Trevor Kuntar, Youngstown Phantoms (courtesy Hickling Images)
Below is a recap of Friday's USHL games:
The Youngstown Phantoms won their biggest game of the season, a 5-4 overtime victory on the road over Team USA's U18 team, and have now earned five of their last six possible points. Following a scoreless first period, the Phantoms scored the first three goals of the second period, two Trevor Kuntar and one from Connor MacEachern, before Ryder Rolston got the U18s on the board with just 22 seconds left in the period, making it a 3-1 game through 40 minutes. Team USA stormed out of the gate in the third period, scoring the first three goals of the frame, thanks to Henry Thrun and a pair from Sean Farrell, to take a 4-3 lead with just under two and a half minutes remaining. The visitors fought back and tied the game with just 61 seconds remaining in regulation, as Kuntar found the back of the net for the third time to complete the hat trick and send the teams to overtime. 1:50 into the extra frame, Joseph Abate picked up the game-winning goal, giving the Phantoms the 5-4 victory. Christian Stoever stopped 33 of the 37 shots he faced for his third victory of the season.
The Dubuque Fighting Saints handed the Muskegon Lumberjacks just their fourth loss of the season, as a Matias Maccelli goal with just 1:11 left in the game gave his team a 3-2 victory. Muskegon scored their only goal of the first period, a Nolan Sullivan tally at 8:47, to take a 1-0 lead into the middle frame. The Fighting Saints picked up goals from Verners Egle and Logan Pietila to go up by a 2-1 margin heading into the final 20 minutes. Jack Williams' third goal of the season with just 2:44 to play tied the game before Maccelli picked up the game-winner and gave Dubuque the 3-2 lead, which they would hold onto for the win. Bram Scheerer dished out a pair of assists, Pietila and Maccelli had two-point nights and Vancouver Canucks prospect Matthew Thiessen made 26 saves on 28 shots for his sixth victory of the season.
The Des Moines Buccaneers snapped the Chicago Steel's eight-game winning streak with a 3-1 victory at Buccaneer Arena. Reed Lebster scored the only goal of the first two periods, picking up his 12th of the year at 15:47 of the opening frame. It remained a 1-0 game until early in the third, when Rylee St. Onge's third goal in his last two games doubled the Des Moines lead. Gunnarwolfe Fontaine cut the Steel's deficit in half at 13:24 of the third, but Lebster's second goal of the game, an empty-net tally with just one second remaining, gave Des Moines the 3-1 win. Anaheim Ducks prospect Roman Durny made 28 saves on 29 shots for his second straight victory.
The Fargo Force snapped the Tri-City Storm's six-game winning streak with a 4-2 road victory at Viaero Center. Fargo's Ben Meyers scored the only goal of the first period and Tri-City's Khristian Acosta picked up the lone tally of the middle frame, sending the teams to the third period tied at one. Meyers' second goal of the game 24 seconds into the third period gave the visitors their second lead of the contest and Daniel Russell's first USHL goal made it a 3-1 game. Joseph Molenaar responded at 8:39 of the final frame to cut the Storm's deficit to one, but Tyler Gratton's power play goal at 12:07 secured the victory for the Force. Ryan Bischel picked up the victory between the pipes with a 19-save performance.
Five goals in the final two periods gave the Waterloo Black Hawks their 13th victory of the season, a 6-2 triumph over the Madison Capitols at Young Arena. Madison jumped out to a 2-0 lead 14 minutes into the game, thanks to Anthony Stark and Dan Petrick, before Waterloo scored the final six goals of the game. Xander Lamppa got the Hawks on the board late in the first period to make it a 2-1 game through 20 minutes, Emil Ohrvall and Wyatt Schingoethe found the back of the net in the middle frame to make it a 3-2 game, and two goals from Vladislav Firstov along with Lamppa's second goal of the contest helped Waterloo pull away and pick up the 6-2 win. Matt Koopman dished out three assists, Mason Palmer recorded a pair of helpers and Winnipeg Jets prospect Jared Moe made 23 saves on 25 Madison shots for his second victory in his last three starts.
The Lincoln Stars picked up their second straight victory, a 2-1 overtime victory over the Sioux City Musketeers. Lincoln got on the board first with a Declan Carlile goal with just 24 seconds left in the first period. It remained a 1-0 game until early in the final frame, when Marcus Kallionkieli's 13th goal of the season tied the game with just 2:52 gone in the third period. Following a scoreless final 13 minutes of play in regulation, the teams headed to overtime. 2:57 into the extra frame, Chicago Blackhawks prospect Josiah Slavin found the back of the net to give the Stars the 2-1 win. Tyler Johnson's 31-save performance earned him his second straight victory between the pipes.
The Green Bay Gamblers picked up a hard-fought 2-1 shootout victory over the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. The two teams played to a scoreless tie through the first two periods of play before trading goals 27 seconds apart. 11:30 into the third period, Nicholas Zabaneh scored his fifth of the year to give Green Bay a 1-0 lead. Just 27 seconds later, Andrei Bakanov's third goal in his last four games tied the game and eventually sent the teams to overtime. Following a scoreless overtime period, Noah Ganske and Dylan Wendt found the back of the net in the shootout to give the visitors the extra point and the 2-1 win. Evan Fear made 26 of 27 saves through overtime and two of three attempts in the shootout for his seventh win of the year.
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.