AROUND THE LEAGUE
New Home for Herd…The Sioux Falls Stampede had a record-breaking night on Saturday as they played their first-ever contest in the brand new Denny Sanford PREMIER Center. A total of 10,678 fans filled the arena to capacity, which not only established a new team single-game attendance record but was the largest crowd ever to witness an indoor sporting event in the state of South Dakota. Tyler Sheehy of the visiting Waterloo Black Hawks scored the first-ever goal in the building a little more than nine minutes into the contest, but Parker Tuomie then netted the first Stampede goal in the new arena just a couple minutes later, which was his first USHL goal. A pair of 2014 NHL Draft picks scored in the second period for Sioux Falls, Dakota Joshua (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Tyler Nanne (New York Rangers), while Lawton Courtnall also tallied for the Stampede against his former club. Waterloo would spoil the home opener for Sioux Falls with a 6-4 victory.
Hot Bucs…The Des Moines Buccaneers continued to stay hot early in the season as they claimed a 4-0 victory against the Omaha Lancers on Friday and beat the same club 5-3 on Tuesday to remain unbeaten in regulation (4-0-1). The Bucs are getting it done defensively as they have allowed just six goals in regulation and are outscoring opponents by a combined 20-6 margin. They also turned aside all three power plays for Omaha and have the USHL’s best penalty kill at 92% (23-of-25). Goaltender Ryan Ruck stopped all 27 shots he faced on Friday for his second career USHL shutout. He ranks third in the USHL in both GAA (1.67) and SV% (.948) while teammate Ryland Pashovitz is first in the League in both GAA (0.48) and SV% (.978). Tanner Karty netted a pair of goals in Friday’s victory, his second multi-goal game of the season. His first goal was his second game-winner of the season, and his second tally was the 35th goal of his USHL career.
The Force is Strong…It was an ideal time for Dixon Bowen to score his first USHL goal as netted the game-winner in the third period for the Fargo Force as they earned a 4-3 victory against the Waterloo Black Hawks on Friday. The win gave them eight points (4-1-0) in the standings, tied for the second most in the USHL. Goaltender Mathias Israelsson made 30 saves to get the win and improve his record to 4-1-0. It was his second win of the season against Waterloo, his former team.
Streaking to the Top…A pair of Waterloo Black Hawks forwards are riding point streaks that have propelled them to the top of USHL scoring. Tyler Sheehy has points in four straight games, including three points (1g, 2a) on Saturday, while Brock Boeser has put himself on the scoresheet in all five contests this season, including three goals over the two-game weekend for the Hawks. Boeser tallied the game-winner on Saturday for a two-goal night and is now tied for the USHL lead with six goals this season.
50 for the Kid…Youngstown Phantoms forward Kyle Connor hit a significant milestone on Saturday when he netted a goal in the 3-2 shootout victory over the Bloomington Thunder. It was the 50th goal of his USHL career, and it extended the point streak for the 17-year-old as he has found the scoresheet in all five games this season (2g, 4a). He is just the 18th player in the USHL Tier 1 era (2002-present) to reach the 50-goal mark for his career and just the third to do such before his 18th birthday, joining Taylor Cammarata (Waterloo Black Hawks, 2010-12) and Seth Ambroz (Omaha Lancers, 2008-11).
Turning on the Red Light…Forward Matheson Iacopelli, a 2014 NHL Draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks, scored three goals over a two-game weekend series against the Lincoln Stars. He netted the game-winner in Friday’s 3-2 victory before scoring two goals, his eighth USHL career multi-goal effort, in Saturday’s 4-3 loss. Iacopelli has scored in five of his team’s seven games this season and is tied for the USHL lead with six goals. He is three shy of 50 for his USHL career after putting up 41 last season for the Lumberjacks.
Bringing the Thunder…The expansion Bloomington Thunder earned three of a possible four points in the standings over the weekend to put themselves near the top of the Eastern Conference standings. They established a team high in goals during the 6-2 victory against the Green Bay Gamblers on Friday. Ryan Galt netted a pair and then added another, the 30th of his USHL career, in Saturday’s 3-2 shootout loss to Youngstown. Defenseman Vince Pedrie tallied the game-winner on Friday, the first game-winner of his USHL career, and goaltender Logan Halladay made 22 saves to earn the victory and improve to 2-0-0 this season.
