USHL Update - Week 2
Tuesday October 9, 2012
Tyler Heinonen of the Muskegon Lumberjacks and Will Suter of the Lincoln Stars have played key roles in keeping their teams undefeated this season. (photos courtesy of Muskegon Lumberjacks and Brandon Anderson)
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Quick Start…The Youngstown Phantoms have jumped to the overall lead in the USHL winning each of their four games this season. The best start to a season in the team’s history has come much in part to scoring a League best 23 goals, including 15 over two weekend victories. J.T. Stenglein set a team record when he scored four goals in Friday’s 9-6 win over Waterloo. Austin Cangelosi recorded a hat trick (3g) in the contest, the first three-goal game of his USHL career. Defenseman have scored three of the team’s four game-winning goals this season, including Eric Sweetman who netted the winner on Friday. Daniel Renouf has scored two game-winners for the Phantoms and currently leads the USHL with a plus-11 rating. Forward Markus McCrea scored three goals over the weekend, including two in the 5-1 win at Cedar Rapids on Saturday.
Jacks Facts…The Muskegon Lumberjacks are also off to their best start since joining the USHL, compiling a 3-0-0 record. Forward Tyler Heinonen has tallied a goal in each of the first three games, including the game-winning in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Indiana. Chris Leibinger netted his third goal of the young season in Friday’s 3-1 win, which was also his second game-winner. Chad McDonald (1g, 1a) had his second multi-point game of the season on Saturday. After finishing with the second most penalty minutes a season ago, the Jacks have not frequented the penalty box this season as they currently have the second fewest penalty minutes in the USHL and have successfully killed off 10-of-11 opponent power plays.
Saints Go Marching…Winners of their first three games, the Dubuque Fighting Saints established their best start since coming to the USHL in 2010. Goaltending and defense has played a huge role in their early success as the Saints have allowed just three goals this season. Connor Girard made his first start of the season on Friday and made 20 saves, plus turned away three of four attempts in the shootout, to record the 3-2 shootout victory against Green Bay. Arthur Brey stopped all 21 shots he faced to post a shutout in the 2-0 win over Fargo on Saturday. The first-year netminder has allowed just one goal over two starts this season. Mike Szmatula scored a goal in both weekend contests and leads the Saints with four goals this season.
Short Stuff…The Lincoln Stars remain as the only undefeated team in the Western Conference after a 2-0-0 start. Their 5-2 victory on Friday against Des Moines set a bit of USHL history in the third period as the Stars would score a record three shorthanded goals, the most in one period by a team. Two of the goals came in the final moments as Des Moines had their goaltender pulled in favor of the extra attacker. Will Suter netted the first two shorthanded goals of the period and Zach Frye helped Lincoln set the record when he scored with just 36 seconds remaining.
Windy City Winning…Despite losing on Friday, the Chicago Steel are off to one of their best starts in team history compiling a 3-1-0 record. Alex Roos tallied his third goal of the season with just 17 seconds remaining in overtime on Saturday to lead the Steel to a 4-3 win over Green Bay. Chicago had been 1-13-3 in the previous 17 meetings against Green Bay. All four games for the Steel this season have been played at home but they now hit the road for seven of their next eight contests.
Crowded House…There were plenty of fans on hand Friday to see the Sioux Falls Stampede capture their first win of the season. A sellout crowd of 4,687 witnessed the 5-3 victory against Omaha, the largest crowd since February 19th, 2011. Five different players scored for the Stampede, including Sioux Falls native Zeb Knutson who tallied his first USHL career goal. Kyle Schempp netted the game-winner, his third goal in as many games, while Charlie Lindgren made 36 saves in goal for the Herd and gave Cary Eades his first win as head coach.
Storm Watching…It was a big home opener for the Tri-City Storm as 4,236 fans turned out to see the team claim their first win of the season, a 4-3 victory over Sioux City. It was the largest home crowd for the Storm since April 9th, 2011 and the fourth time in the last five seasons they have won their home opener. Brian Ward scored two goals for Tri-City, including the winner with just 38 seconds remaining in the third period. Defenseman Garrett Cecere scored his first USHL career goal and goaltender Johan Mattsson captured his first USHL win making 27 saves.
Late Heroics…After scoring the first goal of the USHL season, Drew Melanson may have scored the most important goal for the Omaha Lancers thus far. In the final moments with the Lancers trailing by a goal and their goaltender pulled in favor of the extra attacker against Sioux City, Melanson found the net with just four seconds remaining in the third period to tie the game at 2-2. The first-year USHL forward would be clutch again as he was the only player for either team to convert in the three-round shootout and give the Lancers their first win of the season.
Notes…After scoring just one goal in 48 games as a USHL rookie last season, forward Dylan McLaughlin netted two goals for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in Friday’s 5-2 win over Fargo…Forward Dylan Larkin has scored a goal in all three games for Team USA’s Under-17 squad this season. The 16-year-old leads the team with four total goals…Both goals by Indiana Ice forward Brian Morgan this season have been game-winners, including his third-period goal in the 3-2 victory over Team USA on Friday…Justin Kloos (2g, 1a) and Taylor Cammarata (2g, 1a) each had three-point games for the Waterloo Black Hawks in Friday’s 9-6 loss to Youngstown…All three games for the Sioux City Musketeers (0-1-2) this season have been decided by a single goal, including one decided in overtime and another in a shootout.
Looking Ahead…A total of 17 games will take place in the third week of the regular which includes all 16 USHL Member Clubs in action on both Friday and Saturday. Key matchups will see the unbeaten Youngstown Phantoms (4-0-0) host the unbeaten Dubuque Fighting Saints (3-0-0) for a pair of games in addition to another rematch of the 2012 Clark Cup Final series as the Green Bay Gamblers (0-2-2) make a visit to the Waterloo Black Hawks (2-1-0) on Friday. Waterloo won the first meeting of the season 4-3 in Green Bay on opening night of the regular season.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 11th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2012-13. With 18 NHL Draft picks on team rosters and over 200 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).
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