This past weekend was the first quarter marker for the USHL Currently, the Black Hawks and Steel have a two-game first-place lead in their respective division and the defending champions are nowhere to be found.
The most recent players of the week are Buccaneers forward Joey Strada, Steel defenseman Uula Ruikka, and RoughRiders goalie Derek Mullahy. In two games, Strada scored five goals and boasted a +4, Ruikka scored two goals and two assists for a +3, and Mullahy had a 1.5 GAA and .946 SV%.
Kicking things off were the Capitols when they traveled to Fargo to take on the Force. Game one was not pretty for the Caps. Falling behind early, their first and only goal came at the 12-minute mark in the second period off the stick of Stepan Pokorny. It didn’t help that the team racked up 10 penalties totaling 39 minutes. As a team, they’re averaging over 30 shots per game, they just can’t find the back of the net. In net was Simon Latkoczy who was 6 for 10 but replaced by Garret Mackay after the four-goal deficit. Mackay was 32 of 35.
In game two, the Capitols seemed to wake up and realize they’re 20 points behind the Steel and are thinking about a playoff push. Kristof Papp scored two first-period goals to give the Caps an early 2-0 lead which they held throughout the first two periods. It was the third period that tripped them up as they gave up two goals within three minutes of each other. The game went into overtime where they fell 3-2. Garret Mackay was in net saving 38 of 41 shots. The Caps got a much-needed point but they’ll need to start closing out these types of games if they want to have any sniff of the playoffs.
For the Force, it was a four-goal first period that propelled them to victory. First-period goal scorers were Tristan Broz, Colton Huard, Mason Salquist, and Aaron Grounds. If only the second-period counted, this would’ve been a close game. Kaden Bohlsen scored for the Force which matched Pokorny’s goal for the Caps for a 1-1 tie. In the third period, the Force picked things back up when Casey MacDonald and Ondrej Pavel scored to make it 7-1. Cole Brady was 29 for 30 on save opportunities.
In game two, it was the same result for the Force, just a different score. After trailing for the first two periods, 2-0, Tristan Broz and Noah Beck scored two goals in the third period within 3 minutes of each other to tie it at two. Beck scored again in overtime to give the Force the points they hoped to find. Cole Brady was in net again making 23 of 25 saves.
Last week, the Jacks invited the Buccaneers to their arena and were less than friendly. After falling behind early, the Jacks scored their first goal in the third period to cut the deficit to 3-1 but at that point, it was too late. They fell 3-1 at home. Noah Giesbrecht started in net and went 15 for 18 but was pulled midway through the second period for Jack Williams who went 15 for 18 as well.
The week got off to a rough start for the Buccaneers as they faced a Team USA’s U-18s and lost. After an early deficit, Joey Strada scored minutes into the second period to cut the deficit to 3-1. Connor Senken scored in the third shortly after USA’s Matthew Beniers made it 4-1. The defense for Team USA was sweltering as they only allowed 13 for the Bucs. Cameron Rowe was in net where he saved 27 of 31 shots faced.
Traveling to Muskegon for a game against the Lumberjacks, The Buccaneers turned their week around with a 3-1 win. Michael Mancinelli broke the game open three minutes into the game with a goal. Mancinelli scored again midway through the second period and Joey Strada added the third to go up 3-0. Christian Stoever was a wall in the net making 39 of 40 saves.
Their final game of the week was against the Phantoms where Logan Anderson and Joey Strada started off the game on the right foot. Heading into the second period with a 2-0 lead, the Bucs surrendered two goals to the Phantoms to tie the game at two apiece, but the third period was all Bucs. Patrick Schmiedlin, Manuel Alberg, and Mason Nevers all scored in the third period for the 5-2 win. Cameron Rowe stood tall making 34 of 36 saves.
Sitting at 8-6-1-1, the Stars don’t seem to be the “shooting stars” they once were. Last week they hit a bit of a rough patch as they lost both of their games. In the first game, they were able to get 23 shots off, unfortunately, none went in. The Stars fell 3-0 at the hands of the RoughRiders. Jacob Muticelli was 34 for 36 on save opportunities, but it was the penalties that killed the Stars. They racked up 33 penalty minutes.
