By: Jim DenHollander
The third day of the United States Premier Hockey League Midwest Showcase tournament was the busiest with 11 games taking place at the Leafs Center in West Dundee, IL.
Among the highlight games of the day was an early afternoon tilt between the Decatur Blaze from the Midwest-East and Ironwood Fighting Yoopers of the West Division.
Decatur has relied on stellar goaltending and a tight defensive game to pick up seven wins so far, this season while the Ironwood Fighting Yoopers, led by Division leading scorer, Caleb Griffin, 19, from Regina seem to prefer a more wide-open game, having scored 126 goals which puts them among the highest scoring teams in the division, while allowing 149 goals against, the highest total in the division.
The Blaze was unable to stick with the tight defensive style through its first two games in Chicago, falling 7-5 in its opener against Steele County Blades and 5-1 against the Minnesota Mullets. The Yoopers came into the Thursday game with an even record, having earned a 7-4 win against the Motor City Hawks in its opener, but suffered a 5-4 loss against East Division leaders, the Chicago Cougars on Thursday.
It was the Yoopers prevailing in this one by a 6-2 count made up of a 3-1 margin in both halves.
The Yoopers opened the scoring 2:31 into the game and led 2-0 before Conor Mulcahy fired the first Blaze goal at the 14-minute mark, from Scott Wargin, 19, from Worth, IL and Patrick Kelly, 20, from Round Lake, IL.
The second half goal came from Kelly with an assist for Wargin, who has had a hand in all eight goals for the Blaze at this tournament so far.
Zach Earl, 17, from Paw Paw, MI notched three goals and an assist in the win for the Yoopers, Caleb Martin, 19, from Regina, SK, the Midwest’s leading scoring adding a goal and two assists. Ryan Danner, 18, from San Jose, CA and Cade Martin, 18, from Belleville, WI fired the other Yoopers goals with single assists for Adam Rosen, 19, from Calgary, AB; Alex Jones, 19, from Wakefield, MI and Tyler Morrison, 17, from Wakefield, MI.
Simo Huhtanen, 20, from Columbus, OH turned in a 32 save effort in his first start and first win of the season for the Yoopers. Blaze split the work evenly, Adam Lindeman, 20, from Beaver Dam, WI and Lane Timmons, 18, from Gibson City, IL both playing a half and combining on a 25-save effort.
In other games at the Midwest Showcase:
Game 14 – Steele County Blades 9 Tri-City Icehawks 0
The Blades have put together a solid tournament so far, scoring seven goals in each of its previous two games – a 7-5 win against the Decatur Blaze on Wednesday followed by a 7-3 win against the Motor City Hawks on Thursday.
The Icehawks entered the game with just a single Showcase game under its belt, a 14-1 loss against the Minnesota Moose.
The Blades jumped into a 4-0 lead through the first half of this one and never looked back, adding five more unanswered second period goals.
Nick Mizen, 20, from Newcastle, Australia, collected his fourth win and first shutout of the season for the Blades, turning aside all 13 Icehawks shots. Carson Bonk, 20, from Clinton Corners, NY and Kevin Berg, 17, from Novi, MI combined to stop 54 shots in goal for the Icehawks.
Trevor Daly, 18, from Roseville, MN paced the Blades with two goals and an assist, Zach Bettmeng, 19, from Sioux Falls, SD adding a goal and two helpers and Kyle Wadden, 20, from Des Moines, IA set up three. Kory Potach, 19, from Austin, MN and Cody Arbelovsky, 19, from Kenai, AK both scored twice for the Blades, Zach Gruhn, 19, from Dubuque, IA collecting a goal and assist and the other Blades’ goal scored by Santeri Piha, 18, from Helsinki. Single assists were picked up by: Zak Von Ruden, 19, from Northfield, MN; Caleb Kranzler, 17, from Aberdeen, SD; Tanner Booth, 27, from Clemmons, NC; Tristan Klewsaat, 20, from Larkspur, CO; Lukkas Kallioinen, 17, from Laukaa, Finland and Nick Privitera, 17, from Sun Valley, CA.
