The United States Hockey League announced the Forward, Defenseman and Goaltender of the Week for Week 22 of the 2018-19 season. Muskegon Lumberjacks forward and Chicago Blackhawks prospect Mikael Hakkarainen was named Forward of the Week for the second time this season, while Waterloo Black Hawks defenseman Hank Sorensen and Youngstown Phantoms goaltender Chad Veltri earned the first weekly honors of their USHL careers. Hakkrainen recorded six points in three games last week to help Muskegon become the first team to clinch a berth in the 2019 Clark Cup Playoffs, Sorensen scored a goal and dished out three assists in a pair of games over the weekend and Veltri recorded shutouts in both of his starts, stopping 51 total shots in the process. 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, 3 assists, +7 rating
Hakkrainen scored a goal and dished out two assists in Muskegon's 5-1 win over Central Illinois on Thursday afternoon before adding two more goals along with his third helper of the week as the Lumberjacks knocked off Team USA's U17 team 7-3 on Friday and became the first team to earn a spot in the 2019 Clark Cup Playoffs. The Finnish forward has registered 45 points (17G, 28A) in 33 games this season, tied for third on Muskegon in scoring behind Bobby Lynch and Egor Afanasyev and just outside the top-10 among all USHL players. He has recorded multiple points in 15 of those 33 contests and has been held off the scoresheet in consecutive games only twice this season. He has been one of the most consistent scorers in the USHL this season, as he is currently averaging 1.36 points-per-game, good for sixth in the league. Hakkarainen is now playing in his third USHL season after returning to the league from Providence College earlier this year. In 117 career USHL games, he has recorded 109 points (41G, 68) and has helped the Lumberjacks to the Clark Cup Playoffs in each of his three USHL seasons. 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, he suited up for the NAHL's Brookings Blizzard and the Espoo Blues in Finland. This is the second weekly award of the season for Hakkrainen, as he was also named USHL Forward of the Week on Nov. 12
2 GP: 1 goal, 3 assists, +6 rating
Sorensen scored his seventh goal of the season and recorded a pair of assists in Waterloo's 8-0 shutout of the Lincoln Stars on Friday and dished out his third assist of the weekend as the Black Hawks picked up a 7-3 victory over the Sioux City Musketeers on Saturday to maintain their second place position in the Western Conference standings. The Northern Michigan commit has been outstanding on the blueline for Waterloo this season, as he has recorded 33 points (7G, 26A) in 42 games. His 33 points lead all Waterloo defenseman and are tied for fifth among USHL blueliners, his seven goals are tied for seventh in the USHL and his 26 assists are tied for fourth among all defensemen in the league. He has recorded at least one point in 10 of his last 13 games dating back to Jan. 15, with 13 points (3G, 10A) in that span along with a +14 rating. A native of Wayzata, MN, Sorensen is in the midst of his third full USHL season and spent all 137 games of his USHL career with Waterloo, recording 70 points (16G, 54A) in those contests. He was selected by the Black Hawks in the second round, 32nd overall in the 2014 USHL Phase I Draft and played for Wayzata High (USHS) before joining the Black Hawks.
2-0-0-0, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 SV%
Veltri was perfect over the weekend, as he recorded a 27-save shutout against the Des Moines Buccaneers on Saturday before stopping all 24 shots he faced in Youngstown's 3-0 win at Central Illinois on Sunday to help Youngstown move into fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. The pair of shutouts also helped Veltri move over the .500 mark with Youngstown on the season, as he now sports a 7-5-0-1 record in 13 games with the Phantoms after being acquired from the Sioux Falls Stampede earlier this season. Overall, Veltri holds a 11-7-3-1 record along with a 3.33 GAA and .886 SV% in 23 appearances. The Niagara University commit has won five of his last seven starts dating back to Jan. 26, a huge reason why the Phantoms have climbed up the Eastern Conference standings as of late. 2018-19 marks the Fox Chapel, PA native's first USHL season. He was originally drafted by Sioux Falls in the fourth round, 61st overall in the 2018 USHL Phase II Draft and previously played for the Corpus Christi IceRays (NAHL), Pittsburgh Penguins Elite (T1EHL) and Fox Chapel Area High (USHS).
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.
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