In game two, Christian Sarlo scored the early and only goal for the team as they fell to the Saints, 5-1. Ryan McInchak was in net where he made 27 of 32 saves.
Youngstown took on Team USA’s U-18 team and fell behind early. After a 3-0 deficit, Arseni Smekhnov and Georgi Merkulov scored two goals within 10 seconds of one another to cut the deficit to 3-2. John Beaton scored the game-tying goal two minutes later to head into the second period tied 3-3. Bradley Marek scored the lone goal in the second period, and John Beaton and Reilly Funk scored in the third to make it 6-3. Dominic Basse got the start but after a rough first period only saving three of six shots, he was replaced with Colin Purcell who stood tall going 16 for 16 the rest of the way for a 6-3 win.
For the Phantom’s second game of the week, they took on the Buccaneers and fell 5-2. Yusako Ando scored midway through the second period and Matthew Cassidy scored with 10 seconds remaining in the period to tie the game at two. Unfortunately, that was all the scoring the Phantoms could get. Colin Purcell was 20 for 24 in the save column.
Some NHL Draft updates for Team USA include forward Luke Tuch being ranked as an “A” skater. He joins teammate and defenseman Jake Sanderso and forward Ty Smilanic as A-ranked skaters on the team. This ranking means they are most likely to be first-round candidates in the upcoming draft. Teammates Brett Berard, forward, Chase Yoder, forward, and Tanner Dickinson, forward, are also ranked but as “B” skaters and are projected to be second or third-rounders.
For game one, the U-18s took on the Buccaneers and Brett Berard started things off with a goal just over the 5-minute mark. Thomas Bordeleau and Tanner Latsch added another first-period goal to make it 3-0. Matthew Beniers made it 4-1 half-way through the third period and goaltender Noah Grannan stood tall down the stretch as he made 11 of 13 saves. Team USA won 4-2.
The U-18s suffered their first USHL loss of the year against the Phantoms last week, 6-3. After an early 3-0 lead thanks to Thomas Bordeleau, Matthew Beniers, and Chase Yoder, they conceded two goals within 10 seconds of each other and a third two minutes later to go into the second period tied 3-3. Without any more goals scored, Drew Comesso took the loss but did make 24 of 30 saves.
In other NHL Draft news, forward Grant Silianoff, defenseman Ben Meehan, and forward Michael Citara are now listed on the most recent NHL Central Scouting Players to watch. All listed with a “C” rating, this means they have potential to be drafted as fourth, fifth, or sixth-round picks in the 2020 NHL draft.
The RoughRiders first game of the week was against the Stars where they won with a shutout, 3-0. Max Sasson scored a first-period goal which was accompanied by two third-period goals from Nokolai Mayorov and Nate Hanley. Hanley’s goal came with under 1-minute remaining to win 3-0. Derek Mullahy was stellar making all 23 saves.
Game two of the week went into overtime against the Storm where the Riders fell 3-2. Garret Sundquist scored 1:22 into the second period to cut the deficit to 2-1, and Grant Silianoff scored at the same time in the third period to tie the game at two apiece. They just weren’t able to seal the deal but were able to come away with at least one point. Derek Mullahy was in net making 32 of 35 saves and took the loss. The story of the game for the RoughRiders was penalty minutes though. On 16 penalties, they racked up 64 minutes, a recipe for not winning very many games.
After a rough first quarter of the season, it doesn’t appear the Stampede have much to look forward to the rest of the way. With three games on the docket last week, they lost in all three of them. In the first game away in Sioux Falls, the Musketeers won 5-2 of the Stampede. Brian Carrabes and Ryan Sullivan scored two third period goals which made it close for a moment, but the Musketeers were too powerful for the Stamp. Arseni Sergeev made 33 of 38 saves.
In game two, the Stamp got on the pedal early with goals from Tyler Coffey, Brian Carrabes, and Evan Nause. Unfortunately, that was the highlight of the night for fans in The Stable. Grant Adams made 22 of 27 saves for the team but wound up with the loss.
