A recap of Saturday night action in the USHL.
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders 2 @ Team USA 3
Auston Matthews scored the game-winner as Team USA’s Under-18 squad earned the weekend sweep over Cedar Rapids. Team USA took control with a pair of goals in the opening period, first by Brandon Fortunato midway through the frame and then by Jack Eichel late in the period. It was the 19th goal in 18 USHL games this season for Eichel. The RoughRiders got on the board just over five minutes into the second when Kevin Shand netted his first USHL goal. Cedar Rapids then pulled even less than two minutes into the third on a Jason Kalinowski goal, but Matthews netted the winner midway through the period to give Team USA its third straight win. It was the fourth goal in the last five USHL games for Matthews. Ed Minney made 19 saves to post the victory.
Indiana Ice 4 @ Lincoln Stars 0
Hayden Stewart stopped all 26 shots he faced for his third shutout since joining the Ice and help his team clinch a playoff berth. The Ice dominated the first period, scoring three goals. Sam Kurker scored just over two minutes after the opening faceoff before Scott Conway netted his fourth goal of the weekend. Mitch Hults completed the three-goal period for the Ice with his 10th USHL career goal. After a scoreless second period, Joe Sullivan closed out the scoring with a late empty net goal for Indiana. Stewart improved to 9-0-0 in an Ice uniform with a stellar 0.67 GAA and .972 SV%.
Youngstown Phantoms 4 @ Omaha Lancers 1
J.J. Piccinich scored two goals to help the Phantoms earn a weekend split with Omaha. Josh Melnick opened the scoring for Youngstown midway through the first before Piccinich scored less than two minutes later. Omaha got on the scoreboard just over six minutes into the second on a Jimmy Schuldt goal. Piccinich would add his second midway through the third period, his 30th USHL career goal, and Tyler Spezia closed it out with an empty netter in the final minute. Colin DeAugustine made 30 saves to earn his third straight victory for Youngstown.
Muskegon Lumberjacks 4 @ Tri-City Storm 3
For the second straight night, the Lumberjacks scored the final three goals of the game to earn a comeback win. Austin Poganski started the scoring late in the first for the Storm with his 16th of the season, but Muskegon would respond as Trevor Morbeck scored with just five seconds remaining in the frame. The Storm built a lead in the second period when Dan Labosky netted his second goal in as many nights and then defenseman Jalen Schulz scored his second of the season. Jack Rowe would pull Muskegon within a goal late in the period. The third period belonged to the Lumberjacks as Matej Paulovic scored his second in many nights to tie it just over seven minutes in, and then Cooper Marody tallied the game-winner three minutes later. Eric Schierhorn made 23 saves to collect his 15th of the season.
Sioux Falls Stampede 1 @ Dubuque Fighting Saints 6
Kevin Reich made 25 saves and six different players scored a goal to help the Saints earn their 18th home win of the season. Dubuque took over early with three goals in the first period. Robby Darrar scored midway through the opening frame followed by tallies from Karlson Kuhlman, his 20th of the season, and Dylan Gambrell. The lead was extended in the second period when Jarrid Privitera and Jacob Benson scored three minutes apart. Sioux Falls would finally get on the scoreboard with Tony Calderone’s 19th goal of the season. Brett Boeing would tack on another goal in the third for Dubuque when he converted a penalty shot attempt. Reich made 12 of his 26 saves in the third period on the way to his eighth win of the season. Despite the loss, Sioux Falls would clinch the fourth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Fargo Force 6 @ Green Bay Gamblers 4
Mikey Eyssimont scored two goals as the Force earned their fourth win over their last five games. The team traded goals throughout the first period. Evan Tironese started it with a goal less than eight minutes into the game for Green Bay, followed by a Tanner Jago goal for Fargo. Kevin Irwin gave the Gamblers a temporary lead on his 60th USHL career goal, but Eyssimont responded a minute later to even the game heading into the first intermission. Eyssimont gave Fargo the lead early in the second with his second goal of the night and Michael Babcock made it a two-goal lead later in the period. Nick Schmaltz would beat the buzzer in the second period as he pulled the Gamblers within one when he tallied with just three seconds on the clock. Connor Hurley would tie the game again with a power play goal for Green Bay early in the third, but C.J. Hayes would put the Force back on top for good later in the period and Hunter Warner added a late empty net goal to seal the win for Fargo. Mathias Israelsson made 25 saves to record the win.
Waterloo Black Hawks 3 @ Des Moines Buccaneers 2
Peter Krieger netted the game-winner with just 57 seconds remaining in regulation to give Waterloo three victories in three nights. Drew Melanson wasted little time in getting the Black Hawks on the scoreboard as he netted his 14th of the season just 1:08 after the opening faceoff. Defenseman Corey Schueneman tied the game in the second period with his fourth goal of the season for Des Moines, but Waterloo would get back on top late in the frame on Liam Pecararo’s 25th USHL career goal. The game would be tied again midway through the third period when Marcel Godbout scored his second goal in as many nights for the Bucs. The game appeared to be headed towards extra time, but Krieger would net the winner in the final minute of regulation, his 20th goal of the season. Cal Petersen made 27 saves to collect his 25th win of the season while Billy Christopoulos made 30 saves in the loss.
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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