AROUND THE LEAGUE
On a Roll: The Youngstown Phantoms have won six of their last seven games, and were on a season high six-game winning streak before a 4-3 loss on Sunday to the Indiana Ice. The Phantoms currently sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The have outscored their opponents 30-16 over their last seven games and are averaging 4.23 goals per game over that span. Leading the way is Nathan Walker (2g, 6a), who has points in all six games played since joining the Phantoms. Austin Cangelosi (8a) and Ryan Lowney (2g, 6a) who each have points in five of their last six games. Sam Anas has also showed a nice scoring touch as of late recording five goals over his last three games.
Getting on the Board: This past weekend saw a number of players achieve USHL "firsts". Dubuque Fighting Saints defenseman Kyle McKenzie scored his first career goal in Sunday's 5-0 win over Team USA. The Aston, PA native netted the goal in his 91st career USHL contest. In that same game, Fighting Saints goaltender Connor Girard stopped all 23 shots he saw to earn his first career shutout. On Friday, Tri City Storm forward Michael Vecchione picked up his first career hat trick in Tri-City's 6-5 overtime win over the Waterloo Black Hawks. His third goal was the deciding marker in the extra session. A pair of goaltenders picked up their first career wins over the weekend as well. Sioux Falls Stampede netminder David Jacobson earned his first by stopping 21-of-22 shots to send the Stampede to a 4-1 victory over Team USA, and Green Bay Gamblers goaltender Richard Ullbergblocked all 24 shots he saw to take down Cedar Rapids earning his first career win and his first career shutout.
Picking Up Where He Left Off: Tri-City Storm forward Brian Ward has found the score sheet in six of his seven games since returning from injury on January 11, tallying 10 points (5g, 5a) during that span, including a six-game point streak that was snapped on January 29th. Overall, he has points in 11 of his last 12 games played (7g, 12a), which included an 11-game point streak, and is fourth on the team with 29 points (15g, 14a) and second in goals. His 11-game point streak is tied for the third longest in the USHL this season.
At Home on the Road: The Sioux Falls Stampede are currently in the midst of a season long nine-game road trip and are 5-1-0 so far on the trip. Being on the road hasn't affected them too much as they are outscoring their opponents 25-15 in the last six games and have scored four or more goals in four of their five wins. They have won 15 of their last 17 games overall, nine of which have been on the road, and currently sit in first place in the Western Conference with 57 points on the season.
Clean Sheets: Muskegon Lumberjacks goaltender Kevin Lindskoug picked up his League-leading seventh shutout of the season in a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Steel on Sunday. The Trelleborg, Sweden native currently leads all USHL goaltenders with a .927 save percentage, ranks second in wins with 18, and is fourth with a 2.37 goals-against-average.
Double Down: Green Bay Gamblers forwards Sheldon Dries and Kyle Novak have stepped up the offense as of late, combining for 13 goals and 31 assists over the last 16 games. Dries is currently riding a six-game point streak, tallying four goals and eight assists over that span, and has recorded points in 10 of his last 11 games. Novak is currently on a four-gamer, amassing four goals and five assists, and has points in 14 of his last 16 games.
Drawing Them In: The Lincoln Stars and the Sioux Falls Stampede are currently the top two teams in USHL attendance. The Stars have had 77,061 fans come through the turnstiles this season which is an average of 3,853 fans per game through 20 home dates with four sellouts on the year. The Stampede, who were the League leaders in attendance through the first half, have played in front of 79,843 fans this season, averaging out to 3,801 fans a game with a pair of sellouts. The Fargo Force are not far behind as they have welcomed over 68,000 fans through 18 home games for an average of 3,777 per contest, including crowds of more than 4,600 in each of their last two home games.
Notes: Omaha Lancers forward Connor Chatham leads the team with 13 goals and 104 shots this season...Indiana Ice forward Austin Ortega had three goals over the weekend giving him 24 on the season and tying him for second in the USHL in that category...Sioux City Musketeers forward Jake Guentzel scored a pair of goals in Sioux City's 3-2 win over Tri-City on Saturday, snapping a 10-game winless streak for the team...Fargo Force goaltender Cam Johnson made 29 saves to defeat the Lincoln Stars 3-2 on Saturday for his fifth straight win dating back to December 13th.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 11th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2012-13. With 20 NHL Draft picks on team rosters and over 250 players already committed to NCAA Division I schools this season, the USHL has emerged as the world's foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at www.USHL.com or visit the League's social media platforms, including Facebook (www.facebook.com/ushlhockey), twitter (www.twitter.com/ushl), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/ushlinteractive). Fans can also watch USHL action all season long, live or on-demand via FASTHockey (ushl.fasthockey.com).