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Dubuque, Sioux Falls charge into USHL Clark Cup playoffs

04/18/2013, 2:00pm EDT
By Tom Robinson

The Dubuque Fighting Saints and Sioux Falls Stampede each finished with 45 wins in 64 games while winning United States Hockey League divisional titles.
 
Dubuque won the Anderson Cup as the USHL’s top regular-season team because it had fewer regulation losses. The Eastern Conference champion Fighting Saints went 45-11-8 in their third season.Sioux Falls won the Western Conference with a 45-17-2 record.
 
The Fargo Force, Waterloo Black Hawks and Lincoln Stars — all Western Conference members — were packed together with the league’s next three records, finishing at 83, 82 and 81 points, respectively, in the standings to make the playoffs.
 
The Green Bay Gamblers, Youngstown Phantoms and Muskegon Lumberjacks were the other Eastern Conference qualifiers.
 
The Waterloo combination of Taylor Cammarata, Justin Kloos and Zach Stepan finished 1-2-3 in the USHL in scoring. Cammarata led in goals (38) and points (93). Kloos led in assists with 58.
 
Charlie Lindgren racked up a league-high 35 wins while helping Sioux Falls to its division title.Arthur Brey of Dubuque led with a 2.22 goals-against average.Muskegon’s Kevin Lindskoug led in shutouts (8) and save percentage (.923).
 
CLARK CUP: The USHL moved right into its playoffs, and Lincoln is giving Sioux Falls a tough time in a Western Conference semifinal.Sioux Falls needed Tony Calderone’s second goal of the game, 1:21 into overtime, Tuesday to pull out a 3-2 victory.
 
However, the Stars evened their best-of-five series on Wednesday when Michael Bitzer made 43 saves, Will Suter scored the first two goals and the Stars killed six Stampede power plays.
 
Dubuque beat Muskegon, Green Bay topped Youngstown and Fargo downed Waterloo in the other series openers.
 
ROBERTSON CUP: While six other division semifinals were just getting started Friday night, the defending Robertson Cup champion Texas Tornado was completing a three-game sweep and moving into the South Division finals of the North American Hockey League’s playoffs.
 
The Tornado brought an emphatic conclusion to the series with an 8-1 romp over the Topeka RoadRunners.
 
Hunter Leisner allowed just one goal in each game of the series.Scott Conway had a hat trick in the clincher.
 
The Bismarck Bobcats, Jamestown Ironmen and Soo Eagles each took 2-0 series leads.
 
Seth Blair had five goals in two games for Bismarck against the Brookings Blizzard in the Central Division.Jamestown is up on the Kalamazoo K-Wings in the North.Soo shook off a goal 14 seconds into Game 2 during a 4-1 win over the Port Huron Fighting Saints in the other North series.
 
COLLEGE COMMITMENTS: Tyler Marble of the NAHL’s Soo Eagles has committed to Colorado College.Marble, a 21-year-old from Howell, Mich., had five shutouts while winning 30 regular-season games this season.
 
Austin Bruins forward C.J. Smith has committed to the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.Smith, 18, from Richfield, Minn., led the NAHL Central Division champion Bruins with 30 goals.
 
AWHL STARS: The Helena Bighorns had five of the nine players selected as first-team American West Hockey League all-stars.Goalie Jett Salinas, defensemen Brandon Rumble and Logan Hawgood and forwards Christian Axelsson and Ben Henne represented the Bighorns.
 
The rest of the first team featured Gillette Wild forwards Taylor Motsinger and Tyler Cavan, Great Falls American defenseman Bill Grillo and Missoula Maulers defenseman Donovan Mattfeldt.
 
The second team was made up of defenseman Tanner Fricke and forwards Michael Berens and George Splichal from the Yellowstone Quake; goalie Mckinlee Baum and forward Zach Paisley from the Missoula Maulers; defenseman Moco Willis from Gillette; defenseman Nick Rizzo from the Billings Bulls; and defenseman John Petersson from Helena.
 
QUICK HIT: Alex Tuch and Dylan Larkin scored six seconds apart late in the second period of the regular season finale to help Team USA edge the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders 3-2 in a shootout in USHL play.
 
The effort came within one second of a USHL record for fastest goals by teammates.
 
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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