Photo by Hickling Images
Below are five takeaways from Friday's USHL games:
1. Storm Stifle Bucs
The Tri-City Storm put on a defensive clinic against the Des Moines Buccaneers on Friday, allowing just 12 shots on goal en route to a 4-0 shutout. The Storm didn't allow any shots on goal in the first period, gave up just four shots in the middle frame and faced just eight Buccaneers attempts on net in the final frame. Filip Larsson stopped all 12 of those shots for his third shutout of the season, tied for the most in the USHL. The Detroit Red Wings prospect also remains atop the USHL in GAA (1.29), SV% (.950) and is tied for the league lead in wins with nine. Blais Richartz, Ronnie Attard, Johnny McDermott and Wyllum Deveaux all found the back of the net in the victory. Tri-City has been the best defensive team in the USHL all season and they certainly proved why on Friday.
2. Steel Seek Revenge
One of the Chicago Steel's two regulation losses of the season came during their home opener, when the defending Clark Cup Champions raised a banner to the rafters at Fox Valley Ice Arena but were doubled up 10-5 by Team USA's U17 team. The two teams faced off in Plymouth on Saturday night, and Chicago exacted revenge for that defeat, knocking off the U17s 6-2 at USA Hockey Arena. The Steel saw six different goal scorers in the victory - Samuel Bucek, Tyler Gratton, Aaron Vidgren, Blake McLaughlin, Jordan Seyfert and Robert Mastrosimone. McLaughlin's goal puts him just one point shy of the USHL scoring leaders with 16 points (5G, 11A). Yale commit Graham Lillibridge added two assists to move his point total to 14 (2G, 12A), still tops among all defenseman. Oskar Autio earned his ninth victory, tied for the most in the USHL, between the pipes with a 24-save performance.
3. U18s Balanced Attack
The craziest game of the night was played in Youngstown, where the Team USA's U18 team knocked off the Phantoms in a 8-5 thriller. The U18s found the back of the net four times in both the first and second periods en route to the victory. Another interesting note is that just two players on Team USA tallied multiple points, and no player recorded more than two points, showing how balanced the U18s offensive attack can be. Trevor Janicke, Jack DeBoer and Oliver Wahlstrom all put up a goal and assist each, while Tyler Weiss, Ty Emberson, Joel Farabee, Adam Samuelsson and Jake Pivonka also scored goals for the U18s. Drew DeRidder stopped 29 of the 34 shots he faced to move to 4-0-0-1 on the season.
4. Stars Shut Down Force
The Fargo Force came into the weekend as the top offense in the USHL, scoring 50 goals through their first 14 games of the season. However, they went into Lincoln on Friday and the Stars were prepared, allowing just 16 shots on goal and finishing with a 3-0 shutout victory. Casey Dornbach, Paul Cotter and Ashton Calder all lit the lamp in the victory, and both Dornbach and Cotter also added an assist en route to the victory. The defense was incredibly impressive for the Stars, allowing just eight shots in the opening frame and four shots in both the second and third periods. Nashville Predators prospect Tomas Vomacka stopped all 16 of those attempts for his fourth victory and second shutout of the season. Lincoln has now won three games in a row, the longest active winning streak in the USHL.
5. Super Sampo
The Sioux City Musketeers knocked off the Madison Capitols 2-1 by way of a shootout at the Tyson Events Center, thanks in large part to their leading scorer, Sampo Ranta. Ranta was named an A-rated skater by NHL Central Scouting earlier in the week and led Sioux City to the win over Madison. The Wisconsin commit opened the scoring 12:12 into the first period, giving the Musketeers their only goal in regulation. He also scored the only goal between the two teams in the shootout to help Sioux City earn two points. Ranta leads the Musketeers with nine points (6G, 3A) in 12 games and showed why NHL scouts are so high on him.
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.