Youngstown Phantoms – 3 vs. Team USA (U18) – 5
Team USA’s U18 squad moved the NTDP’s USHL record to 2-0-0. Both teams scored once in the opening frame – Brady Tkachuk for Team USA and Coale Norris for Youngstown. Team USA then scored three second period goals from Josh Norris, Jacob Tortora and Evan Barratt to take the lead. Despite a pair of tallies from the Phantoms in the final frame, Team USA was able to hang on for the victory. Max Gildon added two assists for Team USA and Dylan St. Cyr stopped 23 of the 26 shots he faced to earn the win between the pipes.
Muskegon Lumberjacks – 7 vs. Bloomington Thunder – 3
Three goals in both the first and second periods gave the Muskegon Lumberjacks a 7-3 road victory over the Bloomington Thunder to even their record to 1-1. Logan Drevitch, Scooter Brickey and Zach Berzolla were the goal scorers for the Jacks in the opening frame. Tallies by Bloomington’s Jake Durflinger and Erik Ullman made it a 3-2 game early in the second, but Muskegon answered with goals from Berzolla, Matt Steeves and Casey Gilling to hold a 6-2 lead after 40 minutes of play. Both teams scored once in the final frame – William Fallstrom from Bloomington and Drevitch again for Muskegon – to give the Lumberjacks the win in new head coach John Lafontaine’s first game behind the bench. Quinnipiac University commit Keith Petruzzelli stopped 28 of 31 shots to help Muskegon to a split on the weekend.
Waterloo Black Hawks – 1 vs. Des Moines Buccaneers – 3
In the season opener for both clubs, a pair of third period goals gave the Des Moines Buccaneers a 3-1 home victory over the Waterloo Black Hawks at Buccaneer Arena. Christopher Berger opened the scoring with just 2:02 remaining in the first period to give the Bucs a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes. A late second period tally by Waterloo’s Emil Ohrvall evened the score heading into the third period. Des Moines then pulled away in the third period with goals from Erik Holmstrom and Kobe Roth. Collin Rutherford added a pair of assists for the Buccaneers, and Jan Ruzicka was the well-deserving first Star of the Game. The Czech netminder was spectacular between the pipes for Des Moines, making 35 saves on 36 Black Hawks shots.
Dubuque Fighting Saints – 2 vs. Cedar Rapids RoughRiders – 1 (OT)
In a battle between two of the fiercest rivals in the USHL, Jacob Semik netted his first USHL goal in overtime to give the Dubuque Fighting Saints a 2-1 road win over the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. It was an extremely close game throughout, with Cedar Rapids opening the scoring 8:50 into the first period with a Sam Sternschein tally. The score remained 1-0 in favor of the Riders until the Saints’ Regen Cavanagh tied the game about halfway through the third period, and the two teams headed to extra time. Veli-Matti Tiuraniemi and veteran Dubuque forward Dallas Gerads assisted on Semik’s overtime winner to give the Saints the victory in each team’s season opener. Jaxon Castor stopped 26 Cedar Rapids shots to earn the win in a game where Dubuque outshot the RoughRiders 30-28.
Omaha Lancers – 1 vs. Sioux City Musketeers – 2
The Sioux City Musketeers opened their 2016-17 season with a home win over the Omaha Lancers in a hard-fought game that featured 80 combined penalty minutes between the two teams. Connor McMenamin opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal with an assist from Jackson Keane to give the Musketeers a 1-0 lead just under two minutes into the game. Sioux City had the one-goal advantage heading into the second period, but Erlends Klavins evened the scoring early in the second period. The two teams were still tied heading into the third period, and it stayed that way for most of the final twenty minutes until Keane picked up the game-winning goal and second point of the night with just 2:29 left in the game. Brady Ferner and Keegan Mantaro tallied assists on the Keane goal. Matiss Kivlenieks was the winning goaltender for the Muskies as he turned aside 20 of 21 Omaha attempts.
Tri-City Storm – 2 vs. Sioux Falls Stampede – 3 (SO)
The Sioux Falls Stampede opened their season with a 3-2 shootout win over the Tri-City Storm in front of 9,014 fans at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center. It was an entertaining, back and forth game that saw the Stampede take the lead on two separate occasions before Tri-City came storming back. Both teams scored once in both the first and second periods. Eric MacAdams gave Sioux Falls a 1-0 lead 7:46 into the opening frame before Wyllum Deveaux made it a 1-1 game with just 59 seconds remaining in the period. Jason O’Neill made it 2-1 Stampede 2:20 into the second period, then Paul Washe tied the game once more with just under nine minutes to play in the second period. After a scoreless third period and overtime session, the two teams went to a shootout. Matthew Quercia and MacAdams scored in the shootout to give Sioux Falls the victory. Jeremy Swayman was spectacular between the pipes for Stampede. The Anchorage, AK native stopped 48 of the 50 shots he faced including both Tri-City shootout attempts.
Green Bay Gamblers – 0 vs. Chicago Steel – 4
The Steel opened up their season at home inside Fox Valley Ice Arena with a 4-0 shutout of the Green Bay Gamblers. Johnny Walker scored the first Chicago goal of the game just 1:15 into the opening period. Jake Jaremko and Greg Printz found the back of the net in the second period to stake Chicago to a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes of play. Printz then scored his second of the game to give the Steel a 4-0 victory. Wyatt Aamodt picked up a pair of assists for Chicago, and new Steel netminder Ales Stezka was stellar in his first appearance for Chicago. The former Sioux Falls Stampede goaltender and Minnesota Wild prospect stopped all 24 Green Bay shots he faced - seven in the first period, six in the second period, and 11 in the third period - for the second shutout of his USHL career.
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.