Photo by Hickling Images
Friday night's action featured the first loss for the last two unbeaten USHL teams, a new USHL scoring leader, and more. Below are five takeaways from Friday's USHL action.
1. Dawe Inspiring
A night after scoring both goals in Sioux Falls' 2-1 win over the Fargo Force on Thursday, Adam Dawe was back at it again on Friday. The University of Maine commit tallied two more points (1G, 1A) in the Stampede's 4-3 overtime loss to the Des Moines Buccaneers. The University of Maine commit now has three two-goal games on the season and leads all USHL players with his six goals. He is also tied for second in the league with six points. The Stampede, who currently sit atop the Western Conference standings, will be in business if Dawe can be a top offensive contributor throughout the course of the season.
2. Werbik's Winner
Despite the outstanding performance by Dawe, it was the Des Moines Buccaneers who knocked off the Stampede 4-3 in overtime thanks to Nicolas Werbik's overtime winner 3:34 into the extra frame. The Czech forward currently leads the team and is tied for second among all USHL players with six points (3G, 3A). It was a wild game at the PREMIER Center which saw Des Moines lead 1-0 after 40 minutes and 3-1 halfway through the third period. The Stampede scored twice in the final 7:23 of regulation to send the game to overtime before Werbik put home a Nico Appendino feed to give the Buccaneers the win. Jake Kucharski had a stellar performance between the pipes for Des Moines, stopping 35 of the 37 shots he faced to move to 2-1-0-0 on the season.
3. Dugan Does It Again
The Chicago Steel are looking smarter and smarter for selecting Jack Dugan with the second overall pick in the 2017 Phase II Draft. The Providence commit scored two more goals on Friday night in a 3-2 Chicago victory over the Dubuque Fighting Saints, giving him five tallies on the year. He also has dished out two assists this season to give him seven points (5G, 2A), and he currently leads all USHL players in scoring. Dugan, who was selected in the 2017 NHL Draft by the Vegas Golden Knights, has recorded at least one point in each of his first four games, with three of those outings being multi-point performances. He is off to a great start to the season and doesn't show any signs of slowing down.
4. Two More Unbeatens Fall
Two of the three remaining unbeaten teams in the USHL were in action Friday night, but both the Central Illinois Flying Aces and Lincoln Stars fell to their respective opponents for their first loss of the season. Central Illinois was knocked off 5-2 by the Madison Capitols, while Lincoln traveled to Cedar Rapids and dropped a 4-2 decision to the RoughRiders. Verners Egle scored twice for Madison in the victory, while Cedar Rapids saw goals from four different players - Marek Valach, Roman Ahcan, Josh Bohlin and Liam Walsh. Vegas Golden Knights prospect Jiri Patera turned 28 of the 30 shots he faced aside in the victory. The only undefeated team left in the USHL is Team USA, who will send the U17 team to take on Green Bay Saturday and Sunday.
5. Storm and Gamblers Surging
The Tri-City Storm moved to 3-1-0-0 with a 4-1 triumph over the Omaha Lancers at the Viaero Center on Friday night. It is the Storm second win in three meetings with Omaha early in the season. It was a balanced offensive attack for Tri-City, as their goals came from four different players - Ronnie Attard, Adam Goodsir, Joey Cipollone and Caleb Rule. Charlie Dovorany and Connor McMenamin added two assists each, and Detroit Red Wings prospect Filip Larsson made 25 saves on 26 shots in the win. Earlier in the day, the Green Bay Gamblers traveled to Youngstown and defeated the Phantoms 2-1 in an early-morning matchup. After a scoreless opening period, Matthew Thomson extended his point streak to three with his third goal before Nolan Moyle tied the game late in the frame. Josh Dunne found the back of the net midway through the third to give Green Bay the lead, which they would hang onto. Vegas Golden Knights prospect Maksim Zhukov made 24 saves in the win. Both teams are looking to qualify for the Clark Cup Playoffs after missing last year, and they are both off to a good start in their pursuit of a postseason berth.
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.