A recap of Friday night action in the USHL.
Muskegon Lumberjacks 1 @ Youngstown Phantoms 3
Seam Romeo made 30 saves as the Phantoms won consecutive games for the first time since October and snapped a four-game home losing streak. Following a scoreless first period, Trey Bradley got Youngstown on the scoreboard just over six minutes into the second, his third goal over the last five games. Muskegon would tie it just before the period expired as Matt Iacopelli netted his 29th of the season with just two seconds left on the clock. The Phantoms would take advantage of the power play in the third as Kyle Connor scored to extend his point streak to 10 games and J.J. Piccinich scored his 25th USHL career goal less than three minutes later to close out the victory.
Tri-City Storm 1 @ Waterloo Black Hawks 6
Drew Melanson and Liam Pecararo each scored a pair of goals as Waterloo extended their winning streak to 16 games. Melanson got things going early when he scored less than five minutes into the contest. The Black Hawks then blew the game open in the second period with three goals. Pecararo scored just 59 seconds into the period before Zach Sanford netted his 12th of the season and Austin Vieth tallied his second goal in as many games. Pecararo again scored early in the third period, just 18 seconds in, before the Storm would get themselves on the scoreboard with a Patrick Curry goal. The night would belong to the Black Hawks however as Melanson closed it out with his second goal of the game. Cam Johnson made 25 saves to improve to 3-0-0 since joining the Black Hawks.
Fargo Force 3 @ Lincoln Stars 5
Defenseman Zach Frye had a four-point night (1g, 3a), including the game-winning goal, to help the Stars snap a four-game winless skid on home ice (0-2-2). Lincoln jumped out early as Brandon Smith scored just 15 seconds after the opening faceoff. Ludvig Hoff then made it 2-0 when he scored a power play goal later in the period. John Simonson extended the lead midway through the second, but the Force would pull within a goal after a couple power play tallies. Tyler Hynes scored while making his Force debut and Mikey Eyssimont netted a goal for the fourth straight game. Hynes tied the game within the first minute of the third, but Frye would respond with the game-winner less than three minutes later and Max Humitz added an insurance goal four minutes later for the Stars. After coming on in relief in the third period, goaltender Jacob Nehama stopped all 11 shots he faced to collect the win.
Sioux Falls Stampede 1 @ Omaha Lancers 7
The Lancers exploded for six goals in the second period on the way to their 17th home win of the season. Sioux Falls would strike first as Louis Nanne tallied his first USHL goal midway through the opening period. Tyler Vesel would respond with his League-leading 30th goal of the season just before the first intermission. It was all Lancers from there as Gage Hough scored just 39 seconds into the second frame and Anthony Angello scored two minutes later. Louis Rowe netted his third of the season before Niklas Folin and Jake Randolph each scored power play goals just 1:23 apart. Brian Williams then closed out the big period with a goal in the final minute of the frame. Hayden Hawkey made 31 saves to pick up his 14th win of the season for the Lancers.
Sioux City Musketeers 4 @ Des Moines Buccaneers 2
Three goals in the second period helped the Musketeers snap a three-game losing streak and win their 11th road game of the season. After no scoring in the first, Waltteri Hopponen started the scoring just 54 seconds into the second period, his seventh goal over the last eight games. Michael Marnell tied the game four minutes later, but Sioux City would quickly respond with a goal by Austin Adduono. Des Moines again tied it midway through the frame when Jack Jenkins scored his second goal over the last three games, but the Musketeers went up for good when defenseman Blake Heinrich tallied on the power play. Joe Snively closed out the win with an empty netter in the final moments. Kyle Hayton made 20 saves to collect his 18th victory of the season for the Musketeers.
Chicago Steel 1 @ Green Bay Gamblers 0
Cale Morris stopped all 26 shots to record his second shutout of the season and lead the Steel to their 10th road win of the season. The goaltender was tested throughout the net including late in the first period when he turned away a Matt Weis penalty shot. Robby Jackson would get the Steel on the scoreboard just before the second period expired, his 13th goal of the season and second game-winner over the last three contests. Morris and the Steel defense shut down the Gamblers the rest of the way. It was the sixth consecutive victory for Morris and gave the Steel points in four straight contests (3-0-1). Cam Hackett made 30 saves in the loss for Green Bay.
Indiana Ice 3 @ Cedar Rapids RoughRiders 2 (SO)
Denis Smirnov and Dwyer Tschantz both converted in the shootout to complete the Ice comeback and earn their 25th win of the season. Nathan Widman put Cedar Rapids on the scoreboard first as the scored shorthanded just over three minutes into the contest. Patrick Newell would tie just before intermission as he tallied on the power play with just two seconds left on the clock. Alec Marsh regained the lead for Cedar Rapids late in the second and Dylan McLaughlin extended the lead early in the third. Indiana would not quit however as Aidan Muir cut the lead to one with a power play goal, his 10th tally of the season, with seven minutes remaining. With the goaltender pulled in favor of the extra attacker, Scott Conway would net the equalizer with 1:07 left in regulation to force overtime. The Riders had a golden opportunity late in the overtime session as Judd Peterson was awarded a penalty shot, but Jason Pawloski denied the chance and sent the game to the shootout. Pawloski then denied both Cedar Rapids shooters to earn his 20th win of the season.
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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