltender Ryan Ruck made 44 saves to earn the win.
Team USA 1 @ Green Bay Gamblers 2 (OT)
Connor Hurley scored in overtime to give the Gamblers a two-win weekend. There would be no scoring through almost two periods until defenseman Colin Sullivan gave Green Bay the lead late in the second. Brendan Warren tied the game up early in the third for Team USA’s Under-17 squad. The game would then go into extra time, and Hurley tallied the winner 3:40 into the overtime period, his fifth goal in 10 games since being acquired by the Gamblers. Jared Rutledge made 27 saves to earn his 18th victory of the season.
Indiana Ice 1 @ Cedar Rapids RoughRiders 2 (OT)
Frederik Tiffels scored with less than a minute remaining in overtime to give the Riders their fifth straight home victory and their 20th win of the season overall. The game was scoreless until late in the second when Jason Salvaggio scored his third goal over the last four games for Indiana. Judd Peterson then tied the contest midway through the third, his 25th USHL career goal. Tiffels then became the hero as he scored with only 42 seconds left in the overtime session. Chris Birdsall made 29 saves to earn the victory while Jason Pawloski stopped 23 shots in the loss. The defeat halted the 10-game road win streak for the Ice.
Sioux Falls Stampede 3 @ Tri-City Storm 4
The Storm scored three unanswered goals in the third period to complete a comeback and earn the weekend sweep against Sioux Falls. Patrick Curry put Tri-City on the scoreboard midway through the first period with his second of the season. The Stampede took over in the second period as Ryan Schwalbe scored less than two minutes into the frame and Logan O’Connor made it 2-1 midway through the period. Sioux Falls extended their lead on the third goal in as many games for Tony Calderone, but the Storm would come alive. Chris Wilkie scored his fourth goal over the last four games and Ryan McMurphy tied the contest less than four minutes later. Christian Horn would then complete the comeback with the game-winner midway through the period, his 12th goal of the season. Goaltender Jacob Johansson made 29 saves in the win for Tri-City.
Waterloo Black Hawks 6 @ Fargo Force 2
John Wiitala and Peter Krieger each scored a pair of goals as the Black Hawks extended their win streak to a team record 13 games. Wiitala and Krieger put Waterloo up 2-0 in the first period before defenseman Teemu Kivihalme got Fargo on the scoreboard just before the first intermission. The game would then be tied midway through the second as Alex Jackstadt netted his second of the season. After being unsuccessful earlier in the period on a penalty shot, Tyson McLellan scored a goal late in the period to put Waterloo up for good. The Hawks then blew the game open with three goals in the third. Blake Winiecki netted his 17th of the season and Krieger and Wiitala added their second goals of the night. Goaltender Cam Johnson made 20 saves to earn the win against his former team while Brendan Jensen made 48 saves in the loss.
Dubuque Fighting Saints 3 @ Omaha Lancers 1
Jacob Benson scored two goals to lead the Saints to their sixth consecutive victory. Max McHugh started it off less than eight minutes into the contest with his fourth goal over the last five games. Tyler Vesel would tie it three minutes into the second with his League-leading 28th goal of the season. Benson then put Dubuque back on top later in the period and added an empty netter in the final moments to close out the victory. Kevin Reich made 23 saves to improve to 3-0-0 with the Saints. It was the 23rd win of the season for Dubuque, tied for the most in the Eastern Conference.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 12th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2013-14. A record 32 players were chosen in the 2013 NHL Draft and more than 300 players on team rosters last season have committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at www.USHL.com or visit the League’s social media platforms, including Facebook (www.facebook.com/ushlhockey), twitter (www.twitter.com/ushl), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/ushlinteractive). Fans can also watch USHL action all season long, live or on-demand via FASTHockey (ushl.fasthockey.com).
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