Game 15 – Hudson Havoc 4 Detroit Fighting Irish 2
The Havoc entered its third game of the tournament following a couple of solid results, a 3-1 loss to the Dells Ducks in its opener Wednesday but a 6-4 win the following day against the Kalkaska Rhinos. The Fighting Irish started out on Thursday with a 3-0 loss against the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings.
A late surge from the Havoc lifted the Hudson squad to its second win of the weekend with a 4-2 margin.
Both teams scored once in the first 93 seconds of this one but couldn’t find any more offense though the first half.
Josh Weber, 17, from Canton, MI put the Fighting Irish on the board just 31 seconds into the game, from Nicholas Fernandez, 20, from White Lake, MI and Maximilian Wigfield, 18, from Oak Park, IL tied it 62 seconds later for the Havoc from Dylan Marty, 17, from New Richmond, WI and Benjamin Lamm, 19, from Ludington, MI.
Weber’s second near the halfway mark of the second period from Noah Reesor, 19, from Lindon, MI and Peyton Hughes, 17, from Naperville, IL had the Fighting Irish in front again, but Dylan Marty, 17, from New Richmond, WI tied it up again a little more than two minutes later
Rafferty Chaney, 17, from Crete, IL gave the Havoc its first lead just 2:39 from the end on a feed from Alec Will, 19, from White Bear Lake, MN and Wyatt Knipfer, 19, from Cottage Grove, WI fired a shorthanded empty netter to clinch the win from Marty and Josh Storms, 17, from Stillwater, MN 29 seconds from the buzzer.
Lane Gregory, 19, from Franktown, CO stopped 26 shots to pick up his fourth win of the season in goal for the Havoc while Anthony Crews, 18, from West Bloomfield had 26 saves as well in goal for the Fighting Irish.
Game 16 – Minnesota Moose 4 Chicago Cougars 2
The Moose entered play on Day 3 with just one previous result, a 14-1 whipping of the Tri-City Icehawks on Thursday while the Cougars put together a pair of wins, grabbing a 3-2 overtime edge against the Minnesota Mullets on Wednesday and a 5-4 margin against the Ironwood Fighting Yoopers on Thursday.
The Moose managed to stay perfect, using a 3-1 edge through the second period to grab a 4-2 win.
Cougars grabbed an early lead on a goal by TJ Dougan, 18, from Elgin from Michael Helf, 20, from Chicago IL 5:25 into the game.
That lead held up until the final minute when Matteo Menotti, 18, from Chicago, IL grabbed a giveaway in front and fired it home in the final minute to send teams to the locker even at 1-1 through the first half. Gavin Proeh, 19, from Chicago, IL picked up an assist on the goal.
The Cougars killed off a two-man disadvantage early in the second half and then got a bonus as Connor Parker, 20 from Waukesha, WI left the bench and grabbed a loose puck near center and converted a breakaway goal to put the Cougars in front again.
The lead was short-lived though as the Moose did connect on a powerplay goal just 30 seconds later, Josh Morrison, 19, from San Diego, CA pulling the trigger with assists for Riley Keays, 20, from Brookfield, WI and Nate Ackerman, 20, from Willmar, MN.
The Moose took a lead for the first time on the same powerplay (a major) about two minutes later. Matej Krasny, 19, from Pilzen, Czech Republic fired the goal with help from Nicholas Gonrowski, 18, from Robbinsdale, MN and Jake Peterson, 19, from Oak Creek, WI.
Insurance came Braydin Larson, 19, from Duluth, MN who fired a fourth Moose goal with six minutes to play from Menotti and Dylan Gast, 20, from White Bear Lake, MN.
Kevin Hale, 20, from Palmer, AK stopped 33 shots to earn his 12th win of the season in goal for the Moose and Alex Jones, 20, from Verona, WI turned aside 18 shots in goal for the Cougars.
