Jack Hughes, Team USA (courtesy Hickling Images)
Below are recaps and highlights from Wednesday's USHL games:
Six U18 players recorded at least three points as Team USA knocked off Central Illinois 11-2. The U18s led 3-1 after the first period and 9-2 through 40 minutes thanks to a six-goal outburst in the middle frame. Top 2019 NHL Draft prospect Jack Hughes picked up a hat trick, and five other Team USA players saw their names on the stat sheet at least three times - Cole Caufield (2G, 3A), Matthew Boldy (2G, 1A), Trevor Zegras (1G, 2A), Cam York (0G, 3A) and John Beecher (0G, 3A). Patrick Moynihan dished out a pair of assists, and Cameron Rowe and Spencer Knight split time between the pipes, with Knight earning the win with an eight-save shutout.
With their 5-4 win over Green Bay, the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders extended their winning streak to seven games and sit just three points back of second place in the Eastern Conference standings. The RoughRiders led 2-0 through 20 minutes thanks to goals from Joe Hankinson and Max Sasson, and held a 5-1 lead through two periods courtesy of Andrei Bakanov, Jerry Harding and Jack Millar's first USHL goal. Chase Pilawski found the back of the net for Green Bay in the second period. The Gamblers scored three times in the third period, with Detroit Red Wings prospect Ryan O'Reilly scoring his first goal with his new team and Gleb Murtazin finding the back of the net twice, but Cedar Rapids held on for the 5-4 win. Will Zmolek and Nathan Smith registered two assists each and Troy Kobryn made 29 saves for his sixth victory of the season.
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.