These weekly pieces are here to give you a quick glimpse into what’s happening around the league and who you should keep an eye on. We’re roughly five games into the season and there hasn’t been a clear-cut leader to this point. Teams are still finding their footing and determining who works best on which line.
Before jumping right into the recap, the USHL has announced that Stephanie Morgan will be the Vice President of Finance & Operations. Morgan has been with the USHL for the past three seasons and has quickly risen through the ranks. Congratulations Stephanie!
While some guys are deciding which tape to use, others are out deciding if they want to go top shelf or 5-hole. At this point, Carson Bantle of the Capitols leads the league with 4 goals, and there’s a slew of players tied for second with 3 goals. Reilly Funk of the Phantoms leads the league with 8 points (3 goals, 5 assists), and Bantle (4 goals 3 assists) and Justin Hryckowian (2 goals 5 assists) of the RoughRiders are tied with 7 points.
Through 4 games, Simon Latkoczy has faced a whopping 132 shots, 43 more than the next highest. Of those, he has allowed 13 goals has a .902 save percentage. Christian Stoever from the Buccaneers has faced 36 shots and made 35 saves to boast a .972 save percentage and .75 goals-against average. Gabriel Carriere of the Black Hawks sits at 3-0 and has faced 76 shots, given up 4 goals, has a 1.29 goals-against average, and a .947 save percentage.
The defending Clark Cup champions unveiled their banner for their home opener this past week but the celebration was spoiled by the Stars in a 6-4 loss. In the effort, Luke Weilandt and Timo Bakos scored while Brian Carrabes had himself two goals on the night.
The Stamp also took on the Steel and fell 4-2 where Jakub Lewandowski and Isaac Henkemeyer-Howe scored.
In three games this week, the Gamblers went 1-2 against the Bucs, Hawks, and Steel. In their first game against the Bucs, they won in a 4-0 shutout thanks to Alexander Servagno, Nicholas Zabaneh, McKade Webster, and Tyler Paquette.
When taking on the Black Hawks, the Gamblers fell 3-1 with Servagno scoring the lone goal. In their final game of the week, the Gamblers fell again to the Steel in a 3-1 losing effort with Jesse Tucker being the lone scorer.
The Bucs’ two games this week were in stark contrast to one another. In the first game, the Gamblers shut them out 4-0, and in the second, they won 6-1; one blowout to another. In the 6-1 thumping of the Force, Alex Laferriere had himself a hat-trick while Matt Choupani, Mason Nevers, and Yaroslav Alexeyev each had one.
Splitting their two games this week, the Muskateers fell in the first 4-0 to the USA development team. In their second game, they took on the Lancers and won 2-1 in an exciting OT thriller. Joel Maatta scored the first and Dominic Vidoli scored the game-winner.
For Team USA’s U-18 development team, they either won by four or lost by more than 4 in their three games. Winning 4-0 against the Muskateers, Landon Slaggert and Bret Berard scored once while Thomas Bordeleau scored twice.
The U-17 development team then took on the RoughRiders in a pair of games and fell both times. In the first, Justin Janicke was one shy of a hat-trick and Luke Hughes and Chaz Lucius had one in a 8-4 loss. In the second game, Aidan Hreschuk was the lone scorer in a 5-1 loss.
It was a tough week for the Lumberjacks as they dropped their fourth straight game. In the first game of the week, the ‘Jacks took on the Phantoms and Luke Mobley and Oliver MacDonald each had one in the 4-2 loss. Mobley scored again in as many games along with AJ Hodges in another 3-2 losing effort.
It wasn’t only the Stampede who unveiled a banner last week, the Steel showed off their 2018-19 USHL Eastern Conference championship banner in their home opener against the Gamblers. Unlike the Stampede, they found themselves on the winning side of things. In the 3-1 win, Gunnarwolfe Fontaine, Matthieu De St. Phalle, and Sean Farrell each had one.
When they took on the Stampede on the road, they also won 4-2 with De St. Phalle and Sam Colangelo with one and Sean Farrell just missing a hat-trick. Victor Ostman also was 24 of 26 on save opportunities.
Youngstown faced the Lumberjacks twice and found themselves on the winning side each time. In the first game, Reilly Funk had himself a pair of goals and his teammates Linden Alger and John Beaton also had one for a 4-2 win.
In the second game, Yusaku Ando, Arseni Smekhnov, and Reilly Funk had one for a closer 302 victory.
Taking on the U-17 USA development team in both of their games, the RoughRiders went 2-0 and neither were close. Joshua Barnes was one shy of a hat-trick while Mack Byers, Jack Millar, Justin Hryckowian, Jackson Jutting, Grant Silianoff, and Jack O’Leary rounded out the scoring for an 8-4 final.
In the second game, many of the scorers in game one picked up where they left off. O’Leary, Jutting, and Hryckowian each had one and Max Sasson and Ben Meehan rounded out the scoring to win 5-1.
The Lancers split their pair of games last week. Taking on the Storm in the first game, they won 4-3 in a shootout thanks to Rhett Pitlick, Ryan Lautenbach, Jackson Decker. In the shootout, Matthew Sutton and Pitlick scored and won the shootout 2-0.
Against the Muskateers, the Lancers felt like getting as much hockey as possible by taking their 1-1 game to OT but fell 2-1 eventually. Their newest addition, Christian Berger, was the lone scorer for the Lancers.
Dropping their only game of the week, the Storm fell at the hands of the Lancers 4-3 in a shootout. Colby Ambrosio, Felix Carenfelt, and Ian Murphy pushed it to extra time but nobody could find the net in an 0-2 shootout loss.
Winning 3-1 in their only game of the week, the Hawks’ Connor Caponi, Ondrej Pseneicka, and Patrick Guzzo scored to down the Gamblers.
Luckily, the Force only played one game for the week. Falling to the Buccaneers 6-1, Lynden Breen was the lone scorer in a blowout.
Spoiling the Clark Cup banner reveal, the Stars didn’t care much for the festivities as they hope to raise their own banner next year. The Stars took on the Stampede and won 6-4 thanks to Travis Treloar, Josh Groll, Brock Bremer, Matt Barbolini, and Mat Miller’s two goals.
Taking on the Saints, the Caps’ Carson Bantle and Kristop Papp each had one but unfortunately fell 3-2.
The Fighting Saints defeated the Capitols 3-2 thanks to Ben Schultheis, Mark Cheremeta, and Antonio Venuto.
Come back next week to get more USHL news and be sure to follow me on Twitter @Nwinansw. I’ll see you next week.