AROUND THE LEAGUE
A Little Fire on the Prairie: The Sioux Falls Stampede have been on a tear as of late winning their last six games, and nine of their last 10. They have outscored their opponents 30-19 during their current winning streak and are in first place in the Western Conference with 45 points. A large part to this recent success is due to the fact that Sam Rothstein (4g, 6a), C.J. Franklin (4g, 6a), Zeb Knutson (5g, 4a), Dennis Kravchenko (3g, 6a), andThomas Forgione (5g, 3a) have combined for 45 points (21g, 24a) over the last seven games. They are part of a group of seven Stampede players who have reached double-digit goal totals, the most of any USHL team. Rothstein and Knutson are currently riding six-game point streaks, while Forgione is on a five-gamer. Kravchenko and Franklin have recorded points in six of their last seven games played. Goaltender Charlie Lindgren has also performed well having won his last four starts, posting a 2.69 GAA and .902 SV%.
Go Get Them Killer: The Indiana Ice have been lights out on the penalty kill over the last three and a half weeks. Indiana has killed off 34 straight penalties dating back to December 13th; a span of nine games. Their recent success on the PK has propelled them into seventh in the USHL on the kill at an 82.6% clip.
Guess I'll Just Keep on Going: Waterloo forward Taylor Cammarata is currently on an 11-game point streak, which is the second longest streak in the USHL this season (Mike Szmatula, 12 games, 10/19/12-11/17/12). He has registered 18 points (7g, 11a) during his current streak. He has failed to score in just three of his 26 games played this season, with multi-point efforts coming in all but eight of his games. Cammarata leads the League in points with 49 (18g, 31a) and has 118 career points in just 86 games played.
The Streak is Broken: With a 5-4 win on Friday night, the Waterloo Black Hawks were the first team to defeat the Dubuque Fighting Saints on home ice this season. The Saints (who possess both the League's best home record and overall record) were undefeated at home entering Friday with a 15-0-0 record. Dating back to last season, Dubuque had won 16 straight at home and 20 of their last 21 home contests. The impressive home win streak to start the season was nearing the all-time USHL record of 22 straight wins to begin a year which was set by the Sioux City Musketeers during the 1985-86 season. The 22nd win of that season ironically came against the Dubuque Fighting Saints. The Green Bay Gamblers now possess a League high 10-game home winning streak dating back to November 21st. After playing nine of their last 12 at home, the Gamblers now hit the road for 10 of their next 14.
Don't Blink or You Will Miss it: On Sunday, the Green Bay Gamblers and Chicago Steel traded goals just four seconds apart, breaking the USHL record for fastest two goals by two teams that stood for almost exactly 28 years. Gamblers forward Kyle Novak scored a shorthanded marker at the 19:55 mark of the second period. Off the ensuing faceoff, Steel forward Christian Heil flew in over the line and fired one in from the top of the faceoff circle right before the buzzer sounded. The previous record for fastest two goals by two teams was five seconds, set on January 11th, 1985 when Dave Taggart of the Thunder Bay Flyers scored at 18:55 of the first period before Jeff Wenninger of the Dubuque Fighting Saints scored at the 19:00 mark.
Sure Thing: Lincoln Stars goaltender Michael Bitzer continues to put up big numbers. His 28-save performance in Lincoln's 3-2 win over Tri-City on Saturday has him sporting a victory in each of his last four starts. Over that span he has posted a 0.98 GAA and .964 SV%, including one shutout. He owns a League best 1.91 GAA and is tops with a .929 SV% on the year. Also putting up some solid numbers is Fargo Force goaltender Brendan Jensen. He is riding a three-game winning streak and has won six of his last seven decisions. Over that seven-game span, he has a 1.71 GAA and .943 SV% with a pair of shutouts.
Fitting Right In: Omaha forward Robbie Baillargeon has had no issues settling in on his new squad as he has eight points (4g, 4a) since joining the Lancers. Since being traded from the Indiana Ice, the Ottawa Senators draft pick and has scored in five of his six games with Omaha and is on a three-game point streak (1g, 3a). Overall this season, he has 23 points (10g, 13a) which ties him with Matias Cleland (5g, 18a) for the team point lead. Also settling in nicely to a new team is Sioux City Musketeers forward Riley Bourbonnais. In his 13 games since being traded from Cedar Rapids, he has compiled 14 points (9g, 5a). He is currently riding a three-game point streak, putting up four points (2g, 2a) in that span, and has recorded points in 11 of his 13 games with the RoughRiders.
Storming the Net: Tri-City Storm forward Tim Bonner is currently riding a pretty impressive point streak. Bonner has points in each of his last six games, racking up five goals, including a hat trick, and five assists over that span. He is now tied for second on the team in points with 29 (13g, 16a).
They Got the Power: The Waterloo Black Hawks tied a USHL record by scoring eight power play goals in a 10-2 win over the Lincoln Stars on Dec. 31, equally a mark set by the Omaha Lancers (2/7/99) and St. Paul Vulcans (10/9/94). Five of those power play tallies came in the third period which also tied a USHL record that had been set by the Green Bay Gamblers (10/11/08) and Thunder Bay Flyers (10/29/88). Waterloo scored seven in the third period that night as six different players scored a goal, including two tallies by Pijus Rulevicius. That is the most goals scored in a period in three years, since the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders also tallied seven in a period on January 22nd, 2010.
Notes: Fargo Force forward Jordan Nelson recorded his first USHL career hat trick in Friday's 4-1 win over Omaha...Cedar Rapids RoughRiders forward Judd Peterson has registered eight points (2g, 6a) and a plus-seven on-ice rating during his current four-game point streak...Des Moines Buccaneers forward Tanner Karty has been lending a helping hand lately as he is riding a five-game assist streak, contributing assists on seven of the team's 16 goals over that stretch...Youngstown Phantoms defenseman Ryan Lowney put up three points (2g, 1a) in Saturday's 4-1 win against Muskegon. It was the first two-goal game of his USHL career...Three of the last five goals for Phantoms forward Kyle Connor have been game-winners, including his tally in Saturday's victory.
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 230 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).
* Disclaimer: This site may contain advice, opinions and statements from various authors and information providers. Views expressed in this article reflect the personal opinion of the author, and not necessarily the views of JuniorHockey.com. JuniorHockey.com does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other info provided in the article, or from any other member of this site.