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Week 23 Recap: Friday

02/27/2016, 9:15am CST

Fargo Force forward Denis Smirnov's four-goal night headlines USHL Friday night action, Riley Tufte scores in Fargo return.



Fargo scored a five-goal first period to win big against Lincoln. Denis Smirnov tied an individual single game record with four goals, and added an assist. Smirnov is now sixth in USHL scoring with 46 points in 44 games. Smirnov reached the 20-goal mark for the first time in his USHL career. Captain Austin Pooley scored twice in the win, and forward Riley Tufte scored in his Force return. Tufte has six goals in 13 games this season. Rookie forward Blake Lizotte dished out four assists on the night and is third in USHL rookie scoring.


Tri-City goaltender Jake Kielly stopped all 30 shots he faced for his 17th win and third shutout of the year. Kielly is 8-0-2-0 in his last 10 starts and has helped Tri-City claim first in the Western Conference. Edmonton Oilers prospect John Marino picked up two assists from the blue line, his fifth multi-point game of the year. NHL Draft eligible forward Wade Allison dished out two assists, his eighth multi-point game of the year and his fourth consecutive multi-point game. Allison has 11 points in his last five games. Carson Meyer scored his 26th goal of the year to maintain his point-per-game pace.


Cedar Rapids goaltender Benjamin Blacker stopped all 31 shots for his 25th win of the year and his third shutout. Blacker is 12-3-0-0 in his last 15 starts and has helped the RoughRiders tie for first in the Eastern Conference. Ross Colton scored his 25th goal of the year and is now tied for fourth in USHL scoring. Colton is also fourth in goals scored.


Dubuque goaltender Hunter Miska stopped all 28 shots he faced for his 25th win on the year and first career USHL shutout. In total, five different Fighting Saints scored in the 5-0 win to keep Dubuque tied for first in the Eastern Conference. Zach Solow, Evan Smith, Colin Theisen and Carson Vance all were credited with multi-point performances. NHL Draft eligible forward Willie Knierim scored his 11th goal of the year, one shy of his season production last year. Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Ryan Zuhlsdorf was credited with an assist in his Fighting Saints debut.


Bloomington goaltender Hayden Lavigne backed his shutout performance Thursday night by stopping 24 of 25 shots in a crucial game for the Thunder. The University of Michigan commit is 19-8-0-1 on the year. Forward Jake Durflinger scored the game-winning goal with five minutes left in the third. The uncommitted forward also added an assist on Jake Slaker’s first period power play goal. Bloomington is now three points ahead of Youngstown for the fourth and final spot in the Eastern Conference.


Newly acquired defenseman Jake Ryczek scored twice and added an assist for the Waterloo Black Hawks. The NHL Draft eligible defenseman has scored five points in three games with Waterloo, including two goals. Michael Davies added a goal and assist at the blue line as well. Goaltender Cale Morris stopped 23 of 24 shots for his 12th win of the year. Waterloo jumped into fourth place with the win, and is one point ahead of Sioux Falls.


USHL scoring leader Rem Pitlick tallied a pair of goals to steal the victory for the Muskegon Lumberjacks. After being down 2-1 with two minutes left in the third period, Pitlick scored the game-tying goal with assists from Graham Lillibridge and Matej Paulovic. Pitlick scored again in overtime, this time with less than 50 seconds remaining in the game for his 32nd goal of the year. The goals extended his home scoring streak to 18 games, and his home goal-scoring streak to 12 games. Ottawa Senators goaltending prospect Joey Daccord stopped 37 of 39 shots for his 16th win of the year. Paulovic, a Dallas Stars prospect, finished the game with two assists.


Des Moines’ four-goal first and second period was enough to hang on for a 4-3 win. Defensemen Chris Allemon, Alec Rauhauser and Brendan Demier all scored multi-point games. Forward Ty Pelton-Byce also finished with two points, his sixth multi-point game this season. Goaltender Jan Ruzicka finished the game with 32 saves to earn his 11th win on the year.





Bloomington Thunder [2] at Youngstown Phantoms [1] BOXSCORE

Omaha Lancers [2] at Muskegon Lumberjacks [3] OT BOXSCORE

Sioux Falls Stampede [3] at Des Moines Buccaneers [4] BOXSCORE

Lincoln Stars [5] at Fargo Force [8] BOXSCORE

Sioux City Musketeers [1] at Waterloo Black Hawks [6] BOXSCORE

Cedar Rapids RoughRiders [2] at Chicago Steel [0] BOXSCORE

Madison Capitols [0] at Tri-City Storm [3] BOXSCORE

Green Bay Gamblers [0] at Dubuque Fighting Saints [5] BOXSCORE


Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 14th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2015-16.  A record 37 players were chosen in the 2015 NHL Draft and more than 375 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.

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