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USHL Rink Report: Hat tricks, hot streaks and overtime wins highlight exciting weekend

USHL writer Jordan McAlpine takes a look back at the weekend and previews what's on tap in the USHL

Matej Marinov (13-0-0-2) is still undefeated in regulation this season. "I've just noticed a quiet confidence and a high competitiveness out of Matej," Fargo head coach Nick Oliver said. "He expects a lot out of himself and he pushes himself really hard. And I think it's no surprise he's had the success he has in games."
David Samson / The Forum

The Rink Live’s Jordan McAlpine provides the USHL’s Rink Report. Take a look back at the weekend that was, what’s ahead and various other news and notes from around the United States Hockey League.

Weekend review
*Home teams in bold*

Thurs. Jan. 26
Fargo 4, Tri-City 3 OT (Frisco, Texas)

Fri. Jan. 27
USNTDP 5, Dubuque 4 OT
Youngstown 4, Chicago 1
Omaha 3, Sioux Falls 1
Green Bay 4, Madison 3
Sioux City 1, Des Moines 0 SO
Waterloo 6, Lincoln 3
Muskegon 5, Cedar Rapids 2
Fargo 6, Tri-City 3 (Frisco, Texas)

Sat. Jan. 28
USNTDP 4, Dubuque 3 OT
Youngstown 6, Chicago 2
Sioux Falls 4, Omaha 2
Des Moines 3, Lincoln 1
Waterloo 5, Sioux City 1
Cedar Rapids 7, Muskegon 1
Green Bay 7, Madison 4


Sun. Jan. 29
USNTDP 5, Chicago 4 OT

Stick taps

William Whitelaw, F, Youngstown
The Wisconsin commit is simply on fire right now. Whitelaw scored his first career USHL hat trick Saturday night and has scored in five straight. He has eight goals and 11 points over those five games.

Whitelaw leads Youngstown with 35 points and his 20 goals are second on the roster. He’s also tied for fifth in the USHL in goals. After sweeping Chicago, the Phantoms sit just five points back of the Eastern Conference lead and are 7-3-0-0 in their last 10.

Cole Knuble, F, Fargo
Knuble had a five-point showing (3-2-5) in the Lone Star State and helped lead Fargo to a Frosty Cup sweep. Knuble scored the overtime winner on Thursday and responded with two goals and two assists on Friday.

"I thought Cole's game was outstanding this weekend," Fargo head coach Nick Oliver said. "He took control of both games down there and I thought he played the right way at both ends of the ice. He stepped up and made some big-time plays in some big moments."

The Notre Dame commit has 10 points (6-4-10) in his last six games. He’s currently sixth in the USHL in points (39) and seventh in goals (19).

Will Smith, F, USNTDP
Smith has eight goals and 22 points in 11 USHL games this season. Three of those goals and four of those points came Saturday as Smith recorded a hat trick and added an assist in a 4-3 overtime win over Dubuque.

His third goal came with 51 seconds left in the extra session.


Sam Rinzel, D, Waterloo
Rinzel was held off the scoresheet Saturday in Waterloo’s 5-1 win over Sioux City. However, the Chicago Blackhawks’ first-round pick had a five-game point streak coming in. Rinzel racked up seven points (3-4-7) over those five games, including two Friday.

Rinzel scored a goal and added an assist in Waterloo’s 6-3 win over Lincoln. He was also a +3.

“We’ve been really happy with Sam’s progression throughout this season,” Waterloo head coach Matt Smaby said. “His talent and ability jump off the page but he’s also really buying into becoming a well-rounded hockey player. We’re excited to continue watching him grow."

Axel Mangbo, G, Sioux City
Mangbo stood on his head in a 1-0 shootout win in Des Moines. Mangbo stopped all 25 shots he saw in the first 65 minutes and followed it up by stopping eight of the nine shooters he faced in the shootout.

It was the first shutout of his USHL career.

Mark Carlson, head coach, Cedar Rapids
Carlson has been behind the Cedar Rapids bench since the 1999-2000 season and is still the only head coach in franchise history. He recorded his 750th career win Saturday in the RoughRiders’ dominant 7-1 win over Muskegon.

Carlson ranks second in USHL history, just 33 wins behind P.K. O’Handley.


