The United States Hockey League announced the Forward, Defenseman and Goaltender of the Week for Week 7 of the 2018-19 season. Muskegon Lumberjacks forward and Chicago Blackhawks prospect Mikael Hakkarainen, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders defenseman Kyle Looft and Lincoln Stars goaltender Jacob Mucitelli all earned their first weekly awards of the season. Hakkarainen recorded six points in two games, including a hat trick on Friday. Looft had one point in each of the RoughRiders' three games over the weekend and Mucitelli led Lincoln to two victories last week by stopping 80 shots in three games, including a 27-save shutout on Sunday. 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.
Mikael Hakkarainen, Muskegon Lumberjacks (courtesy Hickling Images)
2 GP: 3 goals, 3 assists, +5 rating
Hakkarainen recorded a hat trick, an assist and the eventual game-winning goal on Friday in Muskegon's 8-2 victory over Youngstown on Friday before adding two more assists, his fifth and sixth points of the weekend, on Saturday against the Phantoms. The Finnish forward has been a revelation since coming back to the Lumberjacks in mid-October, as he has 17 points (8G, 9A) in just nine games and has recorded at least one point in eight of those nine contests. His 17 points are tied for the team lead in scoring and tied for seventh among all USHL players. He is also averaging 1.89 points-per-game, second among all USHL players, and has scored a pair of game-winning goals in his nine games this year. Hakkarainen is now playing in his third USHL season after returning to the league from Providence College earlier this year. He has 81 points in 93 career USHL games, including 46 points (15G, 31A) in 36 games with Muskegon during the 2017-18 season. Following his strong performance last year, Hakkarainen was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the fifth round, 139th overall at the 2018 NHL Draft. Hakkarainen was originally selected sixth overall by Chicago in the 2016 USHL Phase II Draft and played 16 games with the Steel during the 2016-17 season before joining Muskegon. Prior to his time in the USHL, Hakkarainen suited up for the NAHL's Brookings Blizzard and the Espoo Blues in Finland.
Kyle Looft, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (courtesy Brandon Anderson)
3 GP: 1 goal, 2 assists, +4 rating
Looft picked up a point in all three games in which he played last week. He scored his first goal of the season on Friday against Sioux City before dishing out assists both Saturday and Sunday in Cedar Rapids' home-and-home weekend set with the Omaha Lancers. Looft also recorded a +4 rating in those three contests. The North Mankato, MN native quadrupled his point total over the weekend and now has four points (1G, 3A) in seven games along with that +4 rating, both tied for second among all RoughRiders defensemen. Looft is in the midst of his second USHL season, both with Cedar Rapids. In 2017-18, the Bemidji State commit recorded 12 points (2G, 10A) in 58 games. He was originally drafted in the 14th round, 224th overall by the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the 2017 USHL Phase II Draft before being acquired by Cedar Rapids on Oct. 2, 2017. Looft previously played for the NAHL's Austin Bruins and Mankato West High in Minnesota.
Jacob Mucitelli, Lincoln Stars (courtesy Hickling Images)
2-1-0-0, 1.34 GAA, .952 SV%
Mucitelli stopped 33 of the 34 shots he faced on Friday in Lincoln's 2-1 win over the Sioux Falls Stampede, made 20 saves on Saturday against the Sioux Musketeers and recorded a 27-save shutout in the Stars 3-0 victory over their in-state rival Tri-City Storm on Sunday. The Clarkson University commit is now sporting a 3-2-1-0 record to go along with a 2.67 GAA and .907 SV%. His 2.67 GAA is good for fifth among all USHL goaltenders, while his .907 SV% places him seventh in the league among qualified goaltenders (min. 240 minutes played). Mucitelli has put up the numbers while seeing a lot of rubber, as he has faced at least 25 shots in five of his seven appearances this season. 2018-19 marks the Deerfield, NY native's first in the USHL after being drafted by Lincoln in the 16th round, 255th overall in the 2018 USHL Phase II Draft. Before his time between the pipes in the nation's only Tier 1 junior hockey league, Mucitelli played for Northwood School (USHS), the Westchester Express and Syracuse Jr. Stars (USPHL).
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 17th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2018-19. The USHL had a record 45 players selected at the 2018 NHL Draft, more than any junior league in the world, 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.