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USHL Rink Report: Waterloo and Sioux City extinguish streaks, Stars back on track, NTDP flexes its muscles

Black Hawks snaps Fargo's 17-game point streak and clinch a playoff spot while the Musketeers put an end to Tri-City's eight-game win streak

Emmett Croteau Waterloo.jpg
Waterloo goaltender Emmett Croteau has won five of his last six starts and ranks third in the USHL in save percentage (.915) and fourth in GAA (2.52). Croteau defeated Fargo on both Thursday and Saturday. Saturday's win was his 12th of the season and the 2022 sixth-round pick (Montreal) is now 3-0 against the Force this season.
Contributed / Waterloo Black Hawks, Stephanie Lyn Photography

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 USHL.

Weekend review

*Home teams in bold*

Thurs. March 16
Waterloo 3, Fargo 2 SO
Youngstown 5, Dubuque 4

Fri. March 17
Muskegon 4, USNTDP U18 2
Lincoln 3, Des Moines 0
Fargo 4, Waterloo 3
Green Bay 7, USNTDP U17 4
Cedar Rapids 7, Madison 3
Omaha 3, Sioux Falls 2
Sioux City 6, Tri-City 2
Dubuque 5, Youngstown 3

Sat. March 18
Waterloo 7, Fargo 1
Lincoln 5, Omaha 1
USNTDP U18 10, Muskegon 0
Madison 5, Cedar Rapids 4
USNTDP U17 7, Green Bay 3
Sioux City 4, Tri-City 3 OT
Chicago 3, Dubuque 2


Sun. March 19
Des Moines 2, Cedar Rapids 1 SO
Chicago 7, Madison 1
Sioux City 3, Omaha 2 SO

Stick taps

Will Smith, F, USNTDP U18
The Boston College commit picked up his 100th point of the season Saturday thanks to a five-point night. He’s the eighth player in NTDP history to reach the century mark.

Smith found the back of the net twice and added three assists in the 10-0 win over Muskegon. In USHL play specifically, Smith has 12 goals and 38 points through 17 games.

Despite the smaller sample size, the right-shot center is averaging a league-best 2.24 points per game.

Gavyn Thoreson, F,  Waterloo
Thoreson played nine games for the Black Hawks last fall before returning to Andover High School for his senior season. The left-shot forward racked up 41 goals and 97 points in 31 games and joined the Black Hawks last week after defeating Cretin-Derham Hall and taking third (Class AA) at the Minnesota High School State Tournament.

Thoreson made an immediate impact with four points in three games, including two goals and an assist on Saturday. Waterloo defeated Fargo in a shootout Thursday night and cruised to a 7-1 win on Saturday.

The win snapped a 17-game point streak for the Force and clinched a spot in the Clark Cup Playoffs. Waterloo is the second team to do so, joining Fargo.

Jack Harvey, F, Chicago
Harvey netted a pair of goals on both Saturday and Sunday, bringing his season total to 33. Harvey also added an assist in Sunday’s dominant win over Madison.


Harvey became the Steel’s franchise career goal leader with his first one on Sunday. Harvey has 68 goals in 163 games in a Chicago sweater. He passed Matt Coronato, who scored 66 from 2019-2021.

The BU commit is currently second in the USHL in goals and third in points (64), trailing only Macklin Celebrini (74) and Ryan Walsh (65).

Matthew DiMarsico, F, Green Bay
Green Bay’s leading goal scorer added to his total (21) this weekend with two goals on Friday. DiMarsico added two assists on Friday and another on Saturday, giving himself a five-point weekend.

His four-point game tied a season-high and was his sixth multi-point effort of the 2022-23 campaign. The Penn State commit is second on Mike Leone’s roster with 39 points through 48 games.

Emmett Croteau, G, Waterloo
The Montreal pick (2022, sixth-round, 162nd overall) has won five of his last six starts and now ranks third in the USHL in save percentage (.915) and fourth in GAA (2.52). Croteau earned his 12th win of the season Saturday and is a perfect 3-0 against the league-leading Force.

Croteau made 42 saves and two more in the shootout Thursday. He followed it up with another 37 saves Saturday night and helped guide Waterloo to that 7-1 win. Croteau has made 193 of a possible 204 saves over his current six-game stretch.

Cameron Whitehead, G, Lincoln
Whitehead has won three of his four starts in March, the latest coming Friday in Des Moines. Whitehead turned aside all 21 shots the Buccaneers fired his way and earned his fourth shutout of the season, which is tied for second in the USHL.

The Vegas pick (2022, fourth-round, 128th overall) is also tied for second in the league with 20 wins. Whitehead (20-14-2-0) has faced the most shots in the league this season (1,015) and owns a .904 save percentage and 2.83 GAA.


