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USHL Notebook: Phantoms sweeps honors, Finley deal finalized while trades, commitments continue to come in

Capitols and Lumberjacks receive their future considerations, Klavs Veinbergs and Griffin Jurecki flip commitments, USHL All-Academic Team announced and much more

Lucas St. Louis.jpeg
Dubuque defenseman Lucas St. Louis was named the USHL Scholar Athlete of the Year last week, becoming the fourth Dubuque player to win the award since 2018.
Contributed / Dubuque Fighting Saints, Stephen Gassman

The 2022-23 USHL season is complete as the Youngstown Phantoms are the Clark Cup champs.

As the focus quickly shifts to camps and preparation for next season, there's already been a lot news recently from trades to college commitments and even a coaching change.

USHL writer Jordan McAlpine gets you caught up on what you might have missed around the league.

Phantoms sweep final POTW honors

The Youngstown Phantoms swept the Clark Cup Finals and perhaps it’s fitting they swept the final Player of the Week honors too. Forward Andon Cerbone, defenseman Chase Pietila and goaltender Jacob Fowler took home the respective honors.

Game 3 Fowler Covelli Centre.JPG
Youngstown goaltender Jacob Fowler pictured Game 3 of the Clark Cup Finals. Fowler was named the Clark Cup Most Outstanding Player after stopping 81 of the 83 shots he saw in the series.
Jordan McAlpine / The Rink Live

It’s the first POTW honor of the season for Cerbone, the second for Pietila and the eighth for Fowler between the pipes. The Youngstown goaltender won all three of his starts in the series and stopped 81 of the 83 shots Fargo fired his way, including a 22-save shutout in the series-clinching Game 3 win.


It was the first shutout of the postseason for Fowler — who was tied for the league lead with five in the regular season — and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The Boston College commit was named the Clark Cup Most Outstanding Player.

Cerbone and Pietila also played key roles in the series. Cerbone netted two goals in the finals, including the only goal in Game 3, and had nine points (5-4-9) over nine playoff games. Three of those five goals were game-winners.

“When the moment’s big, (Cerbone) gets bigger,” Ward said after Game 3. “Bringing him in in December changed our team and a huge credit to our management and everyone. They did an unbelievable job.”

Rounding out the group is Pietila, who assisted Cerbone’s goal and was also a plus-three in the series.

Madison and Chicago complete Finley trade; Capitols receive future considerations from two other deals

The Chicago Steel acquired forward Quinn Finley from Madison back in January but the two sides officially completed the deal Wednesday morning. Madison received forwards Chris Delaney, Joey Macrina and Harper Searles from Chicago as future considerations.

Delaney brings the most USHL experience of the bunch to Madison as the UMass commit played in 60 regular-season and six playoff games with the Steel this season. Delaney registered 10 goals and 28 points over those 60 games and added an assist in the postseason.

Madison also acquired defenseman Aidan Shirey from Waterloo last week to complete the Miko Matikka trade and forward Gavin Uhlenkamp from Cedar Rapids to complete the Jack Musa trade. Both players fill the future considerations Madison received in the deals at the time.

USHL All-Academic Team announced

Dubuque defenseman Lucas St. Louis was named the USHL Scholar Athlete of the Year last week, becoming the fourth Dubuque player to win the award since 2018 — Connor Kurth (2021), Mason McCormick (2019) and Alex Steeves (2018).


St. Louis had three goals and 24 points in 61 games on the ice this season while boasting a 3.95 cumulative GPA. The left-shot defenseman is a Harvard commit.

“In Dubuque, we take academics very seriously,” Dubuque GM Kalle Larsson said in a statement. “Providing a top-notch academic support system for our players is a priority and a core value of the organization. Lucas’ academic track record speaks for itself. Just like on the ice, his focus and dedication to learn and improve is impressive. We are proud of him being named the USHL Scholar-Athlete of the Year.”

While St. Louis took home the individual honor, the full USHL All-Academic Team was released as well:

Griffin Erdman (Waterloo)
Cole Knuble (Fargo)
Dashel Oliver (Lincoln)
Tory Pitner (Youngstown)
Noah Powell (Dubuque)
Lucas St. Louis (Dubuque)

Cole Knuble wins Curt Hammer Award

Speaking of Knuble and speaking of individual honors, the Fargo forward added the latest accolade to his spectacular season as Knuble was named the Curt Hammer Award winner last week.

