Photo by Hickling Images
The United States Hockey League announced the CCM Forward, Defenseman and Goaltender of the Week of Week 1 of the 2016-17 season. Minnesota Wild goaltending prospect Ales Stezka and Fargo Force captain Blake Lizotte won weekly honors for the first time in their respective careers, while rookie defenseman Clayton Phillips joined his Fargo teammate in the weekly honors. CCM Hockey is the official equipment provider of the USHL.
Forward: Blake Lizotte – Fargo Force
1 GP: 0 goals, 5 assists, +2 rating
Lizotte picked up first start honors after Fargo’s decisive 7-4 win to open the season. Lizotte not only factored in on five of Fargo’s seven goals, but also picked up three primary assists on the night. The Lindstrom, MN native currently leads the USHL in scoring with five points after scoring 46 points in 54 games last season. The St. Cloud State University commit previously played for the Minot Minotauros (NAHL) and Chisago Lakes (USHS) prior to being selected by the Fargo Force in the 2015 USHL Phase II Draft, 4th overall.
Defenseman: Clayton Phillips – Fargo Force
1 GP: 2 goals, 0 assists, +2 rating
Phillips wasted no time making an impression on the USHL, scoring his first and second career goals just five minutes apart. Phillips fired home a power play goal with just 10 seconds remaining in the first period, and would tally his second just four minutes into the middle frame. Phillips currently leads all USHL defensemen in scoring, and one was of three rookie defensemen to score their first career USHL goals this weekend. The first year NHL Draft eligible defenseman previously played for Edina High School (USHS) prior to being selected by the Fargo Force in the 2015 USHL Phase I Draft, 9th overall. Phillips is committed to the University of Minnesota.
Goaltender: Ales Stezka – Chicago Steel
1-0-0, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 SV%
Stezka stopped all 24 shots he faced in a 4-0 Chicago Steel win. The Minnesota Wild prospect was the only goaltender to record a shutout over the weekend, the second of his USHL career. The performance was the first time in Chicago Steel history that a goaltender recorded a shutout on opening night in his team debut. Stezka previously played for the Czech National U16-U20 teams and Bili Tygri Liberec (Czech U20) prior to being selected by the Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) in the 2015 USHL Phase II Draft. The Liberec, CZE native was selected in the 2015 NHL Draft in the 4th round, 111th overall by the Minnesota Wild.
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.
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