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USHL Weekly: Week 17

01/19/2017, 3:00pm CST
By Kevin Meyers, USHL

USHL team updates, league news and NCAA alumni news.


USHL Headlines:


Players of the Week:  Solow, Del Gaizo, St. Cyr earn weekly honors


Recent college commits:  Veli-Matti Tiuraniemi | Shane McMahan | Philip Alftberg | Bobby Kaiser


NHL Central Scouting Midterm Rankings: 50 current USHL players, 12 alumni named to list


Weekly podcast: The U-Show | Subscribe on iTunes


USHLTV: Subscribe to watch nightly highlights



NHL Alumni News


Auston Matthews (Team USA) leads all NHL rookies in scoring with 38 points (22G, 16A)…  Matthew Tkachuk (Team USA) is tied for fourth in that category with 29 points (8G, 21A)…  Zach Werenski (Team USA) in sixth with 26 points (6G, 20A)…  Torey Krug (Indiana Ice) has six points (3G, 3A) in the last 10 days, second among all NHL defensemen in that stretch…



NCAA Alumni News


Penn State University is the new #1 team in college hockey. The Nittany Lions have 17 players on the roster with USHL experience…  11 USHL alumni that are playing college hockey were named to the NHL Central Scouting Players to Watch List on Wednesday…  Mike Vecchione (Tri-City Storm) is tied atop the college hockey scoring race with 41 points (18G, 23A)… 



NCAA Award Winners


Kyle Schmidt (Sioux City Musketeers) and Charles Williams (Lincoln Stars) were named Atlantic Hockey Players of the Week…  Alex Sakellaropoulos (Chicago Steel) was named ECAC Goalie of the Week…  Zach Aston-Reese (Lincoln Stars) and Tyler Irvine (Muskegon Lumberjacks) earned Hockey East weekly honors…  Chase Berger (Tri-City Storm), Vinni Lettieri (Lincoln Stars) and Christian Frey (Ohio State University) swept the Big 10 weekly awards…  Anthony Louis (Team USA) and Jack Ahcan (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders) were named NCHC weekly honorees…  C.J. Franklin (Sioux Falls Stampede) and Max Humitz (Tri-City Storm) were named WCHA Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week, respectively…



Bloomington Thunder


Last’s Week Record: 2-1-0-0

Overall Record: 16-13-3-0 (35 PTS, 6th in East)

Upcoming Games: Saturday, 1/21 at Team USA, Sunday, 1/22 vs. Youngstown


The Thunder picked up a pair of overtime victories over the Tri-City Storm Friday and Saturday before dropping Monday’s game to the Youngstown Phantoms. Defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk has been on a tear as of late. The recent University of Wisconsin commit has nine points in his last seven games and is currently sporting a five-game point streak. Gabriel Mollot-Hill has continued to play well between the pipes. He is currently fourth among all USHL goaltenders in SV% (.923) and sixth in GAA (2.21). The Thunder will look to get back on the winning track and gain ground in the Eastern Conference standings over the weekend with a game at Team USA on Saturday and in Bloomington against the Youngstown Phantoms on Sunday.



Cedar Rapids RoughRiders


Last Week’s Record: 0-2-0-0

Overall Record: 4-27-1-1 (10 PTS, 9th in East)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 1/20 vs. Team USA, Saturday, 1/21 vs. Madison


The RoughRiders dropped their game on Friday to the Dubuque Fighting Saints before losing a hard-fought, entertaining 5-4 game in Lincoln to the Stars on Saturday. Jordan Timmons has been a nice addition to the roster since being acquired from Muskegon earlier in the month. The University of Connecticut commit has three points in the four games he has played for Cedar Rapids. He will look to add to those totals over the weekend as the RoughRiders host Team USA on Friday and the Madison Capitols on Saturday.