Game 17 – Kalkaska Rhinos 1 Minnesota Mullets 5
The Rhinos were set to become the first team to head into the Christmas Break, but hoped to finish on a wining note after dropping all three of its previous matches. Against the Wisconsin Muskies on Wednesday, the Rhinos lost 5-2 and the following day the team was on the ice for a pair, falling 6-4 to the Hudson Havoc and 3-2 to the Dells Ducks.
The Mullets meanwhile opened its tournament with a tough 3-2 overtime loss to the Chicago Cougars Wednesday but bounced back with a 5-1 win against the Decatur Blaze on Thursday.
The Mullets opened a 2-0 first half margin with goals from Tyler Chalupsky, 20, from Mahtoemedi, MN and Dalton L’Allier, 20, from Juneau, AK. Jon Hansen, 20, from Twig, MN collected assists on both goals with other assists for Joey Fodstad, 17, from Rogers, MN and Derek Sime, 18, from Blaine, MN.
In the second half, Hunter Walters, 18, from Poynette, WI widened the gap a little further with his goal 8:02 in from Dylan Hullaby, 16, from Cedar Rapids, IA and Morgan Diamond, 18, from Moor Park, CA.
Jonathan Yanovsky, 20, from White Lake, MI got the Rhinos on the board with 10:13 to play on a feed from Hendrik Robel, 17, from Berlin, Germany but the Mullets put this one away with two more goals in the final seven minutes.
Tommy Strelow, 20, from Mahtomedi, MN scored the first, from Sime and Fodstad and the other came from Joey Brophy, 18, from Coralville, IA with an assist for Jake Lindblom, 18, from Pine City, MN.
Mason Lovich, 18, from Rosemount, MN stopped 15 shots to pick up his third win of the season for the Mullets and Brenden Williams, 19, from Berlin, NH made 27 saves for the Rhinos.
Game 19 – Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings 4 Steele County Blades 1
The Riverkings took the ice for its second game of the weekend after capturing a 3-0 win shutout against the Detroit Fighting Irish the previous evening. The Blades were looking to wrap up a possible season turning point event have captured wins against Decatur Blaze (7-5), Motor City Hawks (7-3) and Tri-City Icehawks (9-0) in its previous matches.
Still a high point for the Blades, they missed the sweep by one, running into a Riverkings trying to get back into the race for a top two positions in the Midwest-West Division. The Riverkings scored the only two goals of the opening half on its way to a 4-1 win.
Zachary Curry, 19, from Olathe, KS and Adam Peterson, 19, from Chicago, IL scored the first half goals for the Riverkings with Brett DeLaat, 20, from Kenosha and Austyn Quarters, 20, from Bozeman, MT firing the second half markers. Peterson also picked up an assist with others for: Tom McManus, 19, from Lakeville, MN; Raymond Fleming, 19, from Samammish, WA and Alexander Mavrogaiannis, 19, from Dover, MA.
Kory Potach, 19, from Austin, MN counted the lone Steele County Blades’ goal in the second half from Tristan Klewsaat, 20, from Larkspur, CO and Zach Gruhn, 19, from Dubuque, IA.
Erik Schuette, 20, from Olathe, KS, defending USPHL Premier Goaltender of the Year, collected his seventh win of this season with a 17-save effort for the Riverkings. Vinny Capezza, 18, from Hammond, WI stopped 20 shots in goal for the Blades.
Game 20 – Wisconsin Muskies 3 Detroit Fighting Irish 2
The Muskies were looking to continue an amazing run, sporting wins of 5-2 against Kalkaska on opening day and 7-0 against the Motor City Hawks on Thursday which extended its run to wins in eight of its past 10 games. The Fighting Irish have been a tough opponent but had nothing to show for it entering this one with a 3-0 loss to the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings Thursday and a 4-2 defeat by Hudson earlier on Friday.
The Muskies fired the lone goal of the second half to pull out a 3-2 win against the Fighting Irish in this one. Ilja Grekov, 18, from Liepaaja, Latvia notched the game winner near the halfway mark of the period.
