The USHL is mid-way through its season and if you’re a true hockey fan, it’s time you get to know more about the league. The NHL Draft is quickly approaching and your favorite team will most likely draft one of this league’s top players.
For years, the USHL has been the country’s premier junior hockey league and continues to generate top NHL talent. Johnny Goudreau, Jake Guentzel, Brock Boeser, and Kyle Connor are just a few of the players who came up through this league. It’s a great opportunity for young hockey players to play prior to college or getting drafted.
Last Week’s Top Players
Every week there are three players who are awarded the player of the week for their respective positions. Last week, Matthew Knies of the Tri-City Storm was awarded Forward of The Week, Zach Plucinski of the Omaha Lancers was awarded Defensemen of The Week, and Kyle McClellan was awarded Goaltender of The Week.
In two games for Knies, he scored three goals, tallied three assists, and boasted a +/- of +6. He now has 21 points on the year, seven goals and 14 assists, and has committed to play at the University of Minnesota.
Plucinski also played in two games and scored two goals, recorded one assist and had a +/- of +4. He now has 11 points on the year, four goals and seven assists, and is a big part of the Lancers’ success.
Goaltender Kyle McClellan boasted a 1.00 GAA, .952 SV%, and recorded the victory in his lone game of the week. He now sits at 4-5-3-0 on the year with a 2.78 GAA and .903 SV%.
Each week there are roster moves that take place, especially with the season heading into the final stretch. The Omaha Lancers traded goaltender, Akira Schmid, and a 2020 Phase II 5th round draft pick to the Sioux City Musketeers for a 2020 Phase II 1st round draft pick. The main reason for the move was to give the Lancers top goalie, Kyle McClellan, more playing time and to also allow Schmid to better utilize his talents elsewhere. When the Musketeers acquired Schmid, head coach Andy Johnson had this to say, “We weren’t in the hunt for a goaltender but any time you can add a player with a world-class pedigree like Schmid to your locker room, you do what it takes to make the deal. Akira is one of the best goaltenders in this league- he’s proven that time and time again.”
2020 USHL Frosty Cup
The inaugural Frosty Cup was held at the Cotton Bowl on January 2 in Dallas, Texas. The game was hosted on the NHL Network a day after the Winter Classic in an effort to increase exposure of the league and highlight some of the better talent. Played by the Chicago Steel and Green Bay Gamblers, the game did little to keep people entertained as it was a blowout. The Steel won 7-2, but it was a great opportunity for the league in general. Plus, there aren’t many hockey players who can say they played in an outdoor hockey game, especially at the legendary Cotton Bowl.
Currently, the Western Conference is being run away with by the Waterloo Black Hawks. Sitting at 45 points, the next closest teams are the Fargo Force and Tri-City Storm with 34 points. In fourth place sit the Omaha Lancers with 31 points, Lincoln Stars with 29, Des Moines Buccaneers with 29, Sioux City Musketeers at 26, and the Sioux Falls Stampede with 25.
In the Eastern Conference, the Chicago Steel are beginning to widen their lead. They sit atop the East with 47 points while Team USA sits in second with 42. In third are the Dubuque Fighting Saints at 41 and then with a large disparity come the Youngstown Phantoms with 29 points. Following the Phantoms are the Green Bay Gamblers with 28, Muskegon Lumberjacks with 27, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders with 25, and Madison Capitols with 16.
The top skaters of the USHL are:
Sean Farrell, Steel, 37
Matty De St. Phalle, Steel, 36
Sam Colangelo, Steel, 34
Top goalies of the USHL are:
Save Percentage Leaders:
Logan Stein, Black Hawks, .926
Jaxson Stauber, Stampede, .920
Nicholas Grabko, Gamblers, .917
Each week of the USHL season I write a recap highlighting the league and what’s going on in it. Let me know any feedback, specific player’s you’d like to see highlighted, or just general feedback. Contact and follow me on Twitter @Nwinansw.