Photo by Hickling Images
LINCOLN STARS  at YOUNGSTOWN PHANTOMS 
Lincoln has now won four straight games and remains three points out of playoff position with a 4-1 road win over Youngstown. The Stars held a 1-0 lead through 20 minutes of play with Christian Evers' eighth goal of the season. The Vermont commit now has points in three straight games, with four points (2G, 2A) in that span. It remained 1-0 until late in the second, when Alex Esposito found the back of the net for the 15th time this season to tie the game at one heading into the final frame. Lincoln then exploded for three goals in the third, courtesy of Carter Long, the first goal of his USHL career, Chayse Primeau and Brandon Schultz to run away with a 4-1 victory. Josef Korenar stopped 27 of the 28 shots he faced for his fifth win in his last six starts.
BLOOMINGTON THUNDER  at MUSKEGON LUMBERJACKS 
Muskegon picked up a 5-2 victory over Bloomington and, in the process, earned the club's first berth in the Clark Cup Playoffs since they reached the Clark Cup Final in 2015. The Lumberjacks held a 2-0 advantage through 20 minutes thanks to tallies from Andrei Svechnikov and Austin Albrecht. Jachym Kondelik extended the lead to 3-0 with just under three minutes to play in the second before Christiano Versich got the Thunder on the board with just 39 seconds left in the frame, making it a 3-1 game heading into the final 20 minutes. Casey Gilling made it a 4-2 game with just over seven minutes to play, but Versich scored his second of the game just 2:16 later to cut the lead to 4-2. That's as close as the Thunder would get, as Garrett Van Wyhe added an empty-netter with 37 seconds remaining to seal the victory for the Lumberjacks. Svechnikov and Kondelik added assists in the win, and Keith Petruzzelli made 28 saves on 30 Bloomington shots for his fifth win in his last six starts.
DUBUQUE FIGHTING SAINTS  at CEDAR RAPIDS ROUGHRIDERS 
Dubuque inched closer to their seventh straight playoff berth with a 6-2 win in Cedar Rapids. After a scoreless opening period, the Fighting Saints picked up goals from Jacob Hamacher, Colin Theisen and Quinn Preston to take a 3-0 lead through 40 minutes. Theisen's goal was his 30th goal of the season, making him just the second player this season to reach the 30-goal plateau. Dalton Messina and Trevor Zins found the back of the net in the third for the RoughRiders, but Theisen, Zach Solow and Michael Boyle tallied for Dubuque, giving the Fighting Saints a 6-2 victory. Taylor Brierley, Cole Guttman, Dallas Gerads and Alex Steeves dished out two assists each, and Jaxon Castor picked up his 28th victory of the season with a 19-save performance.
OMAHA LANCERS  at DES MOINES BUCCANEERS 
Des Moines continues to hold a three-point cushion on the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 6-1 victory over the Omaha Lancers. Kobe Roth, Matt Jones and Matt Hudie all found the back of the net in the opening 20 minutes to hold a 3-0 lead. Noah Cates tallied his first goal of the season 7:42 into the middle frame to make it a 3-1 game, but Brian Halonen scored the first goal of his USHL career late in the period to make it a 4-1 Buccaneers lead heading into the third. Roth and David Keefer scored in the final frame to give Des Moines a 6-1 victory and keep them in a comfortable spot in the standings. Mario Ferraro and Julian Napravnik dished out two assists each, and Jan Ruzicka turned 17 of the 18 shots he faced aside for his 23rd victory of the year.
TEAM USA (U17)  at FARGO FORCE 
Fargo remains in third place in the Western Conference standings with a 5-1 win over the U17s. The Force held a 2-0 advantage after period one courtesy of goals from Jacob Paganelli and Jack Adams, his league-leading 33rd tally of the year. Blake Lizotte extended the lead to 3-0 in the second before Jake Goldowski got Team USA on the board with just 30 seconds remaining in the frame. Lizotte added his second of the game early in the third to make it a 4-1 game, and Ben Meyers scored the first goal of his USHL career just 61 seconds later to give Fargo a four-goal lead and complete the scoring. Hank Crone dished out two assists, and Matt Murray stopped all but one of the 16 shots he faced to move to 28-14-0-5 on the season.
GREEN BAY GAMBLERS  at MADISON CAPITOLS 
Green Bay has won seven straight games and now sits alone in the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference thanks to a 4-2 win over in-state rival Madison. After a scoreless opening period, the Capitols took a 1-0 lead with just over two minutes gone in the second thanks to Anthony Callin's third goal of the season. The Gamblers responded with tallies from Easton Brodzinski and Jason Dhooghe to take a 2-1 lead into the final frame. Casey Mittelstadt extended the advantage to 3-1 with his 12th goal of the season, giving him eight points (4G, 4A) in his six games back with Green Bay, but Callin's second goal of the game just over three minutes later to cut the lead to one. Matt Jennings added an empty-net goal late in the game to make it a 4-2 game and give Green Bay their seventh straight victory. Maksim Zhukov made 23 saves on 25 shots for his sixth straight win between the pipes.
SIOUX FALLS STAMPEDE  at SIOUX CITY MUSKETEERS 
Sioux City has now won six straight contests thanks to a 4-2 victory over Sioux City as they inch closer to their first Anderson Cup title in 20 years. The Musketeers and Stampede played a scoreless opening 20 minutes, with Sioux City holding a 13-7 advantage in shots on goal. Phillip Knies and Odeen Tufto scored for the Musketeers in the middle frame while Gavin Hain found the back of the net for the Stampede, giving Sioux City a 2-1 lead heading into the final frame. Sampo Ranta extended the advantage to 3-1 seven and a half minutes into the third before Bowling Green commit Justin Wells scored his second of the year to cut the lead to one with just under four minutes to play. Sioux City was able to hang on for the win thanks to Micah Miller's empty-net tally, giving the Musketeers a 4-2 victory. Anea Ferrario dished out a pair of assists, and Matiss Kivlenieks continued his outstanding season with a 21-save performance, his 15th win in his last 16 starts.
CHICAGO STEEL  at TRI-CITY STORM 
Tri-City welcomed the Eastern-Conference leading Steel to the Viaero Center and walked away with a 3-2 victory over Chicago. Nine minutes into the game, Logan Drevitch opened the scoring with his 11th goal of the year to put the Storm up 1-0 through 20 minutes of play. Nick Azar and Ronnie Attard scored 1:29 apart to give Tri-City a 3-0 lead seven and a half minutes into the second before Ben Mirageas scored a shorthanded goal late in the frame to cut the Storm lead to 3-1 heading into the third period. Halfway through the final frame, Reggie Lutz made it a 3-2 game, but Tri-City was able to hang on for the victory. Wyllum Deveaux had a pair of assists, and Eric Dop stopped 29 of the 31 shots he faced for his second straight win.
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.