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USPHL Premier: A Look At The Midwest Region

By Jim DenHollander/, 12/13/19, 3:45PM EST


Some three-game weekends played a big part in standings this past weekend as the Decatur Blaze grabbed six points against the Motor City Hockey Club and the Detroit Fighting Irish snared two of three against the visiting Midwest Blackbirds in Midwest-East Division battles.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Blue Ox got the weekend off to a great start with a won on the road against the Moose in Midwest-West Division play but returned home Sunday with a 1-1-1 record after a pair of one-goal losses on the road.

The weekend got off to an early start with the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings heading to the Twin Cities and a late finish as Pittsburgh Vengeance took a pair of tough losses against the Skipjacks that open the door for the Metro Jets who won a pair in Great Lakes Division play.


Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings 5 @ Minnesota Mullets 2

Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings @ Minnesota Mullets

The Riverkings got the weekend off to an early and successful start with five different goal scorers including Colton Flammini (‘01/Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.) with the game winner giving the visitors a 3-1 lead in the middle period.

The Riverkings then wrapped up a Midwest-West road sweep with a lopsided win in the getaway game. 

Brayden Uttech (‘00/Sun Prairie, Wis.) paced the Kings with a two-goal game including the game-winner just 4:01 into the game.


Motor City Hockey Club 1 @ Decatur Blaze 4 

Motor City HC @ Decatur Blaze 

Motor City HC 1 @ Decatur Blaze 6

The Blaze began a three-game Midwest-East weekend set against Motor City with a two-goal game from Walker Smith (‘02/Castle Rock, Colo.) including the game winner in the second period.

The Blaze clinched a win of its Midwest-East weekend series with a lopsided edge on home ice Saturday. 

Walker Smith (‘02/Castle Rock, Colo.) scored three for the Blaze while Austin Floyd (‘01/Centennial, Colo.) and Carter Smith (‘00/Castle Rock, Colo.) added two each, Smith notching the game winner. 

The Blaze wrapped up a three-game weekend sweep on home ice Sunday paced by Mario Lorusso (‘99/Bartlett, Ill.) who scored twice, including the game winner 6:17 into the middle period. 


Columbus Mavericks 3 @ Lake Erie Bighorns 4 

Columbus Mavericks 4 @ Lake Erie Bighorns 5 

The Bighorns scored three unanswered second period goals only to have the visiting Mavericks rally back with three in the third, setting the stage for Jadon Barron (‘02/Randolph, N.Y.) who fired the game winner with 6:53 to go.

Iivari Pihlajaniemi (‘01/Pori, Finland) added two others for the Bighorns.

The host Bighorns grabbed another one-goal edge against the Mavs Saturday, this time rallying back from a 3-2 deficit early in the third with three straight goals, then holding off the Mavericks who pulled one back inside of the final three minutes.

Pihlajaniemi connected on the game winner for the Bighorns with 6:55 to go.


Midwest Blackbirds 4 @ Detroit Fighting Irish 5 

Midwest Blackbirds 2 @ Detroit Fighting Irish 4 

Midwest Blackbirds 6 @ Detroit Fighting Irish 4

The Irish grabbed its fourth straight win to start a key Midwest-East Division series on home ice against the Midwest Blackbirds.

Brendan Higgins (‘00/South Rockwood, Mich.) led the Irish with a three-goal game including the game winner, breaking a 4-4 deadlock with just under three minutes to go.

The Irish clinched the edge in its three-game weekend series against the Blackbirds with a pair of goals from Clay Hightower (‘00/Carleton, Mich.) and the game winner scored by Lane Stewart (Royal Oak, Mich.).

The Blackbirds avoided a sweep on the road and snapped a five-game winning streak for the Irish, charging back from a 3-1 deficit after 20 minutes with five unanswered middle period tallies.

Ryan Rachui (‘99/Denton, Texas), Nick Pezzuto (‘00/Schereville, Ind.) and Kevin Pietrucha (‘00/Crestwood, Ill.) scored twice each for the Blackbirds, Rachui with the game winner late in the second period.


Minnesota Blue Ox 6 @ Minnesota Moose 5 

Minnesota Blue Ox 5 @ Minnesota Moose 6 (OT)

The Blue Ox grabbed a win in the opener of a big Midwest-West Division set against the Moose as Kyle Kester (‘99/Waconia, Minn.) notched his second of the game, snapping a 5-5 deadlock with 68 seconds to play.

In Game 2, the score was identical to the previous evening, but this time it was the Moose in front with an overtime win in this Midwest-West contest.

Brendon Jones (‘00/Boston, Mass.) scored twice, including the game winner, just eight seconds from the end of the overtime segment for the Moose.


Dells Ducks @ Chicago Cougars 

Dells Ducks 3 @ Chicago Cougars 7

The Cougars grabbed a big opening home win against the visiting Ducks, led by a four-goal performance from Breydon Hemminger (‘99/Geneva, Ill.) and three each from Donald Dickens (‘99/Northfield, Ohio) and Alexander Arnold (‘99/West Lafayette, Ind.).

Chris Wracker (‘99/Columbia, S.C.) scored a pair for the Ducks.

The Cougars wrapped up a home sweep against the Ducks with another two goals for Hemminger including the game winner early in the third period.


Lansing Wolves 1 @ Metro Jets 7 

Alec Lindecker (‘00/Romeo, Mich.) fired the second of four unanswered first period goals for the host Jets just past the halfway mark of the period and it ultimately stood up as the game winner as the Jets returned from a three week layoff with a big win. 


MJDP 3 @ Fort Wayne Spacemen 2 

Mitchell Hoon (‘01/Evansville, Ind.) fired the first two MJDP goals and Dylan Tegtmeyer (‘99/Fort Wayne, Ind.) added the game winner early in the final period as MJDP grabbed a win against a Midwest-East rival on the road.


Rochester Vipers @ Hudson Havoc 

The Midwest-West leading Havoc posted a lopsided win on home ice against the visiting Vipers, led by three goals off the stick of Kaleb Kinskey (‘99/Waterloo, Iowa) and another pair from Evan Mitchell (‘01/Liberty Township, Ohio) including the game winner. 


Toledo Cherokee 4 @ Metro Jets 6

The Jets wrapped up its second win of the weekend, breaking a 4-4 deadlock with two goals in the final 15 minutes of the contest against the visiting Cherokee in that team’s only game of the weekend.

Jesper Svadang (‘99/Falun, Sweden) put the Jets in front to stay 5:31 into the third.

Tyler Fox (‘00/Marshall, Mich.) scored twice for the Cherokee.


Minnesota Blue Ox 2 @ Steele County Blades 3 

The Blades played just once on the weekend, but made it count, grabbing a 3-2 edge on home ice thanks to a 45-save effort in goal from Josh Brown (‘00/Minnetonka, Minn.).

Vsevolod Bannikov (‘01/Minsk, Belarus) scored the first two goals for the Blades and the game winner came from Connor Lee (‘01/Sydney, Australia) 4:23 into the final period.


Pittsburgh Vengeance 3 @ Skipjacks HC 4

Pittsburgh Vengeance 2 @ Skipjacks HC 4

Teams were even at 1-1 after 20 minutes and 3-3 heading to the third, Zane Dawson (‘00/Leominster, Mass.) stepping up with the game winner for the host Skips 9:06 into the final period.

Tibor Setteducati (‘00/Clarence, N.Y.) also fired a pair for the Skipjacks.

On Tuesday, the Vengeance carried a 1-0 lead out of the first period but the host Skipjacks fired three unanswered second period goals including the game winner, the second of the game for Armen Arabyen (‘02/Los Angeles, Calif.) late in the frame.