Their final loss of the week came at the hands of the Gamblers. This goal was ugly for the first two and a half periods until Tyler Coffey scored the lone goal for the Stampede with three minutes left to avoid an 8-0 shutout. Goaltender Arseni Sergeev, 10 for 15, was pulled two minutes into the second period for Grant Adams who was 14 of 17 the rest of the way.
With three games last week, the Musketeers would’ve liked to improve upon their current standing. With an opening weekend game against the Stampede, it was Dominic Vidoli who waited 21 minutes to score the game’s first goal. He wanted to hold off on the first period and make the first minute of the second period all his. Ray Christy added a second-period goal 10 minutes later, and Joel Matta answered Brian Carrabes’ goal 15 seconds later to keep a 2-goal lead at 3-1. Ryan Sullivan scored shortly after making it a 3-2 game, but Kirklan Irey and Sam Stange said enough was enough to make the final 5-2. Ethan Haider made 22 of 23 saves.
The tough test for the Musketeers was against the Steel in the next two games. In the first game, Sam Strange scored in the second period but they went into the third period down 5-1. Christian Jimenez and Viktor Masilevich scored late goals in the third to make it a respectable 6-3 loss. Ethan Haider, 11 for 15, was pulled midway through the second for Aidan Harper who finished 5 of 7.
In game two, Ray Christy scored late in the first period to give the Musketeers a lead, and Ian Malcolmson scored a late goal in the second period to retain a 2-1 lead. Unfortunately, that was all the scoring they’d get as they couldn’t get the needed win but they did get a needed point. They fell in overtime, 3-2. Ethan Haider made 29 of 32 saves.
TRADE ALERT- the Gamblers acquired defenseman, John Prokop, from the Lumberjacks in exchange for forward, Dylan Wendt. Prokop has one goal and one assist in 11 games this season.
For the Gamblers, Chad Hillebrand and Noah Ganske scored two first period goals against the Stampede in the 6-3 victory. Mason Lohrel also had a goal while Alex Servagno scored the last goal in the second period and the first goal in the third period. Camden Thiesing put the icing on the cake late in the third for the 6-3 win. Gavin Enright was in net making 30 of 33 saves.
Staying in Sioux Falls, the Gamblers felt right at home for game two as they trounced the Stampede 8-1. Jake Schmaltz scored the first goal of the game which opened the flood-gates for Nicholas Zabaneh and Ryan O’Reilly for two more first-period goals. McKade Webster, Jesse Tucker, and Tyler Paquette joined the scoring frenzy in the second period and Braidan Simmons-Fischer and Jackson Kunz finished the game in the third period. Nicholas Grabko didn’t have the busiest of nights but did make 21 of 22 saves.
The Steel continued their great start by defeating the Musketeers in both games against them last week. After a quiet first period, the Steel erupted for five second-period goals. Brendan Brisson started the scoring 6:30 into the period and finished the scoring frenzy at the seven-minute mark. Erik Middendorf, Gunnarwolfe Fontaine, and Josh Doan all joined the second-period frenzy as well and Sean Farrell added one in the third. The Steel scored six goals on 22 shots, that’s efficiency at its finest. Victor Ostman picked up the 6-3 victory by making 30 of 33 saves.
The Musketeers must not have liked how they were treated in game one as they came out with some extra fire in game two. Matty De St. Phalle scored half-way through the second period to tie the game at one while Tyler Carpenter joined the scoring with a goal halfway through the third period to tie it at two. Sam Colangelo capped off the comeback with the game-winner 1:53 into overtime to win, 3-2. Ian Shane played netminder making 25 of 27 saves.
For the Storm, they split last week’s game with a win and a loss. First up, the Saints. Nick Capone scored the first goal of the game late in the second period to give the Storm a 1-0 lead heading into the third period. Too bad for them, that would be all as they couldn’t score another regulation or overtime goal. They fell 2-1 but still got a well-deserved one point. Daniel Allin made 15 of 17 saves.
