Photo by Hickling Images
Youngstown Phantoms  vs. Muskegon Lumberjacks 
The Phantoms scored twice in the first, four times in the second and once in the third to earn the weekend sweep over the Lumberjacks and move into a tie for second in the Eastern Conference, despite being outshot 33-29 in the game. Alex Esposito had a hat trick in the win and opened the scoring along with Brett Murray to give the Phantoms a 2-0 lead after one period of play. Esposito and Coale Norris doubled the Youngstown lead to 4-0 before Matt Steeves scored the first Muskegon goal of the game. Murray added his second goal of the game and Nicolas Werbik scored late in the middle period to give the Phantoms a 6-1 lead after 40 minutes. Esposito added his third goal of the game in the third period, and despite three Muskegon goals in the frame from Garrett VanWyhe, Koby Bender and Jordan Timmons, Youngstown was able to hang on for the 7-4 victory. The Phantoms have now won two straight games. Just like last night, special teams were the key for the Youngstown, who finished with a pair of power play goals and 3/3 on the penalty kill. Werbik had three points, Murray finished with five, and Ivan Kulbakov moved to 4-0-0 by stopping 29 shots. Kulbakov has a 1.50 GAA in his four wins.
Omaha Lancers  vs. Fargo Force 
The Lancers won their fourth straight game and moved their record back to .500 at 4-4 with a 5-2 victory to earn the weekend road sweep of the Fargo Force. Pierce Crawford scored a pair of goals, giving him three on the weekend. He opened the scoring in the first period and Omaha also got goals from Jack Randl and Austin Alger to take a 3-0 lead in the first period. Crawford and Connor Marshall scored in the second period to make it 5-0 after 40 minutes. Hank Crone and Blake Lizotte both tallied in the third period for Fargo. Alex Mehnert, Erlends Klavins and Filip Rydstrom all picked up two helpers, and Peter Thome remained unbeaten between the pipes for the Lancers by stopping 38 of 40 Fargo shots.
Lincoln Stars  vs. Tri-City Storm 
The defending Clark Cup champions scored twice in the final 20 minutes to earn a 4-3 come from behind over in-state rival Lincoln. Philip Alftberg scored the first two goals of the game to give the Storm a 2-0 lead before Mike Gillespie made it a 2-1 game heading into the second period. The Stars scored the only two goals of the second period courtesy of Justin Richards and Ethen Frank to take a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes. Alex Limoges tied the game just over five minutes into the final frame, and Bryan Yoon’s first goal of the season, an unassisted power play tally, ended up being the game winner. It was one of two Tri-City power play goals on the night. Dayton Rasmussen stopped 24 Lincoln shots to give the Storm their second straight victory.
Madison Capitols  vs. Chicago Steel 
The Steel moved their season-opening winning streak to six games with their second shutout of the season, a 4-0 blanking of the Madison Capitols at Fox Valley Ice Arena. Chicago scored once in both the first and second periods and twice in the third. Baker Shore picked up his third of the year in the first period, Johnny Walker tallied his fourth in the middle frame, and Jack Badini earned a pair of goals in the final 20 minutes. Walker, Badini, Reilly Walsh and Wyatt Aamodt all finished with multiple points. Ales Stezka returned to the net for the first time since opening night and picked up his second shutout in as many starts, stopping all 35 shots he faced. Stezka has turned aside all 59 shots he’s seen in his two appearances between the pipes this year. The Steel head into week five with a perfect 6-0-0-0 record.
Dubuque Fighting Saints  vs. Sioux City Musketeers 
Three third period goals were the difference for the Musketeers as they were able to salvage a weekend split and knock off the Dubuque Fighting Saints 4-1 at Tyson Events Center. Edmonton Oilers prospect Aapeli Rasanen put the Musketeers up 1-0 haflway through the first period. The score remained 1-0 until Zach Solow scored his third of the season to even the game at one four minutes into the second period. The two teams headed into the third period deadlocked at a goal apiece before Eeli Tolvanen, Jacob Wilson and CJ Dodero all scored in the final frame for Sioux City. Tolvanen’s goal was the Boston College commit’s fourth on the season and both Wilson and Dodero scored empty net tallies. Rasanen, Tolvanen and Wilson all had multiple points in the victory. Matiss Kivleinieks made 18 save to earn his fourth win of the year.
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders  vs. Des Moines Buccaneers 
The Buccaneers moved back into the win column after yesterday’s tough loss as they defeated the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders 5-1 inside Buccaneer Arena. Des Moines scored the first four goals of the game. Mario Ferraro’s first of the season was the only goal of the first period. Eric Otto and Tommy Parrotino each scored in the middle frame to make it a 3-0 Buccaneers lead after 40 minutes. Parrotino scored his second of the game in the third and added a goal on Isaac Johnson’s tally, the final Des Moines goal of the game. Aleksi Halme was the lone goal scorer for the RoughRiders. Nick MacNab made 23 saves for his second victory of the season. With the win, Des Moines is now just a single point out of the top spot in the Western Conference.
Bloomington Thunder  vs. Green Bay Gamblers  (OT)
The Gamblers now sport a four-game winning streak thanks to a 1-0 overtime victory at home over the Bloomington Thunder. It was a very even game in all aspects. Both teams registered 30 shots on goal while both Green Bay and Bloomington were a combined 8/8 on the penalty kill. After the first 60 minutes ended in a scoreless deadlock, it appeared that overtime would come and go without a goal until Jared Spooner’s third goal of the season won the game with just nine seconds remaining in extra time. Chris Grando assisted on the Spooner tally. David Hrenak stopped all 30 shots he saw for his second win and first USHL shutout.
Waterloo Black Hawks  vs. Sioux Falls Stampede 
The Black Hawks are now riding a six-game win streak, tied for the league-high with the Chicago Steel, thanks to a wild 9-5 road victory over the Sioux Falls Stampede at the PREMIER Center. Waterloo is now alone at the top of the Western Conference standings with nine points. The Black Hawks scored the first five goals of the game to take a 5-0 lead after the first period of play thanks to tallies from Jackson Cates, Kevin Charyszyn, Garrett Klee, Nick Swaney and Emil Ohrvall. The second period was more of a back-and-forth affair, with Shane Bowers, Yuki Miura and Jack Drury scoring for Waterloo and Austin Albrecht, Jack Becker and Colin Swoyer all tallying for the Stampede. Sioux Falls then scored the first two goals of the third period from Eric MacAdams and Lean Bergmann to get within 8-5, but Miura scored his second of the game to seal the victory. Cates, Miura and Drury all scored their first USHL goals in the win, a win that saw 13 Black Hawks earn at least one point. Seven of those 13 players had multiple points. In goal, Severi Isokangas stopped 30 of the 35 shots he faced to pick up the second win in as many starts for the Finnish netminder.
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.