Chicago Steel


Last Week’s Record: 2-0-0-0

Overall Record: 23-6-1-3 (50 PTS, 1st in East)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 1/20 vs. Madison, Saturday, 1/21 vs. Team USA


With two wins over the weekend, Chicago extended their lead atop the USHL standings to five points over Sioux City. They are also the first team this season to reach the 50-point mark. Aleksi Halme made his debut with the team on Saturday after being acquired from the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders and did not disappoint. He scored a highlight-reel goal and picked up a pair of assists in the team’s 6-2 victory over Team USA on Saturday. The Steel lead the league in wins (23), goals for/game (3.55) and on the penalty kill (91.0%). They are also tied for second in goals against/game (2.30). Scoring first has also been a big reason for Chicago’s success. The Steel have scored first in 60.6% of their games and are 16-1-0-3 this season when scoring first.  They will look to continue their winning ways over the weekend as they welcome Madison on Friday and Team USA on Saturday.



Des Moines Buccaneers


Last Week’s Record: 1-2-0-0

Overall Record: 18-11-1-2 (39 PTS, 5th in West)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 1/20 at Omaha, Saturday, 1/21 at Sioux City


Des Moines comes into the weekend just a single point out of the top half of the Western Conference standings. The big story of last week was the play of defenseman Mario Ferraro. In addition to tallying a pair of assists on Friday, including on the Buccaneers’ overtime winner, he was sensational in last Tuesday’s USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. David Keefer also played well over the weekend, tallying three points (2G, 1A). Jan Ruzicka was busy between the pipes, stopping 50 shots in his two appearances over the weekend. Des Moines will look to jump back into the top half of the West this weekend as they visit Omaha on Friday before traveling to Sioux City on Saturday.



Dubuque Fighting Saints


Last Week’s Record: 2-0-0-0

Overall Record: 21-10-1-1 (44 PTS, 2nd in East)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 1/20 and Saturday, 1/21 vs. Youngstown


Zach Solow continues to be the dominant story for the Fighting Saints. The Northeastern commit is now on a 20-game point streak, with 32 points (6G, 26A) in those contests. He now leads the USHL in assists and points and was named CCM/USHL Forward of the Week after a four-assist weekend. Dubuque also has two other players on the roster with impressive point streaks to give them the three longest active point streaks in the league. Quinn Preston now sports a 10-game point streak, while Cole Guttman’s point streak is up to nine games. Those three players, along with the rest of the roster, have put Dubuque comfortably in the second spot in the Eastern Conference standings, just six points behind the USHL-leading Chicago Steel. Dubuque will host the Youngstown Phantoms at the Mystique Ice Center in a Friday-Saturday series.



Fargo Force


Last Week’s Record: 2-0-0-0

Overall Record: 20-11-2-0 (42 PTS, 2nd in West)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 1/20 and Saturday, 1/21 vs. Lincoln


With a pair of victories last weekend, Fargo is now alone in second place in the Western Conference standings. The Force are now on a four-game winning streak, the longest active winning streak in the USHL. The team is also still sporting three players who are in the top-five in league scoring. Jack Adams is second with 35 points (19G, 16A), Blake Lizotte is fourth with 32 points (6G, 26A), and Hank Crone is tied for fifth with 31 points (14G, 17A). Adams’ 19 goals lead the USHL, while Lizotte is second in assists. Fargo will host Lincoln both Friday and Saturday nights in a battle between two of the top teams in the Western Conference.



Green Bay Gamblers


Last Week’s Record: 0-2-0-0

Overall Record: 17-14-2-1 (37 PTS, 5th in East)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 1/20 and Saturday, 1/21 at Muskegon


The Green Bay power play continues to be clicking on all cylinders. On the man advantage, the Gamblers are converting at a 24.2% rate, making them the top team in the USHL on the power play. Captain Jared Spooner continues to lead by example, as he paces the Gamblers with 27 points (11G, 16A). He will look to lead the Gamblers back into the top half of the Eastern Conference standings over the weekend. Green Bay will travel to Muskegon for a Friday-Saturday series with the Lumberjacks.



Lincoln Stars


Last Week’s Record: 1-0-1-0

Overall Record: 18-11-3-1 (40 PTS, T-3rd  in West)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 1/20 and Saturday, 1/21 at Fargo


Lincoln is 4-0-1-0 in their last five games and tied with Waterloo for third place in the Western Conference standings. Goaltender Cayden Primeau was one of the big stories at last Tuesday’s USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, stopping all 17 shots he faced to help Team West to the first shutout in the game’s history. Lincoln also has two players currently sporting eight-game point streaks. Sam Sternschein has 12 points (9G, 3A) in his last eight games, and Ethen Frank has 11 points (7G, 4A) in his last eight contests. Josef Korenar has continued to play well between the pipes. He leads the league in SV% (.937) and is third among all USHL netminders in GAA (1.95). Lincoln will visit Fargo Friday and Saturday as they try to catch the Force, who are just two points clear of the Stars in the Western Conference standings.



