The United States Hockey League announced the Forward, Defenseman and Goaltender of the Week for Week 23 of the 2017-18 season. Team USA forward forward Jack Hughes, Waterloo Black Hawks defenseman Ben Finkelstein and Sioux Falls Stampede goaltender Mikhail Berdin all earned weekly honors. Hughes recorded seven points in two games, including a four-goal performance on Saturday, Finkelstein dished out four assists in a pair of contests and Berdin stopped 62 of the 65 shots he faced over the weekend to lead the Stampede to a pair of victories. The USHL is America’s only Tier 1 junior hockey league, and continues to lead the world in the advancement of Division I college hockey athletes.
Forward: Jack Hughes - Team USA
2 GP: 5 goals, 2 assists, +7 rating
Hughes scored four goals and dished out two assists on Saturday against Tri-City before adding his fifth goal of the weekend to help Team USA's U18 team sweep their two-game series against the Storm with a victory on Sunday. It was the first time a Team USA player recorded six points in a game since Clayton Keller did so on Dec. 5, 2015. It was also the first time a Team USA player scored four goals in a game since Jack's brother Quinn Hughes, now at the University of Michigan, accomplished the feat on Dec. 30, 2015. The top 2019 NHL Draft Prospect continues to produce points at a tremendous rate, as is he now up to 44 points (15G, 29A) in 22 games. His average of two points/game is the highest in the USHL and he is tied for the league lead in rookie scoring with Muskegon's Matej Pekar despite having played in 26 fewer games. He has also recorded at least one point in 20 of the 22 USHL games he has played so far this year. A native of Orlando, FL, Hughes previously played for the Toronto Marlboros (GTMMHL) prior to his time with Team USA.
Defenseman: Ben Finkelstein - Waterloo Black Hawks
2 GP: 0 goals, 4 assists, +3 rating
Finkelstein recorded an assist on Jack Drury's power play goal on Friday before dishing out three more assists in Waterloo's 5-1 victory over the Dubuque Fighting Saints on Saturday. The Boston College commit has been an outstanding find for the Black Hawks, as he has tallied 18 points (3G, 15A) in just 12 games, tied for the highest total among all Waterloo defensemen. He is now sporting a four-game point streak dating back to Feb. 10 and has recorded at least one point in 10 of the 12 games he has played. A native of South Burlington, VT, Finkelstein was selected in the seventh round, 195th overall by the Florida Panthers at the 2016 NHL Draft. He joined Waterloo earlier this season and played for St. Lawrence University (NCAA), the Boston Jr. Bruins (MHSL) and Kimball Academy (USHS) prior to his time in the USHL.
Goaltender: Mikhail Berdin - Sioux Falls Stampede
2-0-0-0, 1.50 GAA, .954 SV%
Berdin stopped 20 of 22 shots to lead Sioux Falls to a 7-2 victory over the Sioux City Musketeers on Friday. He then stopped all but one of the 43 shots he faced on Saturday to help the Stampede defeat the Chicago Steel by a score of 5-1. The Russian netminder now sports a 19-8-0-1 record, a 2.53 GAA and .924 SV% in 35 appearances. His SV% ranks fifth in the USHL and his GAA puts him 10th among all USHL goaltenders. Berdin is in his second USHL season and sports a career 2.63 GAA and .924 SV% in 66 appearances. Prior to playing in Sioux Falls, Berdin played for Team Russia U18, Almaz Cherepovets (Russia) and Severstal Cherepovets U17 (Russia). He was a sixth round pick, 157th overall of the Winnipeg Jets in the 2016 NHL Draft.
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.
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