We’re three weeks away from Halloween and two teams remain undefeated. Is it that the other teams are a bit spooked to play them, or are they truly just that good? The Black Hawks and Saints have both gotten off to great starts and lead their respective division. We’ve gotten a glimpse to see who has potential and who may struggle throughout the season, but there is plenty of time to make adjustments. Teams who’ve gotten off to a sluggish start aren’t panicking, they’re sticking to their game.
The reigning champions haven’t seen the results they had hoped for early on. The only things the Stampede find themselves with is a banner hanging from their rafters and a last place record of 1 and 4. They dropped both games this past week and their powerplay efforts need work.
In a rematch of the Western Conference Final last season, the Stampede took on the Storm and fell 4-1. Gabe Temple was the lone scorer for the Stamp and the team went 0 for 6 on their powerplay opportunities. One bright spot was Grant Adams making 30 of 34 saves, but they’ll need to be better going forward.
In their second game of the week, the Stampede fell to the Stars 7-4, their fourth straight loss. Jakub Lewandowski, Brian Carrabes, Josh Phillips, and Tyler Coffey found the net, but again the struggled on powerplays going 1 for 8. Nate Reid was in net and made 28 saves on 35 shots.
The Jacks faced Team USA’s 17 team and won both games. After only scoring 7 goals in their first 4 games of the season, the Jacks won 8-1 with Oliver MacDonald scoring 4 goals, 3 in the first period. Danil Gushchin added a goal and 3 assists, Tanner Edwards contributed with 1 goal and 2 assists, and Alex Gaffney and John Prokop also scored one. Taking a total of 44 shots, it was pure domination by the Lumberjacks.
“We’ve been doing the right things for a couple of weeks and they finally got rewarded. It was fun to see them continue to work hard and start putting some goals into the back of the net,” said head coach Mike Hamilton.
In the second game, the Jacks picked up right where they left off winning 7-4. Tanner Edwards, Alex Gaffney, Jack Williams, and Oliver MacDonald scored once while Danil Guschin netted 2. The Jacks were extremely efficient in this one scoring 7 goals on 21 shots.
After a couple of close games last week, the Storm could find their record in very different shape than the 1-3-1 they currently sit at. They defeated the Stampede at home thanks to Kyle Aucoin, Benji Eckerle, Colby Ambrosio, and Matt Knies finding the net. Recording his first USHL win was Daniel Allin saving 27 of the 28 shots he faced. But it was downhill after that for the Storm.
They fell to the Black Hawks 1-0 and went 0 for 7 on powerplay opportunities. Daniel Allin was again stellar saving 29 of 30 shots faced, but the offense just wasn’t there. In the final game of the week, they took on the Saints and fell 3-1 with Felix Carenfelt being the lone scorer as the team again failed to convert on a powerplay, 0-5. The Storm just didn’t have any offense this game and only took 14 shots.
The stars and stripes faced the Lumberjacks twice last week and lost both times. Kaiden Mbereko faced a flurry of shots in the first game, 36 saves on 44 shots, as they fell 8-1 with Ty Gallagher being the lone scorer. They put up 42 shots of their own, they just couldn’t find the back of the net.
In the second game, Gibson Homer was in net and made 14 of 21 save opportunities as they fell 7-4. Luke Hughes and Jack Devine each scored twice in the loss.
After 5 games, the Black Hawks are still seeing a goose egg in the loss column. Their offense has been superb, but Gabriel Carriere and Logan Stein have been excellent between the pipes.
In their first game against the RoughRiders, they won 4-3 and scored 3 of those goals in the final 11 minutes of the game. Connor Caponi, Xander Lamppa, and Ryan Drkulec all had one, but it was Kyle Haskins who put the game away for the win. They went 0 for 2 on powerplay opportunities against a well-disciplined team and put up 44 shots in the contest.
In game two, the Hawks took on the Storm and eeked this one out, 1-0. It was again Conor Caponi who found the net thanks to Patrick Guzzo and Mason Reiners’ assist. They did go 0 for 2 on their powerplay opportunities again. Logan Stein recorded his second-ever USHL shutout when he went 26 for 26 on save opportunities.
The RoughRiders dropped their first game of the season to the Black Hawks, 4-3. Max Sasson, Michael Posma, and Grant Sillianoff found the net but as a team, they went 0 for 4 on powerplays. Just one could’ve been enough to earn a point at home. Derek Mullahy did his best to earn a win as he made 40 of 44 saves.
The bright spot of the week was defenseman Jack Millar being named USHL defenseman of the week. He had scored 1 goal and had 3 assists the week prior. He’s committed to play at Colorado College next year. “Happy for Jackson. He’s grown immensely on and off the ice over the last 13 months and he worked extremely hard this off-season. Excited to watch his continued development this season,” said head coach Mark Carlson.
The Lancers dropped both games last week, one to the Force and the other to the Stars. In the first game against the Force, Alex Campbell was a goal shy of a hat-trick while Jackson Decker also found the back of the net once. On 34 shots, they just couldn’t find the extra one to push this to overtime as they fell 4-3.