In the opening half, John Lizyness, 19, from Allen Park, MI fired both for the Fighting Irish with Muskies’ goals coming from Zach Shadick, 19, from Rice Lake, WI and Kyle Klatt, 20, from Cloquet, MN.
Shadick also picked up a couple assists in the game for the Muskies as did Mitch El-Walli, 20, from New Prague, MN. Richard Szabo, 18, from Vrutky, Slovakia also had one assist.
Tristan Cruz, 20, from Brownstown had assists on both Fighting Irish goals with other set ups for Lizyness and Zachary Wiener, 19, from Canton, MI.
Sam Gartner, 20, from Denver, CO stopped 16 shots to pick up the win in goal for the Muskies while Dean Bucholz, 18, from Dearborn Heights, MI turned aside 30 of 33 for the Irish.
Game 21 – Hudson Havoc 7 Motor City Hawks 0
Both Hudson and Motor City will wrap up their respective tournaments with this game. The Havoc has turned in some solid results, earning a 4-2 win over the Detroit Fighting Irish earlier today to add to a 6-4 win against Kalkaska Rhinos on Thursday and a 3-1 loss against the Dells Ducks in the tournament opener on Wednesday.
The Hawks have come up short three times, including 7-3 loss to Steele County Blades earlier today. Yesterday the Hawks dropped a 7-0 decision to the Wisconsin Muskies and they opened on Wednesday with a 7-4 loss to the Ironwood Fighting Yoopers.
The Hudson Havoc, winners of just four games coming into the event, racked up three more, winning its finale 8-0.
After opening a 3-0 first half lead, the Havoc put this one away with another four unanswered goals in the second half for its third straight win.
Alec Will, 19, from White Bear Lake, MN scored twice on the same shift for the Havoc in the first half – 22 seconds apart. Benjamin Lamm, 19, from Ludington, MI; Maximillian Wigfield, 18, from Oak Park, IL; Wyatt Knipfer, 19, from Cottage Grove and Caleb Dusek 17, from Dallas Texas each collected a goal and assist in the win with other goal scored by Brennan Fink, 19, from Lakeville, MN. Dylan Marty, 17, from New Richmond, WI picked up an assist for the Havoc.
Cal Ambrose, 18, from Wayzata, MN collected his third win and second shutout of the season, stopping all 22 Hawks shots and the work in goal for Motor City was shared by Ryan Cote, 20, from Arlington, MA and Nathan Norkevicius, 19, from Pittsburgh, PA.
They combined to stop 15 shots in goal for the Hawks.
Game 22 – Minnesota Mullets 1 Dells Ducks 4
The Mullets rebounded from a 3-2 overtime loss on the opening night to the Chicago Cougars with a 5-1 win Thursday against the Decatur Blaze Thursday and another 5-1 win against the Kalkaska Rhinos earlier today but they enter this game against the Dells Ducks who entered the event riding a four-game winning streak and have now added two more against Hudson Havoc 3-1 and Kalkaska Rhinos 3-2.
Jacob Cameron, 16, from Oregon, WI fired the game winner in this one with just under five and the Ducks sank a pair into an empty Mullets’ cage in the final minute – both off the stick of the team’s leading scorer, Stone Stelzl, 18, from Blaine, MN. Second half assists went to Jake Bevins, 18, from Chicago, IL and Blake Hackbarth, 19, from Greenville, WI.
The Ducks hit the board first in this one, Colton Maynard, 19, from St. Clair MI slamming one home from Spencer Butler, 17, from Fort Lauderdale, FL and Alex Crowder, 17, from Tulsa, OK
Nate Holm, 19, from Hastings, MN pulled the Mullets even with his powerplay marker late in the opening frame, set up by Jon Hansen, 20, from Twig, MN and Tyler Chalupsky, 20, from Mahtomedi, MN.
Corbin Moore, 18, from Fort Wayne, IN was nearly flawless in goal for the Ducks, kicking out 31 saves for his fifth win of the season and third of the weekend.
