Below are five takeaways from Saturday's USHL games:
5. Steel Stop Caps Point Streak
The Madison Capitols came into Saturday's game against the Chicago Steel having earned at least one point in each of their last 10 games. Chicago put an end to that streak, however, walking out of Capitol Ice Arena with a 6-2 victory. After a scoreless opening period, goals from Samuel Bucek, Aaro Vidgren and two tallies from captain Derek Daschke put the Steel up 4-0 late in the middle frame. After Jared Kucharek and Verners Egle found the back of the net for Madison, cutting the Steel lead to 4-2, Vidgren and Robbie Stucker scored later in the third period to complete the scoring and give Chicago back-to-back wins. Justin Robbins made 31 saves in the win, a victory that saw the visitors score at least six goals for the fifth time in their last seven contests.
4. Larsson Looking Strong
This weekend's games marked the first USHL games Tri-City Storm goaltender Filip Larsson has played in since Dec. 8, and he looks like he hasn't missed a beat. After stopping 23 of 25 shots on Friday, the Detroit Red Wings prospect picked up his league-leading sixth shutout of the season as the Storm shut out the Central Illinois Flying Aces 4-0 to earn a split of the intra-conference weekend series. Tyler Madden, Blake Evennou, Jake Crespi and Bryan Yoon all found the back of the net in the victory. In addition to his shutouts, Larsson remains the league leader in GAA (1.40) and SV% (.947), while the Storm remain atop the USHL standings with 46 points.
3. Cates Carries Black Hawks
There was an offensive explosion in Waterloo on Saturday night, as the Black Hawks cruised to a 7-3 victory over the in-state rival Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Jackson Cates picked up a hat trick and added two assists for a five-point night, while newcomer defenseman Ben Finkelstein had yet another impressive performance on the blue line. The Florida Panthers prospect scored his second USHL goal in the victory and added five assists, giving him eight points (2G, 6A) his first three USHL games. As for Cates, his three goals on the night gives him 17 tallies on the season, putting the Minnesota Duluth commit in a tie for fifth among all USHL players in goals. He is also tied for fourth in the league in scoring and average a point/game pace, with 34 points in 34 games. Jack Drury had a multi-point effort of his own (1G, 1A) to stretch his point streak to an impressive 16 games, and Jared Moe made 16 saves on 19 shots for his fifth straight win.
2. Gresock Guides Phantoms
Merrimack commit Chase Gresock put on quite the performance Saturday night, scoring three goals, including the game-winning tally in overtime, to lead the Youngstown Phantoms to a 6-5 victory over the Dubuque Fighting Saints. Youngstown held leads of 2-1 and 4-3 after the first and second periods, respectively, before the Fighting Saints scored three times in the final frame compared to the Phantoms two tallies, sending the teams to overtime tied at five. Just 64 seconds into the extra frame, Gresock's 17th goal of the season gave Youngstown the overtime victory, keeping them in the sixth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Matthew Barry added five points of his own (1G, 4A) and remains the team's scoring leader with 34 points (8G, 26A) through 34 games, Tommy Parrottino (1G, 1A), Mike Regush (0G, 2A), Matthew Thomson (1G, 1A) and Gianfranco Cassaro (0G, 2A) all added multi-point efforts, and Chicago Blackhawks prospect Wouter Peeters stopped 31 shots for his seventh victory of the season.
1. Caufield Carries U17s
Cole Caufield continues to score goals in bunches, as he scored three times in Team USA's 10-1 triumph over the Muskegon Lumberjacks at L.C. Walker Arena. The Wisconsin commit is on a crazy scoring pace, as he now sits with 18 goals in just 19 USHL games. Saturday's three-goal performance also marked his second hat trick in his last four games. The U17s also picked up multi-point efforts from Ryder Rolston (2G, 1A), Matthew Boldy (1G, 2A), Michael Gildon (1G, 2A), Trevor Zegras (1G, 2A), Cam York (0G, 2A) and Drew Helleson (0G, 2A). Cameron Rowe stopped 35 of the 36 Lumberjacks shots he faced for his third straight win, keeping Team USA atop the Eastern Conference standings with 45 points. Team USA has been an offensive juggernaut as of late, scoring 76 goals in just 11 games dating back to Jan. 12.
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.