What’s on tap

Next weekend gets off to an early start with a pair of games on Thursday. All 16 teams will be in action on Friday while 14 of the 16 will play on Saturday - Madison and the USNTDP being the outliers. The schedule also features a trio of afternoon tilts on Sunday.

To view the complete schedule, click here. To view the current USHL standings, click here. Without further ado, here’s a look at some of the top games on the docket.

Waterloo (23-12-0-0 at Dubuque (17-12-3-1), Mystique Community Ice Center, Thurs. Feb. 2, 7:05 p.m.
A pair of red-hot teams will get the action started Thursday in northeast Iowa. Waterloo has won nine of its last 10 games, including two this past weekend against Lincoln and Sioux City. The Black Hawks scored 11 goals on the weekend and have scored five or more in seven of their last 10 games.

However, the Fighting Saints have points in seven straight themselves and have won four straight at home. Dubuque dropped a pair of games in overtime this past weekend in Plymouth but their previous game was a 3-2 win over Waterloo. Dubuque has won the first three meetings between these two.

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Fargo (24-8-0-3) at Waterloo (23-12-0-0), Young Arena, Fri. Feb. 3 & 4, 7:05 & 6:05 p.m.
The Western Conference’s top teams will clash this weekend at Young Arena. Waterloo trails Fargo by just five points and with a win Thursday, that gap could be closed to three. Both sides have some momentum too as Fargo is fresh off a successful trip to Texas and a sweep at the Frosty Cup.

Friday’s game will mark the first time these conference rivals meet this season and the first of seven games between the two.

Dubuque (17-12-3-1) at Green Bay (21-10-1-1), Resch Center, Sat. Feb. 4, 7:05 p.m.
Speaking of red-hot teams, the Gamblers have a seven-game home win streak. Green Bay has flown under the radar for most of this season but Mike Leone’s club has won five straight overall and is 8-2-0-0 in its last 10. Green Bay enters this week just three points behind Chicago.

Dubuque will also host Green Bay on Friday and Saturday’s game will close out a three-in-three stretch for the Fighting Saints.


Lincoln (20-13-1-0) at Sioux City (17-13-2-3), Tyson Events Center, Sun. Feb. 5, 3:05 p.m.
The Stars have dropped four straight and now trail Fargo by 10 points atop the Western Conference. Although Rocky Russo’s squad has been especially good at home, the Stars are 4-6-0-0 in their last 10 away from the Ice Box. They’ll try to get back in the win column at home Friday or Saturday before closing out the weekend in Sioux City.

The Musketeers have points in eight of their last 10 (6-2-0-2) at home and are 2-1 against Lincoln this season.

Ice Chips

  • The USNTDP won three games in overtime this weekend. James Hagens and Smith gave Team USA wins over Dubuque on Friday and Saturday respectively while Cole Eiserman delivered the knockout blow on Sunday against Chicago.
  • Matthew DiMarsico recorded his second hat trick of the season Saturday in Green Bay’s 7-4 win over Madison. DiMarsico leads Green Bay with 13 goals this season.
  • Des Moines snapped a five-game losing skid Saturday thanks to Michael Bevilacqua’s goal with just 13.1 seconds left in regulation. The Buccaneers tacked on an empty-netter to secure a 3-1 win over Lincoln.
  • Omaha forward Libor Nemec scored his first two USHL goals this weekend as the Lancers split a pair of games with Sioux Falls. Omaha forward Drew Montgomery also scored in both games.
    Slovakian forward Libor Nemec starts on Omaha’s top line and is excited for what’s to come
  • Cedar Rapids forward Ryan Walsh had four points (2-2-4) Saturday in the win over Muskegon. Bryce Montgomery also netted a pair of goals and Eric Pohlkamp scored his 12th of the season.
  • Fargo goaltender Matej Marinov remained undefeated in regulation with another win. Marinov turned aside 31 of the 34 shots he saw Thursday in Fargo’s 4-3 overtime win. The Slovakian goaltender has won his last six starts and is 13-0-0-2 this season. Marinov also owns a league-best .928 save percentage and 1.96 GAA.
  • Dubuque forward Ryan St. Louis was held off the scoresheet Friday which snapped a four-game goal streak. St. Louis recorded a pair of assists on Saturday.

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