South Dakota

USHL What To Watch: Nebraska Rivals Clash

Barring a tilt Wednesday morning between Muskegon and the USNTDP, this week’s list is condensed into two days.

All 16 teams will hit the ice on both Friday and Saturday, giving USHL fans an action-packed weekend of ice hockey.

Youngstown will host Muskegon and Madison will host Chicago for a back-to-back while Lincoln and Tri-City and Fargo and Sioux Falls will play a home-and-home.

Without further ado, here’s a look at the week ahead.

All times are Eastern.

Tri-City Vs. Lincoln

2022 Tri-City Storm vs. Lincoln Stars

Tri-City and Lincoln met in Lincoln last Saturday, and Friday will see the second of four straight games between the two Nebraska rivals. Tri-City will host Lincoln on Saturday and again on December 31st.

Lincoln is 3-1-1 in the season series. However, The Storm won the competition 3-2 in overtime last Friday. Defender Sebastian Tornqvist found the net after 56 seconds of extra time.

Tri-City picked up three points out of a possible four last weekend with a 4-3 shootout loss to Omaha and victory in Lincoln.

The Storm is 5-3-0-2 in the last 10 and is .500 in the first 22 games. Tri-City is sixth in the Western Conference with 22 points, seven behind second-place Lincoln.

Lincoln has three points in a row (2-0-1-0) and the Stars also picked up three points out of four last weekend.

Lincoln clinched a 3-2 win with two goals in the third half last Friday night in Sioux Falls. Brennan Ali, Jack Larrigan and Mason Marcellus all scored to win.

Lincoln is just four points behind conference-leading Fargo, and the Stars have been one of the best teams in the West all season. Lincoln is 8-2-1-0 on home ice this season and will look to add a ninth win on Friday night in the Ice Box.

Player to watch:

Sebastian Tornqvist, D, Tri-City, 2023 draft eligible

The UMASS commit was named USHL Defender of the Week after a four-point weekend.

Tornqvist scored in each of Tri-City’s games last weekend and also added two assists in the Lincoln win. The product from Everlov, Sweden was also +3 over the weekend.

Tornqvist leads the Tri-City defender and ranks 11th among the USHL Blue Liners with 13 points (7-6-13) in 20 games.

Sioux City vs Des Moines

2022 Sioux City Musketeers vs. Des Moines Buccaneers

Both Des Moines and Sioux City achieved dominant home wins last Saturday. The Buccaneers drove to a 4-0 win over Dubuque while the Musketeers rolled to a 7-2 win over Sioux Falls.

The seven goals were a season high and sent Musketeers fans home happy and with free pizza.

Five Musketeers found the back of the net, and both Ben Doran and Ryan Conmy scored a pair. Conmy’s first goal had teddy bears raining down from the home crowd.

Sioux City is on a three-game winning streak this weekend while the Bucs have points in back-to-back games (1-0-1-0). Sioux City leads 2-1 in the season series between the two. The Musketeers have also been on the right track lately as they are 7-2-0-1 in their last 10.

However, the Musketeers will likely see a hot goalkeeper in Max Lundgren. The Merrimack Commitment made a 32-save shutout in the Buccaneers’ win over Dubuque last Saturday. The shutout was the first of his USHL career.

Lundgren has won his last two starts and stopped 69 of the 71 shots fired at him.

Defender Gustav Stjernberg scored in both games last weekend while Davis Borozinskis had a goal and an assist in Friday’s overtime loss in Waterloo. Borozinskis has points in three of his last four games.

The Buccaneers scored eight goals over the weekend, but their 63 goals are still the second-lowest in the USHL – ahead of only Omaha (59).

players to watch

Ryan Conmy, F, Sioux City, 2023 draft author

Conmy scored three times last weekend, including the aforementioned pair of goals in the offensive explosion against Sioux Falls.

The New Hampshire native has five points in his last three games and 10 points in his last eight — including two pointless games.

Conmy leads Sioux City with 13 goals — which also ranks sixth in the USHL — and his 19 points are third-highest on Sioux City’s list — one behind Tyler Hotson and Sam Deckhut.

The Virginia native played 21 games in his USHL rookie season.

Chicago vs Madison

2022 Chicago Steel vs. Madison Capitols

It should come as no surprise, but the Steel are on fire once again.

Chicago has points in 10 straight games (8-0-1-1) and the Steel are nine points clear of the Eastern Conference.

Chicago has won five straight games, including two 5-4 victories over the USNTDP U-18 (Shootout) and Muskegon last weekend.

With those 10 goals last weekend, Mike Garman’s club lit the lamp 105 times — by far the most in the USHL — and in 23 games, the Steele averaged 4.5 goals per game.

Jack Harvey scored his 19th goal in the league and was one of five Chicago skaters to find the back of the net on Saturday, highlighted by Michael Emerson’s three-pointer night (1-2-3).

Chicago’s opponents find themselves at the other end of the table as Madison sits sixth on 15 points behind seventh-place Cedar Rapids. However, the Capitols won 5-3 over Youngstown last time out. William Felicio netted the eventual game winner in the third period and Matt McGroarty added some safety with an empty net.

Arizona Coyotes choose Miko Matikka (Read Matikka Feature here) also had two points (1-1-2) in the win.

Madison is 2-8-0-0 in his last 10, but if there was a silver lining, it was Matikka. The Finnish forward has five goals and nine points in his last five games and seven and 14 in his last 10. His 32 points and 14 goals both rank him second in the USHL.

players to watch

Michael Emerson, F, Chicago, draft entitled 2023

2022 Chicago Steel vs. Madison Capitols

The New York native has had a full week.

Emerson announced his commitment to North Dakota on December 8 and has scored in each of Chicago’s victories this past weekend.

The right-foot striker recorded a four-point weekend and goes into this weekend with 28 points. He ranks third in the USHL with his Chicago teammate Jayden Perron. Emerson’s 13 goals are tied for sixth in the league.

Messages and Notes

  • Waterloos Griffin Erdman and Fargos Matej Marinov were named USHL Forward and Goalie of the Week, respectively. Erdman had five points (3-2-5) in two games last weekend, while Marinov won both starts and made 38 saves from a possible 40.
  • Sioux Falls forward Samuel Harris has a seven-game point streak and 12 points (5-7-12) in that stretch. Harris was introduced by FloHockey earlier this season (read about Harris here). Harris is fifth in the USHL with 27 points.
  • Sam Harris has scored plenty early on as he tries to help Sioux Falls overcome last season’s disappointment.
  • Chicago’s Macklin Celebrini scored another power play goal Saturday and leads the USHL with eight goals.
  • Fargo (2-0-0-0), Waterloo (2-0-0-0), and Green Bay (1-0-0-1) also have points in consecutive games.
  • The US Junior A Team lost 5-3 to Canada in the WJAC opener. The US roster includes 22 current USHL players.

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