USA Hockey announced their 2018 Annual Award winners, and a trio of players with USHL ties earned yearly honors. Team USA forward Jack Hughes was named Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year, Omaha Lancers goaltender Zach Driscoll received the Dave Peterson Goalie of the Year Award and former Cedar Rapids RoughRiders forward Adam Gaudette was named College Player of the Year.
Hughes, a native of Orlando, FL, finished his rookie season with 54 points (21G, 33A) in just 27 games, tying for the rookie scoring lead despite playing in 29 less games than Muskegon Lumberjacks forward Matej Pekar, who put up 54 points in a still-impressive 56 games. Hughes' astonishing two points per game average led all USHL players, and both his goal and assist totals ranked second among all USHL rookies. Hughes tallied at least one point in 25 of his 27 USHL appearances in 2017-18, including 14 multi-point performances. He dished out three assists in his USHL debut on Oct. 7 in Chicago, recorded five helpers on Jan. 15 in Youngstown, put up six points (4G, 2A) on Mar. 10 in Tri-City, finished the season with at least one point in 17 of his last 18 games. He also scored arguably the best USHL goal of the season on Oct. 22 against the Green Bay Gamblers.
Driscoll finished the 2017-18 season with a 23-9-1-1 record in 38 appearances, a 1.90 GAA, .934 SV% and eight shutouts to help the Lancers earn the second seed in the Western Conference standings. He was named USHL Goaltender of the Week four times (Nov. 13, Jan. 8, Jan. 29, Apr. 9) and was named to the All-USHL Second Team for his outstanding performance this season. The Apple Valley, MN native led all USHL goaltenders in shutouts and ranked second among all netminders in SV%, third in GAA and tied for fifth in wins. His eight shutouts are tied for the third-highest total in USHL history dating back to 1979, while his GAA is fifth and his SV% is tied for third in that same category. Driscoll won eight straight games from Jan. 27 to Feb. 16, recording three shutouts and not allowing more than two goals in any game. He then finished the regular season on a five-game winning streak, including back-to-back shutouts on Apr. 4 and 7.
Gaudette led all college hockey players in scoring during the 2017-18 season with 60 points (30G, 30A) in 38 games en route to winning the 2018 Hobey Baker Award. He was named to the All-Hockey East First Team and was also named Hockey East Player of the Year following his outstanding season. Following his collegiate campaign, the former Cedar Rapids RoughRiders forward signed an entry-level contract with the Vancouver Canucks, playing in five games at the end of the 2017-18 regular season.
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.
Tag(s): Player News