Tri-City Storm have benefited from two first-year players in Clark Cup Playoffs. Forwards Carson Meyer and Alex Limoges rank first and third in team scoring heading into the Clark Cup Final, but what is more fascinating is how they got there.
Meyer arrived to the Storm this season as an 18-year old winger from the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets. The Powell, OH native was selected by the Storm in the 2014 USHL Phase II Draft and had a productive 2014-15 season with the U18 Blue Jackets. Meyer joined Tri-City for two games at the end of the regular season, and decided to stay for playoffs.
Additionally, Meyer gained international experience earlier this season with USA Hockey and was able to help Team USA earn a bronze medal while facing the high stakes of elimination hockey.
“I was here for playoffs and I got to experience the end of it,” said Meyer. “The disappointment when we lost in the Conference Final, I have an understanding of how it feels to come up short. Obviously I don’t want that to happen to our team this year.”
Limoges, considered a USHL rookie due to his later birth date, wasn’t on the Storm roster last season when the team was fighting for a Clark Cup Final berth. He would later be selected in the 2015 USHL Phase II Draft in the first round and joined the team this season.
The Winchester, VA native made a move from wing to center early in the season, a first in his career. Not only did a new position test his confidence, but also a serious injury put a halt to his season.
“After my seventh game I broke my wrist, which held me out a couple months,” said Limoges. “My mindset has just been to do everything I can to make it simple, let the game come to me, do whatever my team needs me to do.”
Limoges went on to score 39 points in 43 games this season, finishing tied for fourth in USHL rookie scoring. The offensive production hasn’t stopped in playoffs when games become more physical and there is less space to find the back of the net. In eight games the rookie has nine points, including two game-winning goals.
Both players have set aside individual accolades and recognition and want to remain focused on winning a Clark Cup not just for them, but for the city of Kearney and for the club that has treated them so well in their first year of junior hockey.
“I think we play with a chip on our shoulder every game,” said Meyer. “We’ve only made it to Final one time, so I don’t know if teams have full respect for us, but obviously we’re showing we deserve respect around the League.”
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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