Matias Maccelli, Dubuque Fighting Saints (courtesy Hickling Images)
Below is a recap of Thursday's USHL games:
Dubuque is now unbeaten in regulation in its last six games thanks to their 3-2 overtime victory in Green Bay. The teams traded goals in the first two periods, with Tyler Spott and Noah Prokop scoring for the Gamblers, while Verners Egle found the back of the net for the Fighting Saints along with James Sanchez, who extended his point streak to 13 games with the tally. The teams headed to overtime deadlocked at two goals apiece, and just 28 seconds into the extra frame, Matias Maccelli scored his 15th goal of the season to give the visitors the 3-2 win. Maccelli goal also extended his point streak to 15 games, the longest point streak in the USHL this season, and put him in a tie for the league scoring lead with 34 points (15G, 19A) in 34 games. Aaron Randazzo made 15 saves on 17 shots for his fifth victory of the season.
Sioux Falls moved into a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with a 4-2 home victory over Waterloo. Ryan Sullivan opened the scoring to give the Stampede a 1-0 lead before Joey Cassetti and Emil Ohrvall responded for Waterloo, giving the visitors a 2-1 advantage going into the second period. Jami Krannila scored the only goal of the middle frame, making it a 2-2 game after two periods of play. Ethan Phillips then scored twice in the third period just 1:41 apart to give Sioux Falls the 4-2 victory. Jared Westcott dished out a pair of assists, and Alec Calvaruso moved to 4-1 on the season with a 16-save performance.
Des Moines is now tied atop the Western Conference standings thanks to their 5-2 victory in Omaha. It was a 1-1 game through two periods of play, with each team picking up the lone goal in each of the first two frames. Cameron Berg opened the scoring in the first, putting Omaha up 1-0 with his second goal of the season. It remained a 1-0 game until Reed Lebster evened the proceedings on the power play late in the middle frame. The Bucs exploded for four goals in the third period to pull away, as Luke Manning, Sam Renlund and Mac Welsher all found the back of the net less than eight minutes into the final frame. Jaxon Nelson responded for the Lancers just three minutes later, but Lebster's second goal of the game, an empty-net tally, gave Des Moines the 5-2 win. Lebster also recorded two assists for a four-point night, Matt Brown and Jack Clement also added a pair of helpers and Anaheim Ducks prospect Roman Durny made 19 saves on 21 shots in his first game since scoring a goal on Dec. 18.
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.