A recap of Saturday night action in the USHL.
Omaha Lancers 4 @ Team USA 5 (SO)
Dylan Larkin scored in regulation and converted in the shootout to help Team USA’s Under-18 squad earn their third straight win in USHL play. Shane Gersich got USA on the board first midway through the opening period and then Jack Eichel made it 2-0 when he netted his 20th of the season. Ryan Tait cut the lead in half just before the period expired with his 15th of the season for the Lancers. Omaha then took control in the second period as both Jake Randolph and Brian Williams scored their second goals in as many nights. USA regained the lead when Sonny Milano and Larkin scored just 1:42 apart midway through the third period, but Randolph would net his second of the night moments later to force overtime. After a scoreless extra session, Larkin would convert the deciding shootout tally in the sixth round. Ed Minney made 20 saves for Team USA to pick up his third win over his last four USHL starts.
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders 4 @ Youngstown Phantoms 1
Frederik Tiffels tallied a pair of goals as the RoughRiders completed the weekend sweep of Youngstown and collected their 35th win of the season. Tiffels opened the scoring just over seven minutes into the first period. Kyle Connor would respond for Youngstown with the lone goal of the second period, his seventh goal of his current five-game goal streak and his 30th overall goal of the season. The Riders then blew it open in the third period as Judd Peterson scored his 16th of the season before Tiffels and Andrew Gaus netted goals 32 seconds apart to close out the fourth straight road victory for Cedar Rapids. Danny Tirone made 28 saves to post the victory.
Lincoln Stars 4 @ Muskegon Lumberjacks 5 (SO)
Jack Rowe scored two goals late in regulation to force overtime and help the Lumberjacks earned their seventh win in their last eight home games. Matt Iacopelli started the scoring just over four minutes into the contest with his League-leading 40th goal of the season. Christian Lampasso then scored two goals in seven seconds to give the Stars the lead heading into the first intermission. The two quick goals broke a USHL record for the fastest two goals by one player. Christopher Dodero had the lone goal of the second period to tie the game for Muskegon. Lincoln jumped ahead when Magnus Hoff scored his 14th of the season and then John Simonson added his 27th of the year late in the frame. Lincoln appeared to be on their way to the victory but Rowe scored with 1:13 remaining in the third and then added a second goal with only eight seconds left to force overtime. The Jacks completed the comeback when defenseman Daniel Willett had the deciding shootout tally in the fourth round, converting the goal against his former club. Eric Schierhorn made 35 saves and then stopped 3-of-4 Lincoln shootout attempts to post the win.
Sioux Falls Stampede 3 @ Waterloo Black Hawks 4 (OT)
Blake Winiecki scored in overtime to help the Black Hawks move into a tie for the overall top spot in the USHL standings. Liam Pecararo scored less than six minutes into the contest to start things for Waterloo. Zeb Knutson netted his 27th goal late in the period to tie the game for Sioux Falls, but Pecararo responded 51 seconds later with his second of the night. The Stampede took the lead late in the second period when Dennis Kravchenko and Christian Horn scored just 29 seconds apart. Before the period expired, the game would be tied again when Peter Krieger tallied his 24th of the season. Following a scoreless third period, Winiecki tallied the winner just over two minutes into the overtime session, his 23rd goal of the season. Cam Johnson made 32 saves to collect his sixth straight win for Waterloo.
Indiana Ice 2 @ Dubuque Fighting Saints 3
Seamus Malone scored two goals in the third period to give the Saints their 20th home win of the season. After a scoreless opening period, Brian Pinho netted a goal just over three minutes into the middle frame for Indiana, his sixth goal over his last four games and 26th goal of the season. Sam Kurker made it a 2-0 early in the third, his third goal of the weekend. Dubuque then took over as Shane Eiserman netted his 15th of the season before Malone tied the game 47 seconds later with his 20th goal of the season. Malone then scored again four minutes later to push the Saints to the victory. Dubuque held the Ice to just 15 shots on goal and Benjamin Johansson made 13 saves to record the win.
Chicago Steel 5 @ Des Moines Buccaneers 2
C.J. Smith recorded a hat trick to lead the Steel to a two-win weekend. Chicago came out firing as they scored four goals in the first period. Robby Jackson netted his 27th just over seven minutes into the game and Zach LaValle made it 2-0 just over seven minutes later. Smith then scored two goals in a span of 2:36 to close out the four-goal opening frame. Following a scoreless second period, Paul Fregeau and Michael Marnell scored for the Bucs, but it wouldn’t be enough as Smith added an empty netter in the final moments to seal the game and complete the hat trick. It was his first USHL career hat trick. Chris Nell made 34 saves for Chicago to collect his 16th win of the season.
Tri-City Storm 0 @ Fargo Force 4
Mathias Israelsson stopped all 31 shots he faced to post his second shutout of the season and lead the Force to victory. Fargo tallied three goals in the first period to take over the game early. Playing just his second game with the Force, Brody Stevens scored his first goal with the team less than six minutes into the opening period. Mason Morelli and C.J. Hayes then scored only 10 seconds apart midway through the period to make it a 3-0 lead. Following a scoreless second, Mikey Eyssimont added the fourth goal of the game for Fargo early in the third. It was his third goal over the last four games. Israelsson did the rest of the work as he blanked the Storm, including stopping all 10 shots he faced in the third period.
Team USA 1 @ Green Bay Gamblers 4
Ryan Lough scored two goals to lead the Gamblers to their third consecutive victory. Lough wasted little time in getting Green Bay on the board, scoring just over two minutes after the opening faceoff. Nick Boka tied the contest midway through the opening frame with his second goal in as many nights for Team USA’s Under-17 squad. Nick Schmaltz put the Gamblers back on top early in the second, his fourth goal over his last three games. Green Bay then put it away in the third as Lough tallied his second of the night and Sebastian Weberg added an empty netter in the closing moments. Cam Hackett made 29 saves to earn the victory in front of 6,707 fans at the Resch Center in Green Bay.
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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