Down to the Wire...USHL games have been tightly contested all season and the tenth week of the season was no different as fans enjoyed several fantastic finishes. 13 of the 16 games on the slate were decided by a single goal, including seven that went past regulation time.
Clutch Phantoms…The Youngstown Phantoms have a knack for winning the close ones as they improved to 7-1-1 in one-goal games this season. They kept up their winning ways by capturing their only game of the week, which extended their winning streak to a season best four games. Quinn Smith scored the first goal of the game and then tallied the game-winner with just over two minutes to play in the 4-3 victory against Team USA on Saturday. Goaltender Matthew O’Connor made 29 saves to earn his fourth straight victory. Ty Loney scored his third goal over his last four games and now leads the club with eight on the season.
Late Heroics for Ice…It was better late than never for the Indiana Ice on Friday. Trailing 1-0 in the third period, the Ice pulled their goaltender in favor of the extra attacker and Daniil Tarasov scored the tying goal with under a minute to play. In overtime, there was just 31 seconds remaining when defenseman Tim Smith netted the game-winner for Indiana. It was the third straight win for the Ice, their longest streak of the season. The Ice have allowed just five goals over their last four games. Smith and his defense partner Nick Mattson have combined for seven points (3g, 4a) and a plus-nine rating during the three-game win streak. Mattson is second in the USHL with a plus-13 rating.
Star Struck…The Lincoln Stars have moved into a tie for second place in the Western Conference after earning five of a possible six points during the weekend. Taking advantage of their opportunities has been key for the club as they went a combined 5-of-7 on the power play in their two wins. Their last four victories have been by a single goal as they have won six of their last seven one-goal games. John McCarron and Eric Scheid both scored a pair of goals in Sunday’s 4-3 overtime win against Omaha. Scheid’s second goal of the game was the overtime winner. Garrett Peterson has a goal in three of the last four games, including the game-winner in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Des Moines, and defenseman Ben Oskroba has dished out an assist in eight of the team’s last 10 victories.
Storming Along…The Tri-City Storm have extended their winning streak to four games. The victories have come during the first four games of their six-game homestand and the team is now tied for third in the USHL with six home wins this season. Soren Jonzzon has four points (3g, 1a) over his last two games and Matt Johnson is riding a three-game point streak in which he has put up five points (3g, 2a) and a plus-four rating. Kenny Brooks has three goals over his last three games while goaltender Christopher Holden has been in net for the last two victories, posting a 1.50 GAA and .951 SV%.
The “O” in Omaha…A four-game homestand came to an end for the Omaha Lancers as they gained three of a possible four standings points over the weekend. The Lancers has scored 19 goals over their last five contests. Six of those goals have come off the stick of Seth Ambroz, including four over the last three games. Ryan Daugherty has tallied four goals during that stretch. Stefan Demopoulos has dished out six assists over the last five games and has posted a plus-eight rating. He equaled two USHL game highs when he recorded four assists and a plus-five rating in Friday’s 5-4 win over Sioux Falls.
Bonus Hockey…The Cedar Rapids RoughRiders have played four straight games that have gone past regulation play. Six of their last eight contests have been decided in extra time. The Riders are 5-2 in games this season that have gone to overtime or a shootout. The Muskegon Lumberjacks played three straight one-goal games over the weekend, including one shootout and one overtime contest. Five of their last eight games have been decided by a single goal.
A Must for Musketeers…The Sioux City Musketeers put an end to a six-game winless stretch (0-5-1) when they earned a 3-2 shootout win vs. Fargo on Saturday. Defenseman Jordan Schmaltz scored his second goal in as many nights and had the deciding shootout tally. Brad Robbins also scored in the shootout following a two-assist effort the previous night which was his debut in the USHL.
Home Cooking in Dubuque…The Dubuque Fighting Saints wrapped up their four-game homestand with a pair of one-goal wins over the weekend. The first goal of the season for defenseman Tyler Amburgey was the overtime winner in Friday’s 4-3 win against Muskegon. On Saturday night, John Gaudreau stole the show with his second hat trick of the season. The line of Gaudreau (3g, 1a), Vinny Saponari (1g, 3a), and Shane Sooth (4a) combined for 12 points (4g, 8a) in the victory that snapped the eight-game win streak for the Gamblers.
Notes…Waterloo Black Hawks forward Gunnar Hughes has scored four goals over his last four games. Black Hawks defenseman Blake Thompson scored a goal in Saturday’s 4-2 win over Team USA. He has nine points in 16 games this season (3g, 6a), equaling his combined point total in 112 previous USHL games over two seasons…Team USA goaltender Collin Olson earned his first USHL victory making 33 saves and stopping all five attempts in the shootout of the 4-3 win over Lincoln on Friday…Rocco Grimaldi has scored four goals over his last three USHL games for Team USA.
What They are Saying…
“It’s pretty cool, and it might be a once-in-a-lifetime thing for me. I knew it was a fancy move, but I didn’t think a USHL highlight would go this far. I’m not going to try to pull that move again. If I miss, it’s not going to look as good.”
- Muskegon Lumberjacks defenseman Travis Walsh on his highlight reel game-winning shootout goal that has been featured by media outlets across the country, including appearances on ESPN’s SportsCenter and PTI television shows.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its ninth season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2010-11. With over 200 players this season already committed to NCAA Division I schools and 15 NHL Entry Draft picks on League rosters, the USHL is the nation's foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at http://www.ushl.com/