Madison Capitols


Last Week’s Record: 1-1-0-0

Overall Record: 13-18-1-1 (28 PTS, 7th in East)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 1/20 at Chicago, Saturday, 1/21 at Cedar Rapids


Madison split their pair of home games with the Muskegon Lumberjacks over the weekend. It was an exciting week for Mick Messner, who represented his team in last Tuesday’s USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. Dryden McKay has also been playing well between the pipes. In addition to a 2.62 GAA, he is third in the USHL in SV% (.923) and has 645 total saves, the fourth most among all goaltenders in the league. The Capitols will face off with a pair of Eastern Conference rivals over the weekend, as they will take on the Chicago Steel on Friday before traveling to Cedar Rapids to square off with the RoughRiders on Saturday night.



Muskegon Lumberjacks


Last Week’s Record: 2-1-0-0

Overall Record: 20-12-2-0 (42 PTS, T-3rd in East)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 1/20 and Saturday 1/21 vs. Green Bay


With a split of their games over the weekend and a win over Team USA on Monday, Muskegon is tied for third place in the Eastern Conference standings. Keith Petruzzelli had himself quite the week. He was the first goaltender to win a MVP award at the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game following a perfect performance between the pipes. On Monday’s win over Team USA, it was the other Lumberjacks goaltender who was receiving all the attention. Adam Brizgala picked up his first career shutout in the 3-0 victory. He has now won his last three starts between the pipes. Collin Adams scored in the win on Monday and is second in the USHL in both goals (18) and points (35). Marc Del Gaizo was named CCM/USHL Defenseman of the Week thanks to a goal and two assists on the weekend. Muskegon will look to solidify their position in standings over the weekend with a Friday-Saturday home series with the Green Bay Gamblers.



Omaha Lancers


Last Week’s Record: 0-1-1-0

Overall Record: 12-16-4-0 (28 PTS, 9th in West)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 1/20 vs, Des Moines, Saturday, 1/21 at Tri-City


The Lancers picked up a single point on the weekend in their games against the Waterloo Black Hawks and Fargo Force. Austin Alger and Filip Rydstrom continue to lead the way offensively. Both Alger and Rydstrom are tied for the team lead with 23 points. Alger has 11 goals and 12 assists so far this season, while Rydstrom has scored seven goals and added 16 helpers this year. They will look to lead Omaha again this weekend as the Lancers host Des Moines on Saturday before visiting Tri-City on Saturday.



Sioux City Musketeers


Last Week’s Record: 1-1-1-0

Overall Record: 20-8-4-1 (45 PTS, 1st in West)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 1/20 at Tri-City, Saturday, 1/21 at Des Moines


Sioux City earned four of a possible six points in their three games over the weekend to remain atop the Western Conference standings by three points over the Fargo Force. Before Monday’s loss to the USHL-leading Chicago Steel, Eeli Tolvanen, playing in his first games for the Musketeers since representing Finland at the World Junior Championship, had a five-game point streak going, with seven points (3G, 4A) in those contests. Fellow countrymen Sampo Ranta scored his first career USHL goal on Friday. That same night, Matiss Kivlenieks stopped 28 of 29 shots in his team’s victory and has still not lost back-to-back starts in the 26 games he has played this season. Speaking of Sioux City goaltenders, Todd Scott made his USHL debut against Chicago on Saturday. The Omaha AAA product stopped 35 of the 37 shots he faced. The Musketeers will be in Tri-City on Friday and in Des Moines on Saturday.



