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USHL Rink Report: Youngstown's Jacob Fowler, Waterloo heat up and other notes around the league

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

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Goaltender Jacob Fowler of the Youngstown Phantoms, shown here playing for Team USA, had 43 saves to earn his third shutout of the season in a USHL game at Muskegon on Saturday, Jan. 14.
Contributed / Robert Lefebvre / Hockey Canada Images

In a new weekly installment, 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. 12
USNTDP 6 Madison 2

Fri. Jan. 13
Green Bay 6, USNTDP 5,
Muskegon 3, Youngstown 1
Waterloo 7, Des Moines 5
Chicago 5, Madison 3
Sioux City 4, Omaha 1
Fargo 6, Sioux Falls 3
Lincoln 4, Tri-City 1
Dubuque 6, Cedar Rapids 3

Sat. Jan. 14
Fargo 2, Sioux City 1
Sioux Falls 2, Omaha 1 OT
Green Bay 5, USNTDP 4
Waterloo 5, Des Moines 4 OT
Lincoln 3, Tri-City 2 SO
Youngstown 1, Muskegon 0
Madison 4, Chicago 2
Dubuque 4, Cedar Rapids 3 OT

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Stick taps

Jacob Fowler, G, Youngstown
Fowler turned in arguably his best performance of the season Saturday night in a 43-save shutout win at Muskegon. It was his third shutout of the season and the fifth of his USHL career. Fowler’s 43 saves were also a season-high.

Aaron Pionk, D, Waterloo
Pionk had four assists on Friday and followed it up with a goal in Saturday’s overtime win. The Minnesota State commit was also a +2 on the weekend. He has 10 points over his last six games.

Pionk's 22 points (7-15-22) are fourth amongst USHL defensemen and his +17 plus/minus is also tied for the third-best rating in the league.

Gabe Perreault, F, USNTDP
The 5-foot-11, left-shot forward had a nose for the scoresheet as Perreault had four goals and an assist in Team USA’s 6-2 win at Madison on Thursday. Perreault has nine points between his last two USHL games (5-4-9) and 20 points (10-10-20) on the season. Perreault came in at No. 15 amongst North American skaters on Central Scouting’s midterm rankings.

What’s on tap

All 16 USHL teams will be in action next Friday and Saturday while Youngstown and Muskegon will both play three games in three days.

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.

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Waterloo (20-11-0-0) at Chicago (21-9-1-1), Fox Valley Ice Arena, Fri. Jan. 20, 7:05 p.m.

The USHL’s hottest team against the league’s most explosive offense. That’s the story in suburban Chicago as Waterloo brings a six-game win streak into Friday’s tilt. The Steel own the USHL’s second-most points (44), second-best win percentage (.688) and have scored the most goals (138). However, Chicago has dropped back-to-back home games.

Chicago fell to Madison Saturday night, 4-2. Around the same time, the Black Hawks defeated Des Moines in overtime, 5-4. The Black Hawks have also won three straight road games.

To add further intrigue, Waterloo acquired Madison’s Miko Matikka Sunday morning in a trade. Matikka will face a former teammate Friday night in Quinn Finley , who Madison dealt to Chicago just 48 hours earlier. Both were third-round picks in last summer’s NHL draft and ranked first and third respectively in points on Madison’s roster.

Cedar Rapids (15-11-3-1) at Green Bay (18-10-1-1), Resch Center, Fri. Jan. 20, 7:05 p.m.

Two of the hottest teams in the Eastern Conference will meet Friday night. Green Bay is 8-2-0 in its last 10 and the Gamblers have won two straight overall and six straight at home.

The RoughRiders also have points in eight of their last 10 (6-2-1-1) and have scored four or more goals in seven of those games. Cedar Rapids’ power play unit continues to click and currently ranks third in the USHL at 27.5%.

Cedar Rapids forward Ryan Walsh has eight points (7-1-8) in his last five games and is now tied for fourth in the USHL with 35 points. Zaccharya Wisdom is right behind him with 33. Wisdom was held off the scoresheet last weekend but is currently ninth in the USHL. His 19 goals are also tied for second in the league.

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Sioux City (14-12-2-3) at Lincoln (20-9-1-0), Ice Box, Sat. Jan. 21, 6:05 p.m.

The Stars have won four straight games since the calendar flipped and trail conference-leading Fargo by just four points. Lincoln is 7-2-1-0 in its last 10 and the Stars also have the league’s best home win percentage at .833 (12-2-1-0).

Despite the parade to the penalty box in Nebraska’s capital city this season, Lincoln has the league’s top penalty kill at 86%. The Stars have been called for 602 penalty minutes — 19 more than the next closest team.

Sioux City fell to Fargo last time out but the Musketeers still sit fourth in the Western Conference. Goaltender Axel Mangbo stopped 29 of the 30 shots he saw in a 4-1 win at Omaha Friday night.

The two teams will also meet Friday night in Sioux City. Lincoln leads the season series 1-0.

MORE USHL COVERAGE:
After watching his mom fight breast cancer as a kid, Tucker Shedd created The Mini Sticks Charitable Organization to help those impacted by cancer
The Green Bay Gamblers and the Omaha Lancers make a deal, Muskegon makes a trio of trades, rookies keep scoring and more.
Tri-City bolsters lineup by adding Muskegon's leading scorer and Sabres' sixth-round pick Jake Richard
USHL wins leader Jack Spicer continues strong rookie season and announces commitment to Nebraska-Omaha
RoughRiders team president and bench boss isn't interested in a team hall of fame, but he'd likely be the first inductee if there was one.
Muskegon trades two of its leading scorers in Owen Mehlenbacher and Tyler Dunbar to Fargo and Lincoln
Fargo remains a force, Black Hawks and Phantoms stay hot, and standings logjam continues
Minnesota native Anton Castro heads to opposite side of Border Battle while Matej Marinov will head to Quinnipiac
Jacob Fowler earns second straight weekly honor while Cole Knuble and Madison's Nick Wallace round out USHL Players of the Week
USHL writer Jordan McAlpine takes a look back at the weekend and previews what's on tap in the USHL

News and notes

  • Many of the USHL’s top prospects will hit the ice Monday afternoon at the BioSteel All-American Game in Plymouth, Mich. Click here for more information on the game.
  • The USHL GM meetings will also take place this week.
  • With their 2-1 win in Sioux City Saturday night, Fargo improved to 21-7-0-3 on the season. The Force are 8-2-0 in their last 10 and Fargo now has the USHL’s most points (45) and best win percentage (.726). Fargo also has points in eight straight home games (7-0-0-1).
  • Fargo goaltender Matej Marinov picked up his 11th win of the season Friday night. Marinov still doesn’t have a regulation loss (11-0-0-2) and has won his past four starts.
  • Lincoln's Cameron Whitehead made a season-high 39 saves Saturday night. Whitehead is 6-0 with a 1.48 GAA and .951 save percentage in his last six starts.
  • Jack Harvey scored his league-leading 25th goal in Chicago’s 4-2 loss to Madison Saturday night. Harvey has goals in four straight and six points in that stretch.
  • Youngstown will have three games at home this weekend. Thursday against Muskegon and Friday and Saturday against Madison. The Phantoms have won five straight on home ice.
  • With their win in Chicago, the Capitols snapped a nine-game losing streak Saturday night. Madison owns the USHL’s worst record at 8-22-1-1.
  • Speaking of streaks, the Fighting Saints have won three straight. Dubuque will host Des Moines on Friday and Waterloo on Saturday.

Related Topics: TRL NEWSLETTER
Jordan McAlpine is a junior and prospects reporter for The Rink Live.
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