Brett Skinner becomes Fargo's fifth head coach since the 2018-19 season after leading the NAHL's Minnesota Wilderness to the Robertson Cup Championship
The Steel finished atop the East with 83 points and made the playoffs for a seventh straight season. Chicago's lineup featured six of the USHL's top 12 point producers, including Macklin Celebrini
From a pair of First-Team All-USHL picks to several stellar individual seasons, and the first playoff series win since 2018-19, the RoughRiders have a lot of positives to take from the 2022-23 season
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
Capitols and Lumberjacks receive their future considerations, Klavs Veinbergs and Griffin Jurecki flip commitments, USHL All-Academic Team announced and much more
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

What’s on tap

This week’s schedule features seven games on Friday and eight more on Saturday, putting all 16 teams in action. The weekend wraps up with three games on Sunday, highlighted by the conclusion of Fargo’s three-in-three at Tri-City.

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.

Sioux City (23-23-2-3) at Lincoln (30-18-3-0), Ice Box, Fri. March 24, 7:05 p.m.

The Musketeers and Stars had been struggling as of late. However, both clubs carry win streaks into Friday’s tilt. Rocky Russo’s club won both of their games this weekend and has won four straight. Lincoln now holds a five-point edge on Tri-City and sits third in the Western Conference.

At the same time, Sioux City — which had dropped eight of its previous 10 — has won three straight and climbed back to .500 on the season. The Musketeers ended Tri-City’s eight-game win streak on Friday, won in overtime on Saturday and won in a shootout on Sunday.

Ryan Conmy picked up three points (1-2-3) on Friday while Sam Deckhut scored twice on Sunday. The Musketeers have jumped five points ahead of sixth-place Des Moines. Friday’s game will also be Lincoln’s Aubri Brown Club Night.


Year two a "slam dunk" success for Sioux City's Aubri Brown Game

Fargo (36-9-2-4) at Tri-City (26-17-3-3), Viaero Center, Fri.-Sun. March 24-26, 7:05, 7:05 & 3:05 p.m.

It’s a sentence that hasn’t been used much this season, but the Force will look to respond to a loss Friday night. Saturday’s loss to Waterloo snapped Fargo’s point streak at 17 games. Fargo’s last regulation loss came on Jan. 21.

Tri-City will also look to get back in the win column after a pair of losses to Sioux City. As mentioned above, the Storm had won eight straight before the two-game hiccup and had been one of the USHL’s hottest teams in the month of March.

Tri-City still owns points in nine of its last 10 (8-1-1-0). However, the Force have won four of the previous five matchups this season.

Ice Chips

  • Thanks to Sunday’s win over Madison, Chicago is just two points away from clinching a playoff spot. Fargo and Waterloo are the only teams to secure a spot so far. Chicago (33-15-3-1) leads the Eastern Conference with 70 points.
  • Lincoln can also clinch a playoff spot with a win or a Sioux Falls loss. The Stars are currently third in the west with 63 points, four behind Waterloo.
  • Fargo goaltender Matej Marinov suffered his first regulation loss of the season Saturday night. Marinov is 20-1-1-3 on the season and owns the USHL’s best GAA (2.26) and second-best save percentage (.917).
  • The USHL saw an influx of young talent last weekend with the Minnesota high school season coming to an end. Thoreson, Jayson Shaugabay (Green Bay), Chase Cheslock (Omaha) and Cayden Casey (Des Moines) are a few of the most intriguing additions. Thoreson and Casey were teammates at Andover.
  • Sioux City forward Ben Doran netted the overtime winner Saturday at Tri-City. The goal was Doran’s 12th of the season and his team-leading fourth game-winner. He also scored in the shootout Sunday in Omaha.
  • Despite their shootout loss on Sunday, Cedar Rapids has still earned points in eight (6-2-0-2) of its last 10. The RoughRiders are currently tied with Dubuque and Green Bay for fourth in the Eastern Conference. All three clubs have 58 points through 51 games.
  • Green Bay and Dubuque will play a home-and-home at the end of the month. However, those are the only two games left between any of the three teams.
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  • Dubuque has also picked up points in eight (6-2-2-0) of its last 10. The Fighting Saints will welcome the NTDP U17 team for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday. Dubuque is 7-3-0-0 in its last 10 on home ice.
  • Dubuque forward Ryan St. Louis has committed to Brown. St. Louis played 38 games at Northeastern before returning to the USHL. St. Louis leads Dubuque with 55 points (21-34-55) in 47 games.
  • Muskegon goaltender Raythan Robbins flipped his commitment from Omaha to Bemidji State late last week. Robbins spent part of the fall with the Mavericks before returning to the USHL.
  • The NTDP Evaluation Camp is taking place this week in Plymouth, Mich. There are 17 ties to Minnesota or North Dakota and 45 total players at the camp. Whether they make the NTDP or not, many of those players will end up in the USHL. For more on some of the top players competing this week, click here.

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