The United States Hockey League announced the Forward, Defenseman and Goaltender of the Week for Week 26 of the 2017-18 season. Sioux City Musketeers teammates Sampo Ranta and Matt Jurusik, along with Waterloo Black Hawks defenseman Ben Finkelstein, earned weekly honors. Ranta scored two goals and added an assist both Friday and Saturday, Finkelstein was named Defenseman of the Week for the third time in four weeks thanks to a three-point night on Saturday and Jurusik picked up a pair of victories over the weekend, allowing just three goals and making 46 saves. 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: Sampo Ranta - Sioux City Musketeers
2 GP: 4 goals, 2 assists, +3 rating
Ranta scored twice and dished out an assist in Sioux City's 5-2 victory over Tri-City on Friday. The Finnish forward then replicated the performance on Saturday night, helping the Musketeers to a 5-1 win over the Des Moines Buccaneers. Ranta is tied for the Sioux City scoring lead, as he has recorded 36 points (23G, 13A) in 52 games. His 23 goals rank second on the team and he has found the back of the net in three of his last four games dating back to Mar. 24. The University of Wisconsin commit is in his second USHL season and has amassed 45 points (29G, 16A) in 82 career USHL games. He was ranked 23rd among North American skaters on the NHL Central Scouting Midterm Rankings, making him a top prospect for the 2018 NHL Draft. He also participated in the 2018 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game back in January. Ranta joined the Musketeers after playing with EC Salzburg U18 and TPS U16 (Finland).
Defenseman: Ben Finkelstein - Waterloo Black Hawks
2 GP: 1 goal, 2 assists, +1 rating
Finkelstein scored a power play goal and recorded two assists in Waterloo's victory over the Dubuque Fighting Saints on Saturday, earning him Defenseman of the Week honors for the third time in the past four weeks and the fourth time overall this season. He leads all Waterloo defensemen in scoring and sits tied for 12th among all USHL blueliners with 26 points (6G, 20A), despite having played in just 18 games. Of those 18 games, he has recorded at least one point in 14 of them. 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: Matt Jurusik - Sioux City Musketeers
2-0-0-0, 1.50 GAA, .939 SV%
Jurusik made 16 saves on 18 shots in Friday's victory over the Tri-City Storm before stopping 30 of the 31 Des Moines attempts he faced on Saturday to give the Musketeers the win over the Buccaneers on Saturday night. With the pair of victories, Jurusik is back over the .500 mark on the season as he sports a 21-19-0-0 record along with a 2.81 GAA and .908 SV%., placing him just outside the top-10 among all USHL goaltenders in those respective categories. This is the third time Jurusik has won Goaltender of the Week, as he previously earned the honor on Dec. 18 and Jan. 22. The Chicago, IL native is in his first season in the USHL after spending the last two years at the University of Wisconsin. He has also played for the Janesville Jets (NAHL), where he recorded the NAHL's best GAA and SV% during the 2013-14 season, Cleveland Barons (T1EHL) and Chicago Fury (T1EHL).
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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