Monday, September 30- Junior Hockey Update

After months of anticipation, the puck has finally dropped to start the 2019-20 USHL season. There hasn’t been much news from around the league, other than some scores that took place in the past week. 

Lumberjacks
The ‘Jacks currently find themselves at 0-2-0 after falling to the Saints and Stars. The Saints handled the ‘Jacks a 4-1 defeat with the lone goal coming from Christophe Fillion with an assist from AJ Hodges. Against the Stars, it was Luke Mobley and Oliver MacDonald who netted two in their 4-2 loss versus the Stars. When asked about the two losses, coach Mike Hamilton said, “At the end of the day, I don’t care how many guys you have. Your goal is to win games, so yeah, it’s a disappointing trip coming back 0-2. We’ll get back at it Monday, hopefully, learn some things and get ready for another weekend at Youngstown.” Top player Danil Guschin will need to play better and lift up his teammates if the ‘Jacks hope to see a lot of success this season.

Saints
Heading into the regular season after averaging 5 goals per game, the Saints high-powered offense continued right where they left off. In their 4-1 win versus the ‘Jacks, Riese Gaber, Dylan Jackson, Matthew Kopperud, and Matthew Cheremeta all showed off their first celly of the season. Goalie Erik Portillo was 23-24 for save opportunities. 
The Saints also took on the Capitols where Riese Gaber scored twice and Ryan Beck and Dylan Jackson also netted one in their 4-3 win.

Capitols
Madison hasn’t gotten off to the best start as of yet, but there is a lot of promise. They dropped their first game to the Lancers where it was only Carson Bantle scoring in the 1-4 loss. Their second game versus the Saints was the same result, but this time it was Reid Pabich, Cole Kodsi, and Carson Bantle scoring in the 3-4 loss. The line of Bantle, Kristoff Papp, and Reid Pabich will be lethal all year. 

The first victory of the season for the ‘Caps came against the Phantoms in a 6-5 OT thriller. In a back-and-forth game, Ryan Kirwan, Kristof Papp, Verners Egle, Stepan Pokorny, Carson Bantle, and Gustav Muller scoring.
 
Lancers
The Lancers split their first two games of the season when they played the Capitols and RoughRiders. Against the RoughRiders, Rhett Pitlick was the lone scorer in their 1-4 loss, but they picked things up against the Capitols. Zach Plucinski, Alex Campbell, Matthew Sutton, and Noel Renwick scored to taste victory, 4-1.

RoughRiders
The RoughRiders find themselves atop the leaderboard after going 2-0 to start the season. Donte Lawson, Ben Meehan, and Jack O’Leary scored once while this was the Robby Newton show as he scored his first hat-trick of 2019 in the 6-2 thumping of the Phantoms.

Against the Lancers, the RoughRiders’ Tyler Rollwagen, Jack Millar, Ben Meehan, and Nate Hanley had points in the 4-1 route.

Phantoms
Youngstown could’ve had a better start to 2019, but it also could’ve been worse. Dropping their first game to the RoughRiders, 6-2, only Yusako Ando and Trevor Kuntar found the net. However, when they played the Storm, the scoring started to pour in. Aresni Smekhnov and Trevor Kuntar scored twice and Josh DeLuca scored once in the 5-2 win.

The game versus the Capitols was an OT shootout where Matt Cassidy, Yusako Ando, Austin May, Jayson Dobay, and John Larkin scored in the 5-6 OT loss.

Storm
Tri-City finds themselves looking for answers after dropping to 0-2 on the season. Against the Blackhawks, Joe Molenaar pushed the team into OT where the Storm ended up falling 1-2. Against Youngstown, Benji Eckerle and Colby Ambrosio found themselves on the positive side of the 2-5 loss.

Blackhawks
The Waterloo Blackhawks, not Chicago, are 2-0 and off to a good start to the year. In the OT game versus the Storm, Ondjrej Psenicka and Aaron Bohlinger played big roles, but it was Gabriel Carriere and his huge day in net that saved the day, 26-27 saves.

Against the Force, Xander Lamppa, Aaron Bohlinger, and Wyatt Schingoethe scored in the 3-2 victory.

Force
The Force also split their first two games of the season and sit on a record of 1-1. Their win against the Stars was a 3-0 shutout with Casey McDonald, Lynden Breen, and Cedric Fiedler scoring. But this game was similar to an ESPN 30 for 30 as goalie Cole Brady was exactly that in the save column, 30 for 30.
Against the Hawks, the Force fell 3-2 as Aaron Grounds and Ondrej Pavel needed just one more to push this game to OT. Cole Brady was again solid in net making 24 of 27 saves.

Stars
The Stars dropped to 0 and 1 when they played the Force after getting shutout 3-0. It was then they played the Lumberjacks that they picked up their first win in the 4-2 game. Matthew Barbolini, Josh Groll, and Josh Lopina, all scored in this affair. For goalie and former Lumberjack, Travis Treloar, he made 17-19 saves. 

USA (18-under)
USA’s 18-under team took on the Gamblers and came out victorious. Daniel Laatsch, Tanner Latsch, and Landon Slaggert had one, while Luke Tuch scored twice in their victory. 

Gamblers
Green Bay fell 2-5 to the USA 18-under development team, and it was Benito Posa and Camden Thiesing who made this one exciting for Gamblers fans.

The Gamblers also decided on McKade Webster to be their team captain for the season. “This year’s team is a veteran group and any number of players could have fulfilled the role of team captain. The choice of McKade wearing the “C” was based on his leadership qualities and the respect his teammates have for him,” said Head Coach and General Manager, Pat Mikesch. Xan Gurney and Ryan O’Reilly named assistant captains. O’Reilly named to 2018 USHL All-rookie 2nd team. “Xan and Ryan are two players with a great deal of USHL experience. Xan has two Clark Cups to his credit and Ryan has the potential to be one of the top players in the league. Like McKade, both also possess tremendous leadership skills and have the respect of their teammates,” said Mikesch

Buccaneers
Des Moines fell to the Stampede 3-6 to start their season. Joey Strada, Mason Nevers, and Matt Choupani all scored in their loss.

Stampede
The defending Clark Cup Champion Stampede started their season off the right way by defeating the Buccs in a 6-3 win. Luke Weilandt, Timo Bakos, Jakub Lewandowski, Tyler Coffey, Jared Wescott, and Brenden Olson each had a goal. But Nate Reid was absolutely stellar in net making 47 of 50 saves in his first-ever USHL game.

Steel
Chicago got off on the right foot against the Muskateers by defeating them 3-2 thanks to Gunnarwolfe Fontaine’s two goals and Mackie Samoskevich’s one.

Muskateers
Joel Maatta nearly brought the team to victory against the Steel in their 2-3 loss by scoring two goals.


Come back next week to get more USHL news and be sure to follow me on Twitter @Nwinansw. I’ll see you next week.

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