Below are five takeaways from Friday's USHL games:
5. Green Bay Scores a Touchdown (and Adds the Extra Point)
The Green Bay Gamblers channeled the football team that plays just down the street from the Resch Center, as they scored seven goals en route to defeating the Central Illinois Flying Aces 7-4. The Gamblers scored three times in both the first and third periods in the victory, and it was a balanced offensive attack for the home team, as six different players found the back of the net for Green Bay in the game - Matt Jennings, Nolan Moyle, Noah Prokop, Lean Bergmann, Trenton Bliss and Mac Welsher. Jennings scored twice and added an assist, Jesse Jacques dished out three helpers and Brock Caufield also had two assists. In total, 11 Gamblers earned at least one point. Maksim Zhukov stopped 26 of the 30 shots he faced for his third straight victory and his seventh win in his last nine starts. Green Bay has now won eight of their last 10 games and sits atop the Eastern Conference by six points.
4. Madden Saves Storm
Tyler Madden was recently acquired by the Tri-City Storm, and the Northeastern commit has wasted no time helping his team on the offensive end. He did so last night against the Sioux City Musketeers, as he scored a goal with just over two minutes remaining in regulation to even the score at four before the Storm went on to pick up a 5-4 overtime victory. Jack Summers (1G, 2A) and Connor McMenamin (1G, 1A) added multi-point efforts in the win, and Jake Barczewski earned the victory between the pipes with a 19-save performance. Madden has been a consistent offensive performer all year, and especially so since joining the Storm. In four games with Tri-City, the Deerfield Beach, FL native has scored a goal in three of those contests, including a two-goal performance on Dec. 30. He also leads the team in scoring with 18 points (10G, 8A) through 22 games.
3. 5-3 X 4
An interesting note from the eight USHL games last night: half of the games ended with a final score of 5-3. Cedar Rapids knocked off Youngstown, Des Moines defeated Team USA, Fargo took down Chicago and Madison went into Lincoln and beat the Stars, all by a 5-3 final. Marc McLaughlin led the RoughRiders with three points (2G, 1A) in their win, the Buccaneers saw multi-point efforts from Brian Halonen (1G, 1A), Julian Napravnik (1G, 1A) and Nicolas Werbik (1G, 2A), Mark Senden scored a goal and added two assists to lead the Force over the Steel and the Capitols got goals from five different players - Anthony Callin, Mick Messner, Michael Mancinelli, T.J. Sagissor and Kamil Sadlocha. Although entirely coincidental, it is certainly interesting to see four of the eight games on a night end in the same score.
2. Muskegon Makes It Seven
The Muskegon Lumberjacks traveled to Dubuque and knocked off the Fighting Saints 3-2 at the Mystique Ice Center, extending their winning streak to seven games and setting a new team record for most consecutive wins. Muskegon jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to a two goals from captain Anthony Del Gaizo along with the fifth goal of the season from Monte Graham. Dubuque picked up a pair of third period goals but the Lumberjacks were able to hang on for the victory to set the new club record. Marc Del Gaizo dished out a pair of assists for Muskegon in the win and Keegan Karki won his seventh straight start in goal with a 19-save performance. Muskegon is now tied for third in the Eastern Conference standings with 28 points (13-11-1-1).
1. Stellar Suchy
Omaha Lancers forward Filip Suchy had himself quite the night on Friday, as he picked up a hat trick, including the overtime-winning goal, as the Lancers knocked off the Waterloo Black Hawks 3-2 at Ralston Arena. The Czech forward opened the scoring four minutes into the game with his ninth goal of the year, giving Omaha a 1-0 lead through 20 minutes. Jack Drury tied the game for Waterloo 13 minutes into the middle frame, but Suchy responded with his second goal of the game just 1:47 later to give the Lancers a 2-1 advantage. It remained a 2-1 game until late in the third period, when Drury's second goal of the game, a shorthanded tally, evened the proceedings at two with just 28 seconds remaining in regulation. The game headed to overtime, where Suchy put the finishing touches on a banner night for him, scoring the game-winning goal just 34 seconds into the extra frame to earn the hat trick and give Omaha a 3-2 victory, their 10th victory in their last 12 games. Noah Cates dished out a pair of helpers in the win, and Vinnie Purpura made 25 saves on 27 shots for his sixth straight victory in goal.
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.