Sioux Falls Stampede


Last Week’s Record: 1-2-0-0

Overall Record: 14-15-1-2 (31 PTS, 6th in West)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 1/20 and Saturday, 1/21 at Waterloo


The Stampede picked up a win on Friday before dropping a pair of decisions Saturday and Sunday. Despite sitting in sixth place in the Western Conference, there are positive signs moving forward in Sioux Falls. In goal, Winnipeg Jets prospect Mikhail Berdin has been playing well. On Friday, he stopped 38 of 39 shots in a Stampede victory. He is now fifth among all USHL goaltenders with a .922 SV%. Sioux Falls is also fourth in goals for/game with 3.22, so the Stampede are poised to make a run if they keep getting the solid offense and strong goaltender that they’ve received recently. Sioux Falls will have a great chance to gain some ground in the standings this weekend as they travel to Waterloo for a Friday-Saturday set with the Black Hawks.



Team USA


Last Week’s Record: 2-2-0-0

Overall Record: 12-16-1-1 (26 PTS, 7th in East)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 1/20 at Cedar Rapids, Saturday, 1/21 vs Bloomington, Saturday, 1/21 at Chicago


Team USA’s U-18 squad swept the Green Bay Gamblers over the weekend, while the U-17 team dropped decisions to Chicago and Muskegon. Dylan St. Cyr was named CCM/USHL Goaltender of the Week after his lead the U-18 team to the weekend sweep of Green Bay. The University of Michigan commit made 56 saves on 59 shots in the two contests, finishing the weekend with a 1.50 GAA and a.949 SV%. Brady Tkachuk had himself a nice weekend as well, scoring five points (1G, 4A) in his two games. Quinn Hughes picked up a goal and assist on the weekend and leads all Team USA defensemen in scoring. Team USA will travel to Cedar Rapids and Chicago on Friday and Saturday, respectively, and host Bloomington on Saturday.



Tri-City Storm


Last Week’s Record: 0-0-2-0

Overall Record: 12-14-4-2 (30 PTS, 7th in West)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 1/20 vs. Sioux City, Saturday, 1/21 vs. Omaha


Tri-City traveled to Bloomington last weekend and dropped a pair of overtime decisions to the Thunder. Dayton Rasmussen was listed the NHL Central Scouting Midterm Rankings following a week in which he helped Team West pick up a shutout at the 2017 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. Linus Weissbach has also burst onto the scene for the Storm. He has 14 points (5G, 9A) in his last 10 games and is now tied for seventh in scoring among all USHL players. Weissbach will look to increase those totals this weekend as Tri-City hosts Sioux City on Friday and Omaha on Saturday.



Waterloo Black Hawks


Last Week’s Record: 2-1-0-0

Overall Record: 19-12-0-2 (40 PTS, T-3rd in West)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 1/20 and Saturday, 1/21 vs. Sioux Falls


Waterloo picked up four of a possible six points on the weekend and currently sit in a tie for third place in the Western Conference. Nick Swaney, Shane Bowers and Mikey Anderson played their first games since participating in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, where they helped Team West to the 4-0 victory. Swaney also continues to pace the Black Hawks in scoring, averaging a point/game, with 14 goals and 14 assists in 28 contests this season. Anderson is seventh among all USHL defensemen in scoring, with 17 points (2G, 15A) in 28 games. Robbie Beydoun continues to play well between the pipes. He is fifth in the USHL in wins (14) and minutes (1536). He has also stopped a lot of pucks. Beydoun has turned 662 shots aside this season, third most among all USHL goaltenders. Waterloo will host the Sioux Falls Stampede both Friday and Saturday night.



Youngstown Phantoms


Last Week’s Record: 2-0-1-0

Overall Record: 19-11-3-1 (42 PTS, T-3rd in East)

Upcoming Games: Friday, 1/20 and Saturday, 1/21 at Dubuque


The Phantoms earned five of a possible six points, finishing with a win over the Bloomington Thunder on Monday, to move into a tie for third place in the Eastern Conference. Ohio State commit Austin Pooley had a great game on Monday, scoring two goals in his team’s win. It was Pooley’s eighth career multi-point game. Nicolas Werbik picked up a helper in the win and leads the team with 26 points (11G, 15A) in 29 games. Ivan Kulbakov continued his stellar play in goal for Youngstown. He is second in the USHL with a 1.86 GAA and fourth in wins (15). The Phantoms will travel to Dubuque for a Friday-Saturday series as they try to pass the Fighting Saints in the Eastern Conference standings.


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.

Tag(s): Recaps