The United States Hockey League announced the Forward, Defenseman and Goaltender of the Week for Week 20 of the 2018-19 season. Chicago Steel forward Nick Abruzzese earned his second weekly honor of the season, Tri-City Storm defenseman Ronnie Attard was named Defenseman of the Week for the third time this year and Omaha Lancers goaltender and New Jersey Devils prospect Akira Schmid was recognized as Goaltender of the Week for the first time. Abruzzese scored twice on Friday before dishing out three assists on Saturday. Attard scored four goals on Friday, the most by a USHL defenseman since 2015, and added three more points on Saturday, including a pair of helpers. Schmid picked up a 16-save shutout in relief on Friday, stopped 43 of 45 shots he faced on Saturday and was a combined 5-5 in the shootout to lead Omaha to a pair of shootout wins and extend the Lancers' winning streak to five games. 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.
2 GP: 2 goals, 3 assists, +1 rating
Abruzzese scored twice in Chicago's game in Sioux Falls on Friday before dishing out three assists to help the Steel to a 5-3 victory over the Sioux City Musketeers on Saturday night. With his five-point weekend, the Harvard commit climbed to the top of the USHL scoring race and now leads the league with 54 points (18G, 36A) through just 41 games. His 36 assists are second among all USHL players, he is tied for the team lead with his 18 goals and he leads the Steel with his 36 assists and 54 points, 10 assists and 19 points more than the next highest total. Since Jan. 1, Abruzzese has recorded 20 points (10G, 10A) in just 13 games, tied for the second-highest point total among all USHL players during that stretch. There have only been 10 games this season in which he has not recorded a point, compared to the 16 times this year in which he has recorded multiple points in a game. This is the second time this season Abruzzese has been named USHL Forward of the Week, as he previously earned weekly honors on Dec. 3. The Slate Hill, NY native is in his second USHL season and put up 36 points (13G, 23A) during the 2017-18 campaign. He was ranked 200th among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting's January Midterm Rankings and was acquired by Chicago on May 3, 2017 after originally being drafted by the Lincoln Stars in the 15th round, 241st overall in the 2016 USHL Phase II Draft. Prior to his time in the USHL, Abruzzese played for the New Jersey Junior Titans (NAHL) and North Jersey Avalanche (T1EHL).
2 GP: 5 goals, 2 assists, +6 rating
Attard scored four times on Friday in Tri-City's 7-0 shutout win of Green Bay before adding three more points - one goal and two assists - to help the Storm to a weekend sweep of the Gamblers. The Western Michigan commit's four-goal game was the first 4-goal game by a USHL defenseman since Vancouver Canucks prospect Quinn Hughes (Team USA) found the back of the net four times on Dec. 30, 2015. He is now up to 37 points (18G, 19A) on the season, tied for the team lead and second among all USHL defenseman, and leads all USHL blueliners with an average of 1.23 points-per-game. Attard is just one goal away from tying the USHL Tier 1 record for most goals by a defenseman in a season and has already scored the most goals by a defenseman since the 2009-10 season, when David Makowski (Green Bay Gamblers) lit the lamp 18 times. This is Attard's third weekly award of the season, as he was previously named USHL Defenseman of the Week on Dec. 3 and Jan. 14. 2018-19 marks Attard's third season in the USHL. He has played in 118 career games, all with the Storm, amassing 46 points (22G, 24A) in those contests. A White Lake, MI native, Attard was selected by Tri-City in the 10th round, 158th overall in the 2018 USHL Phase I Draft won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2018 World Junior A Challenge and was ranked 143 among North American skaters on the NHL Central Scouting Midterm Rankings in January. Prior to his time in the USHL, Attard skated for Victory Honda (T1EHL).
2-0-0-0, 1.02 GAA, .967 SV%
Schmid picked up a pair of shootout victories over the weekend, as he recorded a 16-save shutout, the first of his USHL career, and went 3-3 in the shootout against Sioux City on Friday. The next night, he stopped 43 of the 45 shots he faced against the Des Moines Buccaneers, in addition to stopping both attempts he saw in the shootout, to help extend Omaha's winning streak to five games. Thanks to his performance over the weekend, the Swiss netminder now sits with a 7-7-1-0 record to go along with a 2.28 GAA and .922 SV%, both good for second among all USHL goaltenders. He has won six of his last eight appearances dating back to Dec. 15 and has allowed only two goals or fewer in five of those contests. Schmid joined the Lancers on Nov. 3 after spending time with the Corpus Christi IceRays (NAHL) and Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL). He also represented his home country of Switzerland during both the 2018 and 2019 World Junior Championships. Before coming to North America, Schmid played for Langnau in Switzerland. Following the 2017-18 season, he was drafted in the fifth round, 136th overall by the New Jersey Devils in the 2018 NHL Draft.