Battle for Wisconsin…On Saturday, the Green Bay Gamblers and Madison Capitols played the first matchup of Wisconsin-based USHL teams since the 1994-95 season which was the inaugural season for the Gamblers and final season for the original Capitols. Madison took the early upper hand on Saturday as they built a 3-1 after two periods of play. Green Bay then outscored Madison 3-1 in the third period as Michael Houle and Grant Frederic both scored their first USHL goal, and Mitch Snyder, who netted his first USHL goal earlier in the contest, converted a penalty shot with just over four minutes remaining in regulation to force overtime. Sam Miletic then completed the comeback when he scored the winner a little more than three minutes into the extra session. Wisconsin native Sam McCormick netted his first USHL goal for Madison while Wisconsin native Mitch Hults tallied his second of the season for the Capitols.
First Win Gives First Loss…The Omaha Lancers captured their first win of the season on Saturday, knocking off the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders who were the only remaining undefeated team in the USHL. Shane Gersich, a 2014 NHL Draft pick of the Washington Capitals, scored both goals for Omaha in the 2-1 victory. Goaltender Hayden Hawkey, a 2014 NHL Draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens, made 24 saves to record his first win of the season. Gersich then netted two more goals in Tuesday’s 5-3 loss to Des Moines and now has five goals in six games this season.
Powerful Stuff…The Youngstown Phantoms have scored at least one power play goal in all five of their games this season, including a combined 3-of-8 on the man-advantage during the weekend. They are tied for the USHL lead with six power play goals this season and rank tied for second with a 26.1% conversion rate with the extra man. Youngstown is also currently second in the League on the penalty kill (90%), allowing just two total power play goals over their first five games.
Steel Snap…The Chicago Steel scored twice in the third period on Saturday to snap a three-game slide (0-2-1) as Connor Murphy and Robby Jackson netted goals just 2:10 apart to give their team a 2-1 victory over the Tri-City Storm. Goaltender John Lethemon made 34 saves to earn the win, his first in the USHL.
Saints Go Road Marching…The Dubuque Fighting Saints earned their first road win (1-2-0) on Saturday as they claimed a 5-2 victory over the Sioux City Musketeers. Brett Boeing netted a goal just 20 seconds into the contest, making it five straight periods that he had scored a goal. Seamus Malone tallied his first of the season, which was the 30th goal of his USHL career. J.D. Dudek, a 2014 NHL Draft pick of the New Jersey Devils, scored his first USHL goal in the contest, which proved to be the game-winner.
Goal-Getters…Forward Sam Kurker, 2012 NHL Draft pick of the St. Louis Blues, netted a goal in both contests for the Sioux City Musketeers during the weekend and has now scored in four straight games. Adam Johnson also scored in both games, including the game-winner in Friday’s 4-1 victory over the Sioux Falls Stampede, and has now lit the lamp in three of the last four contests.
Noteworthy…Forward Jack Rowe produced four points (1g, 3a) over two weekend contests for the Muskegon Lumberjacks and is currently tied for fourth in USHL scoring with seven points (3g, 4a) this season…Luke Kunin scored less than three minutes into Team USA’s 6-3 win against Youngstown on Friday. He has scored in all three USHL games for his team this season and has totaled four goals over those three contests…The first USHL goal for defenseman Cameron Spicer proved to be the game-winner for the Tri-City Storm in Friday’s victory over Chicago…Niko Hildenbrand tallied two goals for the Waterloo Black Hawks in Saturday’s 6-4 win over Sioux Falls… Michael Gillespie netted a pair of goals, including the game-winner, to give the Lincoln Stars their first regulation victory on Saturday in a 4-3 win over Muskegon…Cam Hackett made a USHL career high 40 saves on Saturday for Lincoln to earn his first win of the season.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 13th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2014-15. A record 35 players were chosen in the 2014 NHL Draft and more than 300 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. For more information, visit us on the web at www.USHL.com or visit the League’s social media platforms, including Facebook (/ushlhockey), twitter (@USHL), and YouTube (/ushlinteractive). Fans can also watch USHL action all season long, live or on-demand via FASTHockey (ushl.fasthockey.com).
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