The award is given to a player who distinguishes himself both on and off the ice with outstanding performance, leadership, pride and determination. The Award has been presented since the 1988-89 season and Knuble becomes the first player in Force history to take home the award.

Knuble becomes the first player in Force history to win the award after leading the way both on and off the ice

The First Team All-USHL selection racked up 30 goals and 66 points in the regular season and had another six goals and nine points through nine playoff games. Along with being actively involved in the Fargo community.

Muskegon adds four players to roster

The Muskegon Lumberjacks made four trades during the 2022-23 season that included future considerations. The four players Muskegon received in those deals were announced earlier this month and have been added to Muskegon’s protected list for the 2023-24 season.


They are forwards Hunter Anderson (from Des Moines), Jake Merens (from Fargo) and Cooper Pierson (from Lincoln), and defenseman Ryan Koering (from Tri-City).

Anderson, a Denver commit, is the most intriguing of the group. The left-shot forward racked up 59 goals and 115 points at Shattuck St. Mary’s. The California native is draft-eligible this summer and came in at No. 111 among North American forwards in Central Scouting’s final draft rankings.

With Nick Oliver heading to Wisconsin, the Fargo Force are looking for their fifth head coach since the 2018-19 season. Here's a look at some potential names that could fill the vacancy
Fowler was named Dave Peterson Goaltender of the Year by USA Hockey while Knuble picked up the Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year award.
Sioux City promotes its director of scouting to GM just one day after Troy G. Ward left for Minnesota State
Nick Oliver led the Force to a franchise-record 40 wins and 88 points during the regular season and was named the USHL Coach of the Year. Now he's returning to the college level at Wisconsin
Andrew Strathmann has been one of the USHL's top offensive defensemen the last two seasons and played a key role as the Youngstown Phantoms captured their first Clark Cup
Wisconsin commit and 2023 NHL Draft prospect William Whitelaw was one of the USHL's top rookie forwards this season and helped the Youngstown Phantoms capture their first Clark Cup
Shane Lachance becomes the first captain in franchise history to hoist the Clark Cup and "couldn't have imagined a better way to go out" in Youngstown
Andon Cerbone delivers third-period goal and Jacob Fowler pitches a 22-save shutout as Youngstown wins the Clark Cup in a sweep against Fargo
The Phantoms will try to win their first Clark Cup on home ice Friday night while Fargo attempts what very few teams have done before and rally from a 2-0 deficit
Jacob Fowler was named the USHL Goaltender of the Year after a dominant regular season. Fowler has won seven of his first eight playoff starts and has been a huge part of the Phantoms' success

Ice Chips

  • In case you missed it Tuesday, the Fargo Force will have to find a new head coach next season as Nick Oliver’s tenure in Fargo will last just one season. The USHL Coach of the Year will join Mike Hastings’ staff as an assistant at Wisconsin.
  • Sioux City will also have to search for a new general manager as Troy G. Ward is heading to Mankato to join Luke Strand’s staff at Minnesota State.
  • Omaha forward Griffin Jurecki has flipped his commitment from Denver to Michigan State. Jurecki had 14 goals and 25 points in 56 regular-season games.
  • Lincoln forward Klavs Veinbergs has flipped his commitment from Minnesota State to Colorado College. Veinbergs had 12 goals and 28 points during the regular season and another two goals in the playoffs. Lincoln’s roster featured two other CC commits this season in Antonio Fernandez and Tyler Dunbar.
    Reimann Veinbergs Faceoff Lin vs. DSM April 24.JPG
    Lincoln's Klavs Veinbergs takes a faceoff against Des Moines center Jack Reimann in Game 1 of the first round at the Ice Box. Lincoln skated to a 5-2 win over the Buccaneers and to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
    Jordan McAlpine / The Rink Live
  • Sioux City defenseman Liam Hupka has committed to Minnesota State.
  • Omaha goaltender Kevin Pasche signed a contract with Lausanne Hockey Club in his native country of Switzerland. Pasche went 7-21-1-1 with the Lancers this season with a 3.42 GAA and .895 save percentage.
  • Forward Gavin Kor has committed to play for Fargo next season. The Shattuck St. Mary’s was selected in the eighth round (120th overall) by the Force in the Phase I Draft earlier this month.
  • The Phantoms will host their Clark Cup rally Wednesday night in Youngstown.

Jordan McAlpine is a junior and prospects reporter for The Rink Live.
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