In their home-opener, the Lancers took on the Stars and fell 6-1. Not wanting to get shut out, Cole Kodsi was the lone Lancer scorer.
Facing the Gamblers, the Steel dropped their first game of the season 5-3. Scoring for the Steel was Brendan Brisson, Sam Colangelo, and Matty De St. Phalle. Taking the first loss was Ian Shane who made 26 of 31 saves.
In their second game of the week, the Steel traveled to Youngstown to take on the Phantoms. Giving the fans some extra hockey, the Steel came away with a 4-3 OT victory thanks to Brendan Brisson, Elis Hede, and Gunnarwolfe Fontaine.
After their 4-3 victory over the Lancers, head coach Pierre-Paul Lamoreux said “Our guys stuck together, we kept our composure and we chipped away at it. We played a solid team game and we got the result that we wanted.” Lynden Breen scored twice but it was Kaden Bohlsens two goals in the third period that helped earn the win.
Taking on the Steel at home, the Gamblers found themselves victorious, 5-3. Jake Schmaltz had one while Chad Hillebrand had a hat-trick and Alex Servagno sealed it in the third. Gavin Enright was 25 of 28 on save opportunities.
In their second game, the Gamblers took on the Buccaneers and again were on the winning side. Tyler Paquette was 1 shy of the team’s second hat-trick of the week while Jesse Tucker and Benito Posa also had one apiece. Nicholas Grabko was in net and made 22 saves on 25 shots.
Lincoln won both their games last week, one against the Stars and the other against the Lancers. Against the Stampede, Spencer Smith recorded his first career USHL goal, Josh Groll scored in his third consecutive game, Matt Barbolini, Travis Treloar, and Josh Lopina had 1 while Matthew Miller has 2 goals. The Stars put up 5 goals in the third period alone. Jacob Mucitelli was in net and made 29 of 33 saves.
Against the Lancers, it was a night of firsts for many of the Stars players in the 6-1 victory. Ty Glover scored his first career USHL goal and Josh Groll recorded his first USHL hat trick. Other scorers were Owen Michaels and Zach Urdahl. The Stars have now won 4 straight.
Unfortunately for the Capitols, they fell to 1-5 on the season at the hands of the Buccaneers. In the 6-2 win, Joey Strada, Michael Mancinelli, Patrick Schmiedlin, Vincent Salice, and Alex Laferriere’s two goals were more than enough in this one. Cameron Rowe made 26 of his 28 save opportunities. See the recap here.
In their second game, the Gamblers defeated the Buccaneers 4-3 where Michael Mancinelli, Blaine Warnert, and Joey Strada all found the net. They did end the week on a high note as Alex Laferriere was named the USHL player of the week.
Madison dropped both games last week, including their home opener against the Buccaneers. Falling 6-2, Will Margel scored his first USHL goal and Brockton Baker did his best to add to the scoring festivities, or lack thereof. The Capitols took out Garret Mackay after the first period after making 8 of 11 saves and replaced him with Simon Latkoczy who made 17 of 20 saves.
The Capitols headed to Sioux City to take on the Musketeers, but returned home empty-handed. They fell 6-4 with Reid Pabich, Carson Bantle, Kristof Papp, and Stepan Pokomy finding the net.
Youngstown played one game last week and lost one game last week. Falling to the Steel in overtime at home 4-3, the week could’ve been better for the Phantoms. Scoring for them was Trevor Kuntar, Aiden Gallacher, and Reily Funk.
Their only game of the week was against the Capitols and Christian Jimenez, Viktor Masilevich, Josh Nixon, Dominic Vidoli, Blake Biondi, and Ian Malcomson all had a goal in the 6-4 win. It was a great week for goaltender Ethan Haider as he was named USHL goaltender of the week. It’s his time winning the honor and is a Nashville Predators prospect and Clarkson College commit.
Finishing out the week, the Fighting Saints headed to out to take on the Storm where they won 3-1. Ty Jackson, Riese Gaber, and Antonio Venuto did their part to secure the victory with their goals.
Rounding out the points leaders: Alex Laferriere of the Buccaneers has 11, Carson Bantle of the Capitols has 11, and Josh Groll of the Stars has 10.
The current goals leaders are: Oliver MacDonald of the Lumberjacks with 7, Josh Groll of the Stars with 6, and Alex Laferriere of the Buccaneers with 5.
As of now, the assists leaders are: Alex Laferriere of the Buccaneers with 6, Christian Sario of the Stars with 6, and Carson Bantle of the Capitols with 6.
Goalies wins leaders are: Erik Portillo of the Saints with 3, Gabriel Carriere of the Black Hawks wth 3, and Logan Stein also of the Black Hawks with 2.
Save Percentage leaders are: Logan Stein of the Black Hawks .978, Shamil Shmakov from the RoughRiders .966, and Colin Purcell of the Phantoms .944.
Goals Against Average: Logan Stein from the Black Hawks .56, Shamil Shmakov from the RoughRiders 1, and Erik Portillo of the Saints 1.33.
Come back next week to get more USHL news and be sure to follow me on Twitter @Nwinansw. I’ll see you next week.