Photo by Brandon Anderson
Muskegon Lumberjacks – 3 vs. Bloomington Thunder – 2
A pair of unanswered second period goals vaulted the Muskegon Lumberjacks to a come from behind 3-2 victory over their Eastern Conference foe Bloomington Thunder in the first game of the 2016 USHL Fall Classic East in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Thunder kicked off the scoring just 37 seconds into the game, with Bloomington captain Tarek Baker tallying his second of the preseason, an unassisted goal, to give his team a 1-0 lead. The Lumberjacks responded about four minutes later as 2016 All-Rookie USHL First Team forward Collin Adams found the back of the net to even the score at one. Ethan Somoza broke the tie midway through the second period, but Matt Steeves drew Muskegon even once more 47 seconds later. Adams scored the game-winning goal with just over a minute remaining in the frame to give Muskegon the 3-2 win, a score that would hold for the remainder of the contest.
Madison Capitols – 4 vs. Chicago Steel – 3 (OT)
Madison tied the game late in the third period and went on to win in overtime for their first game of the Fall Classic. For the second time in as many games, a goal was scored in the first 30 seconds of the game. Returning Chicago forward and Minnesota State University, Mankato commit Jake Jaremko, who also tallied two assists in the game, found the back of the net 22 seconds into the game to give the Steel an early 1-0 lead. Kamil Sadlocha evened the score late in the period, and former Steel forward Marcel Godbout gave the Capitols the lead early in the second. The Steel responded with a Walker Duehr power play goal, his third of the preseason, to tie the game at two. The Steel then took the lead for the second time in the game with a Marc Johnstone tally. Madison responded late, however, as Godbout scored his second goal of the game with just 12 seconds remaining in the game to take the two teams to overtime. Eugene Fadyeyev was credited with the unassisted game-winning goal halfway through the extra session. Goaltender Drew Hotte picked up the win in goal by stopping 23 of 26 Chicago shots.
Green Bay Gamblers – 5 vs. Dubuque Fighting Saints – 2
Two goals in both the first and second periods spurred the Green Bay Gamblers to a 5-2 victory over their Eastern Conference rival Dubuque Fighting Saints in the first meeting between the two teams since last season’s Eastern Conference Semifinal series. The Gamblers picked up the first two goals of the game with Rory Herrman and Casey Middlestadt staking Green Bay to a 2-0 lead after the first period. The Saints stormed back in the middle frame as Zach Solow and Patrick Kudla tallied goals to even the score at two goals apiece. Green Bay would strike back instantly as John Leonard scored just nine seconds after Kudla’s score. Matt Hudie then added one goal in both the second and third periods to give Green Bay the 5-2 victory. Both Dryden McKay and Maxim Zhukov split time in net for the Gamblers in the win. McKay stopped 14 of the 16 shots he faced, while Zhukov turned aside all 16 Saints attempts he saw.
Youngstown Phantoms – 3 vs. Cedar Rapids RoughRiders – 1
In a tight-checking, defensive battle, the Youngstown Phantoms took down Cedar Rapids RoughRiders by a score of 3-1 in the final game of Thursday night at the USHL Fall Classic East. The defending Anderson Cup champions opened the scoring in the first period. Owen Guy completed a beautiful passing play with Nick Bowman and rookie TJ Walsh to take a 1-0 lead. The Phantoms would then tie the game in the second period with an Alex Esposito power play goal. The game would stay deadlocked until the final frame when Youngstown rookie forward Max Ellis fired a shot past Cedar Rapids rookie netminder Drew Deridder to give the Phantoms the lead. Youngstown would then add an empty net goal to seal the victory. Despite the loss, Deridder was solid all night as he stopped 20 of 21 shots through 40 minutes of play. Ivan Kulbakov picked up the win between the pipes for the Phantoms.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 15th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2016-17. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in four consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 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.