Photos by Hickling Images
The United States Hockey League announced the Forward, Defenseman and Goaltender of the Week for Week 9 of the 2018-19 season. A pair of Muskegon Lumberjacks - forward Egor Afanasyev and defenseman Alex Yakovenko - and Central Illinois Flying Aces goaltender Ryan Snowden earned weekly honors. Afanasyev recorded seven points in three games last week, including a pair of three-point performances, Yakovenko scored twice and dished out three assists to win Defenseman of the Week for the second week in a row, and Snowden stopped 62 of the 65 shots he faced to lead Central Illinois 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.
3 GP: 3 goals, 4 assists, +2 rating
Afanasyev dished out three assists on Wednesday in Muskegon's 8-0 shutout of Team USA, scored twice and added a helper in the Lumberjacks' 8-3 triumph over Green Bay on Friday and found the back of the net for the third time in three games on Saturday. The Michigan State commit is now up to 24 points (11G, 13A) through 16 games to lead the Lumberjacks and sit fifth among all USHL players in scoring. He has also recorded at least one point in seven straight games dating back to Nov. 9, with 14 points (6G, 8A) and five multi-point performances in that span. A native of Moscow, RUS, Afanasyev is in his second season with Muskegon and recorded 14 points (6G, 8A) in 45 games with the Lumberjacks during the 2017-18 season. He was listed as a B-rated skater on NHL Central Scouting's Players to Watch List earlier this month and selected by Muskegon in the 10th round, 156th overall in the 2017 USHL Phase I Draft. Prior to his time in the USHL, Afanasyev previously played for Little Caesars (HPHL).
3 GP: 2 goals, 3 assists, +2 rating
Yakovenko was named Defenseman of the Week for the second straight week and third time in his USHL career thanks to a pair of multi-point performances. He scored a goal and dished out two assists on Wednesday, before recording his seventh goal and 14th assist of the year on Friday, both resulting in Muskegon victories. Yakovenko now leads all USHL defenseman and is tied for third among all Lumberjacks players in scoring with 21 points (7G, 4A) through 17 games. Prior to Saturday, he had scored a goal and recorded at least two points in four straight games, making him one of many dangerous elements of Muskegon's offensive attack, which currently leads the USHL with 91 goals in just 18 games. This is Yakovenko's third weekly honor of his USHL career, as he was named Defenseman of the Week once last season (Apr. 9), a year in which he recorded 17 points (3G, 14A) in 31 games for the Lumberjacks. He was added to Muskegon's roster in January and previously played for Chelmet Chelyabinsk in Russia.
2-0-0-0, 1.50 GAA, 0.954 SV%
Snowden stopped 33 of the 35 shots he faced in Central Illinois' 7-2 victory over Green Bay on Wednesday before making 29 saves on 30 shots to lead the Flying Aces to a 2-1 victory over Team USA's U18 team on Friday. The two victories improved the Ohio State commit's record to 9-2-0-0 on the season to go along with a 2.83 GAA and .910 SV%. His .910 SV% is the fourth-highest percentage in the league, while his 2.83 GAA puts him seventh among all USHL goaltenders. He is also fifth in the USHL with his nine victories and has stopped at least 30 shots in five of his 12 appearances, including a 48-save on 50-shot performance on Oct. 13 against Madison. Snowden is in his second USHL season and split time between Central Illinois and Des Moines during the 2017-18 campaign. The Kennett Square, PA native was acquired by the Flying Aces on Jan. 11, 2018 and previously played for the Topeka Roadrunners (NAHL), New Oxford High (USHS), Team Comcast (AYHL) and the Philadelphia Little Flyers.
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.