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USHL notebook: Force on a roll, Phantoms tender highly-touted prospect and quartet of suspensions issued

USHL writer Jordan McAlpine gets you ready for the weekend and caught up on what's happening around the league

fargo force and des moines buccaneers players on ice
Cole Knuble (22) of the Fargo Force races to control the puck Dec. 29, 2022 at Scheels Arena. Knuble had two goals and an assist for the Force last Friday and played in the BioSteel All-American Game Monday afternoon.
Rob Beer / The Rink Live

OMAHA, Neb. — As this weekend’s games quickly approach, USHL writer Jordan McAlpine gets you caught up on what’s happening around the league.

Players of the Week

In case you missed it earlier this week, the USHL announced its Players of the Week Monday evening. USNTDP forward Gabe Perreault , Waterloo defenseman Aaron Pionk and Lincoln goaltender Cameron Whitehead took home the respective honors.

For more on each player and their recent play, click here.

USHL announces quartet of suspensions

Four different USHL players were issued one-game suspensions Wednesday afternoon. Sioux Falls forward Tanner Bruender (kneeing), Madison defenseman Jan Olenginski (boarding), Lincoln forward Jared Mangan (checking from behind) and Cedar Rapids defenseman Eric Pohlkamp (head contact).

Eric Pohlkamp has flown under the radar the last few years. But after a strong start to the season, the Bemidji State commit continues to emerge as a draft prospect

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Fargo continues to be a Force

Nick Oliver’s squad now owns the USHL’s best win percentage and the most points (45) as Fargo leapfrogged Chicago. The Force are 8-2-0-0 in their last 10 and have scored 122 goals this season, which ranks second in the USHL.

Fargo currently has a four-point lead on Lincoln and a five-point lead on third-place Waterloo in the Western Conference.

Fargo represents well at BAAG

Speaking of Nick Oliver, the first-year coach spent Monday afternoon behind the bench in Plymouth, Mich. He was joined by two of his players, Cole Knuble and Joe Palodichuk , at the BioSteel All-American Game

Palodichuk picked up a pair of assists for Team White in the loss. Although Knuble, who ranks ninth in the USHL in points (33) and 11th in goals (15), was held off the scoresheet, Oliver liked his game.

"I thought Cole was one of the more consistent players out there," Oliver said. "I just thought he impacted the game in all different ways and he made plays. He got around the net, he protected the puck really well and I was just proud of how he handled himself out there."

Black Hawks stay hot

Speaking of Waterloo, Matt Smaby’s squad has been on fire as of late. The Black Hawks currently have the USHL’s longest win streak (six games) and have also won three straight at Young Arena.

The Black Hawks defeated Des Moines in overtime last time out and have found the back of the net 34 times over the six-game stretch. Waterloo has the USHL’s best home record at 14-5-0-0. The Black Hawks have also scored a league-high 77 goals on home ice this season.

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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

Phantoms sign highly-touted prospect to tender

Youngstown made a splash Tuesday afternoon by signing Zachary Morin to a tender agreement. Morin, a 2007-born Canadian forward, will join the Phantoms next season.

“We are ecstatic to add Zachary to the Phantoms family,” Youngstown head coach Ryan Ward said in a statement. “Zachary is a trailblazer, one of the best hockey players in the world at his age, and he is going to showcase that in the USHL.”

Morin has racked up an astounding 94 points (41 g, 53a) in 56 games this season with the Little Caesars Midget Program. As a result of the signing, Youngstown was forced to forfeit its second-round pick in the upcoming Phase I USHL Draft this spring.

Ice chips

  • Tri-City executed a trade Tuesday sending goaltender Karlis Mezsargs and future considerations to Danbury (NAHL) in return for goaltender Patriks Berzins . Berzins was a standout for Team Latvia last month at the World Junior Championships.
  • Lincoln continues to lead the USHL with 602 penalty minutes, 19 more than the next closest team. However, the Stars own the league’s top penalty kill at 86%.
  • Lincoln’s Mason Marcellus is averaging almost an assist per game. Marcellus has a league-leading 26 helpers in 27 games this season.
  • Jack Harvey continues to lead the USHL in both goals (25) and points (44). Harvey has goals in four straight games and six points (5-1-6) in that stretch.
  • Waterloo goaltender Jack Spicer has won his last six starts. Spicer has 14 wins this season and is tied with Whitehead for second in the USHL. Green Bay’s Kristoffer Eberly leads the way with 15.
  • Cedar Rapids head coach Mark Carlson is closing in on 750 career wins. Carlson is currently second in USHL history with 748 wins. He only trails P.K. O’Handley, who racked up 783 wins in 1,488 games.
  • The USHL’s Frosty Cup will take place Jan. 27–29 in Dallas. Fargo and Tri-City will play a pair of games at the event.
  • Click here to view this weekend's games and the entire USHL schedule.

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