Jack Bostedt, 18, from Janesville, handled shots for the Mullets, stopping 16 of 18 before heading to the bench in favor of an extra attacker in the final minute.
Game 23 – Decatur Blaze 1 Minnesota Moose 6
The Blaze entered its final game of the Showcase having turned in some solid efforts, but had nothing to show for it with three tough losses – 7-5 against the surging Steele County Blades on Wednesday, 5-1 against the Minnesota Mullets Thursday and 6-2 against the Fighting Yoopers from Ironwood earlier today. The Moose have a pair of wins, starting with a 14-1 win against Tri-City Americans on Thursday and a 4-2 doubling of the Chicago Cougars earlier today.
Both teams scored once in the opening period, Matvei Lobzin, 18, from Russia getting the Blaze on the board first with his goal, assisted by Patrick Kelly, 20, from Round Lake, IL at the 8:01 mark before Matej Krasny, 19, from Pilzen, Czech Republic pulled the Moose even with 9:56 to play, from Bryce Queary, 18, from Dublin, OH.
The Moose pulled away in the second half though, firing five unanswered goals to put this one away. Second half goals came from: Riley Keays, 20, from Brookfield, WI; Nate Ackerman, 20, from Willmar, MN; Philip DeSaava, 19, from Ludrika, Sweden; Jake Peterson, 19, from Oak Creek, WI and Brendon Jones, 18, from Pembroke, MA. Matteo Menotti, 18, from Chicago, IL; Dylan Gast, 20, from White Bear Lake, MN and Bryce Queary, 18, from Dublin, OH collected assists.
Jacob Fry, 17, from Renton, WA picked up his 10th win of the campaign with a 15 save effort for the Moose while Lane Timmons, 18, from Gibson City, IL turned aside 39 shots for the Blaze.
Game 24 – Wisconsin Rapids 11 Tri City IceHawks 2
This will be the second day of the game for both teams and a tough assignment for the Tri City IceHawks who have surrendered a couple of lopsided defeats, 14-1 against the Minnesota Moose on Thursday and a 9-0 decision against the Steele County Blades earlier today. The Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings are looking to stay perfect after a 3-0 shutout against the Detroit Fighting Irish Thursday and a 4-1 decision against the Moose a few hours earlier today.
The Riverkings dominated the Icehawks through the opening half and carried a 7-2 lead into the second and adding four more down the stretch.
Ryan Mantz, 20, from Oshkosh, WI paced the Riverkings attack with two goals and two assists and Matyas Kacirek, 19, from Tachov, Czech Republic added four assists. Cole Creger, 17, from Lafayette, CO and Kyle Mc Cauley, 18, from Chesterfield, MI both picked up two goals and a helper and Alexander Mavrogaiannis, 19, from Dover, MA picked up a goal and two assists. Rich Young, 18, from Elmwood Park, IL and Adam Peterson, 19, from Chicago, IL both notched a goal and assist with Collin Moore, 19, from Port Edwards, WI setting up a pair. Brett Delaat, 20, from Kenosha, WI and Tristan Hillebert, 19, from Topeka, KS scored the other goals with single assists for: Jesse Edwards, 19, from Rochester, NY; Zack Hartley, 17, from Angola, IN; Jacob Gaydos, 19, from Sandusky, OH; Austyn Quarters, 20, from Bozeman, MT and Tom McManus, 19, from Lakeville, MN.
Kevin Crawley, 17, from Southgate, MI and Michael Chapman, 18, from Swartz Creek, MI scored the Icehawks goals, both also picking up an assist while Thomas Chaulk, 19, from Deer Lake, NL had an assist on both.
Domenic, Paciocco, 18, from Whitby, ON needed just 11 saves to garner his seventh win for the Riverkings in goal. Gordon Andrews, 18, from Sault Ste. Marie, MI and Kevin Berg, 17, from Novi, MI shared the work in goal for the Icehawks, combining on a 49-save effort.