Against the RoughRiders, the Storm felt like heading back to overtime. This time though, they ended up sealing the deal. Benji Eckerle scored an early goal for a 1-0 lead, and Nick Portz scored later in the first to make it 2-0. Going silent until overtime, Cole McWard scored the game-winner 2:23 into the frame for the 3-2 overtime victory. Daniel Allin made 11 of 13 saves and with 48 penalty minutes, the Storm should be thankful to come away with a win.
It was a tough week for the Lancers as they added two tallies to their lost column. Both games came against one of the league’s best teams, the Black Hawks, and the Lancers put up a great effort in both games.
In game one, Ryan Sorkin scored first to give the Lancers a 1-0 first period lead, and Christian Berger scored in the second period to tie the game at 2-2. After conceding a late goal in the second period, the Lancers went into the third period down 3-2. Cole Kodsi scored late in the third but they conceded one more goal falling 4-3 on the night. Dobes was 30 of 33 on the evening.
In the second game against the Hawks, it was the same score, just with overtime included. Ryan Lautenbach scored the lone first-period goal while Logan Will and Jackson Decker scored the pivotal goals late in the third period to tie the game at 3-3 forcing overtime. Unfortunately, the Lancers couldn’t find the net in overtime and fell to 5-7-3 on the year. Kyle McClellan stopped 36 of 40 shots.
The Saints defeated the Storm and Stars last week to bring their record to 10-2-1. Against the Storm, Dylan Jackson scored a third period goal to push the game to overtime and Riese Gaber said enough was enough and scored the game-winner. One of the league’s best goalies, Erik Portillo, made 24 of 25 saves on the night.
Taking on the Stars in their second game of the week, this one was a little easier for the Saints. Dylan Jackson, Antonio Venuto, Ty Jackson, and Riese Gaber’s two goals propelled the team to a 5-1 victory. The Saints showed that they have too much firepower for the Stars to keep up with. Erik Portillo added another win to his stat sheet by making 19 of 20 saves.
Wrapping up the recaps from last week were the Black Hawks who improved to 11-3-1. Against the Lancers, Connor Caponi, Jacob Bengtsson, and Xander Lamppa scored in the second period to give themselves a 3-2 lead heading into the third period. Connor Caponi scored to make it 4-2. Shortly after, the Lancers pulled their goalie, Jakub Dobes, for the extra skater and were able to capitalize on the opportunity making the game 4-3. Thankfully for the Hawks, that’s what turned out to be the final. Gabriel Carriere didn’t see too much action, but of the 20 shots he did see, he saved 17 of them.
For their final game, the Hawks took on the Lancers and won 4-3 in overtime. Patrick Guzzo gave the Hawks an early lead and was later accompanied by Aaron Bohlinger’s goal to lead 2-1 at the end of the first. Luke Bast scored two minutes into the third period for a 3-1 lead. Ryder Rolston scored the game-winner 2:23 into overtime and Logan Stein made 21 of 24 saves.
Leading Points Scorers:
Sean Farrell, Steel, 23
Trevor Kuntar, Phantoms, 21
Mathieu De St. Phalle, Steel, 20
Leading Goal Scorers:
Joey Strada, Buccaneers, 13
Mathieu De St. Phalle, Steel, 11
Trevor Kuntar, Phantoms, 10
Leading Assists Leaders:
Sean Farrell, Steel, 16
Jordan Power, Stars, 13
Owen Power, Steel, 12
Goalie Wins Leaders:
Erik Portillo, Saints, 8
Victor Ostman, Steel, 8
Ethan Haider, Musketeers, 7
Goalie Save Percentage:
Logan Stein, Black Hawks, .923%
Christian Stoever, Buccaneers, .918%
Nicholas Grabko, Gamblers, .916%
Goals Against Average:
Logan Stein, Black Hawks, 1.93
Erik Portillo, Saints, 2.17
Gabriel Carriere, Black Hawks, 2.18
Come back next week to get more USHL news and be sure to follow me on Twitter @Nwinansw
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