USHL Rink Report: Stars sweep weekend, West stays interesting and Fighting Saints post pair of shutouts
First weekend of February features overtime thrillers and Western Conference race heats up
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.
*Home teams in bold*
Thurs. Feb. 2
USNTDP 4, Madison 0
Waterloo 7, Dubuque 3
Fri. Feb. 3
USNTDP 7, Madison 2
Muskegon 5, Youngstown 4
Omaha 4, Tri-City 1
Chicago 6, Cedar Rapids 2
Lincoln 6, Sioux Falls 5 Shootout
Fargo 7, Waterloo 4
Sioux City 7, Des Moines 2
Dubuque 3, Green Bay 0
Sat. Feb. 4
Lincoln 5, Sioux City 3
Tri-City 4, Omaha 1
Sioux Falls 3, Des Moines 2 OT
Waterloo 4, Fargo 3 OT
Youngstown 5, Muskegon 1
Dubuque 3, Green Bay 0
Chicago 5, Cedar Rapids 3
Sun. Feb. 5
Lincoln 3, Sioux City 2
Green Bay 3, Cedar Rapids 2 OT
Tri-City 3, Sioux Falls 2
Mason Marcellus, F, Lincoln
Marcellus added two more goals to his season total Sunday afternoon and racked up four points (2-2-4) on the weekend. Marcellus leads Lincoln with 41 points and his 12 goals are tied for third on Lincoln’s roster. His 41 points are also tied for seventh in the USHL.
Lincoln won all three of its games this weekend, including a home-and-home sweep of Sioux City on Saturday and Sunday. The Stars are now just three points behind Waterloo and seven behind Fargo in the Western Conference.
Eli Sebastian, F, Green Bay
Another team’s leading scorer, Sebastian scored his 11th and 12th goals of the season Sunday in Cedar Rapids, including the overtime winner.
Sebastian leads Green Bay with 31 points and his 12 goals are tied for second on Green Bay’s roster. The Northeastern commit has played 37 games in his first USHL season.
Gavin O’Connell, F, Waterloo
O’Connell had quite the weekend with five goals and an assist as Waterloo took four of six possible points. O’Connell scored a pair of goals on both Thursday and Saturday, his final goal of the weekend being the most important as it tied the game with just 1:07 left. O’Connell also picked up an assist on Sam Rinzel ’s overtime winner.
The UMD commit has 13 goals and 25 points in 35 games this season. Waterloo is 8-2-0-0 in its last 10 games.
Ben Robertson, D, Waterloo
Speaking of Waterloo, Robertson played a key part in Thursday’s win as the Cornell commit had a five-point night. Robertson netted Waterloo’s sixth goal of the night and also picked up four helpers against Dubuque.
The left-shot defenseman has two goals and 29 points in 38 games this season. His 29 points rank third amongst USHL defensemen.
Marcus Brännman, G, Dubuque
The Swedish netminder got his weekend off to a disappointing start by allowing six goals on 24 shots in that 7-3 loss to Waterloo Thursday night.
However, Brännman responded with back-to-back shutouts and led the Fighting Saints to a pair of wins over Green Bay. Brännman turned aside 31 shots on Friday and another 21 on Saturday. He’s now 13-5-2-1 this season with a 2.88 goals-against average and .910 save percentage.
A recap of Marcus Brännman's night tonight in emoji form - 🚫🚫🚫🚫🚫🚫🚫🚫🚫🚫🚫🚫🚫🚫🚫🚫🚫🚫🚫🚫🚫🚫🚫🚫🚫🚫🚫#HailToTheHalo #StarsRise pic.twitter.com/da6eJlwrzG— Dubuque Fighting Saints (@fightingsaints) February 4, 2023
What’s on tap
Friday and Saturday will both feature seven games next weekend as the schedule features six back-to-back’s. Chicago will play at Omaha on Friday and Des Moines on Saturday. Des Moines and Omaha will have Friday and Saturday off respectively while the USNTDP will be idle on the USHL front.
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 (25-13-0-0) at Tri-City (18-15-1-3), Viaero Center, Fri. Feb. 10 and Sat. Feb. 11, 7:05 p.m. both nights
Two teams in the thick of the Western Conference race will meet for a pair of games in Kearney this weekend. Waterloo has won all four previous meetings between the two teams, including a 7-2 win in Kearney in early January. The Black Hawks are on a roll as of late too as Waterloo is 8-2-0-0 in its last 10 and 6-4-0-0 in its last 10 road games.
Tri-City is currently fifth in the standings. However, the Storm have won back-to-back games and their lineup received a facelift last week with the addition of Jake Richard.
Richard made his Storm debut Friday night and picked up his first point on Saturday. Richard added a pair of assists on Sunday to cap off a three-point weekend.
Youngstown (20-13-3-1) at Green Bay (22-13-1-1), Resch Center, Fri. Feb. 10 and Sat. Feb. 11, 7:05 p.m. both nights
Green Bay (third) and Youngstown (fourth) are separated by just two points in the Eastern Conference standings, putting four pivotal points on the line this weekend in Wisconsin.
Both squads won last time out and have been on roll since the calendar flipped to 2023. The Phantoms are 7-3-0-0 in their last 10 while the Gamblers have won six of their last 10. Green Bay is also 7-3-0-0 in its last 10 on home ice and the Gamblers had won seven straight at the Resch Center up until their loss to Dubuque Saturday night.
- Sioux Falls defenseman
found the back of the net 27 seconds into overtime Saturday night, giving the Sioux Falls Fighting Wiener Dogs a 3-2 overtime win in front of a sold-out home crowd using their temporary nickname.
"I don't do that often" -@EvanMurr3— Sioux Falls Stampede (@sfstampede) February 5, 2023
Well that's okay bc when you do, it's great timing!
🍎 @SamuelH89456477 https://t.co/hvWCTn521T pic.twitter.com/wk1Te4Y9NH
- The USNTDP has now won seven straight and is 8-2-0-0 in its last 10. Team USA trails Chicago by just four points now in the Eastern Conference.
- Tri-City goaltender
turned aside 33 of the 34 shots he saw Saturday night in a 4-1 win in Omaha and followed it up with 35 saves in the 3-2 win at Sioux Falls. Korpi was acquired by Tri-City in a trade on Jan. 24. He’s now 6-1-1-0 in the USHL this season with a .929 save percentage.
- Fargo took three of a possible four points on its weekend trip to Waterloo. The Force lead the Black Hawks by four points atop the Western Conference. Fargo will host Sioux City for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday.
- Sioux City forward
netted his first USHL hat trick Friday night and followed it up with another goal on Saturday. Conmy is currently tied for fourth in the USHL with 23 goals.
Ryan Conmy has quietly been one of the USHL's top rookies with 23 goals and 35 points for the Sioux City Musketeers
- Chicago goaltender Jack Stark earned a win Saturday in his first game since Dec. 28. Stark had been sidelined by an injury. The Yale commit stopped 29 of the 32 shots fired his way in a 5-3 win over Cedar Rapids.
- Sioux City raised over $16,000 Sunday afternoon in its annual Aubri Brown Game. Check The Rink Live later this week for more on Sunday’s game and the Aubri Brown Club.
- The USHL trade deadline is three weeks away. This season’s deadline is Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. CDT.