Photo by Brandon Anderson
Youngstown Phantoms goaltender Ivan Provestov became the ninth goaltender in USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game history to stop every shot he faced, and Tri-City Storm forward Tyler Madden scored twice in front of a hometown crowd to lead Team East to a 4-3 victory in the 2018 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at the Viaero Center in Kearney, NE.
The game was an entertaining, back-and-forth affair that featured five lead changes. Michael Callahan (Central Illinois Flying Aces) opened the scoring with a blast from the point to give Team East the lead 7:04 into the opening period. It remained a 1-0 game until about midway in the second period, when Madden drove the net and tipped home a Alexander Steeves (Dubuque Fighting Saints) pass. Ryan Savage (Fargo Force) got Team West on the board, as he deked around a defender just 1:57 later.
Matej Blumel (Waterloo Black Hawks) tied the game at two only 1:11 into the third period with a power play tally, and Paul Cotter (Lincoln Stars) was set up by his Lincoln teammate Philippe Lapointe (Lincoln Stars) to give Team West a 3-2 lead. Team East came right back, however, as Curtis Hall (Youngstown Phantoms) tied the game at three just 3:24 after Cotter gave Team West the lead. Team East then took the lead for good just under three minutes later, as Madden's shot deflected off a defender, popped high into the air and fluttered over the shoulder of Jared Moe (Waterloo Black Hawks) into the back of the net. Team East outshot Team West 31-24 in the contest, preserving the one-goal lead.
Prosvetov and Jake Kucharski (Des Moines Buccaneers) started between the pipes for their respective teams. Prosvetov stopped all 10 shots he faced in 31:27 of play, while Kucharski turned 14 of the 16 attempts he saw aside in the same span. With his performance, Prosvetov became the ninth goaltender in USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game history to stop every shot he faced. Minnesota Duluth commit Zach Stejskal (Central Illinois Flying Aces) and Minnesota commit Moe came on in relief for their respective teams, making 14 and 15 saves, respectively.
Following his two-goal performance in front of the Tri-City fans, Madden was named Team East MVP, marking the third straight season a member of the Storm was named an MVP at the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game (Wade Allison - 2016, Paul Washe - 2017). Savage was named Team West MVP with his spectacular opening goal. Team East now holds a 4-2-0-0 record all-time at the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
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.