Photo by Hickling Images
Team: Omaha Lancers
Head Coach: David Wilkie, 1st season
2016-17 Record: 22-31-5-2 (51 points, 6th in Western Conference)
Top Returners: Noah Cates, Cole Gallant, Erlends Klavins, Jack Randl, Filip Suchy
Notable Additions: Joseph Abate, Keegan Karki, Nick Perbix, Ethan Price
The Lancers feature a new head coach in former NHL defenseman David Wilkie and welcome back nine players from last season’s team as they try to make it back to the postseason for the first time in four seasons.
Up front is where Omaha appears to have the most talent and depth. Two of the big reasons why are Filip Suchy and Cole Gallant. Suchy was the team’s leading scorer last season, with 29 points (15G, 14A) in 47 games. Gallant finished the year with 15 goals, tied with Suchy for the team lead, and 21 points. Both players will aim for an even bigger season in terms of production and lead the way for their team offensively. Jack Randl (19 PTS) and Erlends Klavins (15 PTS) are also among the double-digit scorers from last season who will be back in Ralston Arena in 2017-18.
The Lancers’ blue line features a bevy of fresh faces who are prepared to make a big splash in the USHL. Derek Hamelin (19 PTS) is the elder defenseman for Omaha and will lead the way among a young group of blueliners. Included in that group are Danny Petrick, who played 28 games with the Lancers in 2016-17, Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick Nick Perbix, who captained Elk River (USHS) last season to the tune of 40 PTS (10G, 30A) in 25 games and Chris Lipe, who tallied 22 PTS (4G, 18A) for the Kenai River Brown Bears (NAHL) last year.
In goal, Omaha welcomes back Zach Driscoll, who spent time with the Lancers during the 2014-15 season. The Apple Valley, MN native spent last year with St. Cloud State University and garnered 14 appearances over the course of the season. Also vying for time in goal for the Lancers are Keegan Karki, who was with Team USA’s U17 team last year, and Canadian Christian Sbaraglia, a Penn State commit.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 16th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2017-18. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in five 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.