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Omaha’s Cole Bruns closes in on USHL shutouts record

12/13/2013, 4:15pm EST
By Tom Robinson - Special to USAHockey.com

Cole Bruns opened the United States Hockey League with a record stretch of five straight shutouts in September and October.

He did not stop there.

The Omaha Lancers’ goalie added another shutout in November and now another in December during Friday’s 1-0 victory over the Fargo Force. The seven shutouts bring Bruns within one of the USHL record for the Tier I era (since 2002). The all-time USHL record belongs to Dallas Stars goalie Dan Ellis, also with Omaha, who had 11 in 1999-2000.

Bruns needed just 16 saves in the latest shutout. The 19-year-old from Prairie Grove, Ill. had a bit more work the next night with 33 saves in a 5-2 win over the Lancers. In addition to shutouts, Bruns leads the USHL in goals-against average (1.77) and save percentage (.935) and shares the lead in wins (13).

USHL ROUNDUP: Team USA forward Jack Eichel is tied for 10th in the USHL in scoring despite playing in only 10 games. Eichel has 13 goals and 10 assists during that time. He has scored in all but one game and has multiple points in eight of 10 games.

Team USA players get in fewer games because their USHL schedule is split between the U.S. National Under-17 Team and U.S. National Under-18 Team. The two teams make up the U.S. National Team Development Program, which is based in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Ryan Lough of the Green Bay Gamblers scored seven goals in a four-game scoring streak.

Joel L’Esperance scored four goals and Garrett Gamez had four assists when the Tri-City Storm defeated the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders 6-3 Saturday. Gamez assisted on three of L’Esperance goals. Gamez now has eight points in five games since starting the season scoreless in 16 games.

The Dubuque Fighting Saints have won 11 straight home games.

NOR-PAC LEADERS: The Bellingham Blaze and West Sound Warriors continue to battle at the top of the Northern Pacific League standings.

Bellingham took the lead in standings points while West Sound maintains the highest winning percentage after the Blaze both two games, including one in overtime.

The Blaze recovered from a two-goal deficit to win 3-2 on a Kristjan Toivola power-play goal 1:49 into overtime Friday. Toivola also assisted on Dawson Quint’s game-tying, power-play goal in the third period. Micky Turner and Scott Hansen each picked up their second assist of the game on Toivola’s winner.

Cody Rich’s second goal of the game lifted Bellingham to a 4-3 win Saturday.

COLLEGE COMMITMENTS: Austin Vieth of the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks has committed to the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The forward from Marinette, Wis. will be 20 next week. He has eight points in 20 games.

Lincoln Stars defenseman Jared Kolquist is headed to Merrimack College. Kolquist, 20, from Hermantown, Minn., has seven points in 22 games.

Sioux Falls Stampede forward Griffen Molino committed to Western Michigan University. The 19-year-old from Trenton, Mich. leads the team with 18 assists and also has three goals in 24 games.

Fargo forward Alex Jackstadt will return to his hometown to play for the University of Alaska Anchorage. Jackstadt, 19, has two assists in 21 games.

Goalie Brandon Wildung, from the North American Hockey League's Minot Minotauros, has committed to Mercyhurst University. The 19-year-old from Minneota, Minn. went 7-1 in November. He has a 2.52 GAA.

Nick DeCenzo, a forward with the Brookings Blizzard, has committed to Army for next season. DeCenzo leads the team in scoring with 19 points during his third season with the Blizzard. He is a 20-year-old from Hibbard, Minn.

Andy Faust, a forward with the Eastern Hockey League’s Connecticut Oilers, is also headed to Army. Faust, a 19-year-old from Stillwater, Minn., is eighth in the league in scoring with 30 points in 24 games.

Cameron Spicer, a defenseman from the Eastern League’s New Hampshire Junior Monarchs, will play at the University of Maine. The 17-year-old from Erie, Colo. has 12 points in 24 games.

Steve Thulin, a goalie with the United States Premier Hockey League’s Connecticut Yankees, committed to the University of Connecticut. The 20-year-old from North Reading, Mass. has a .928 save percentage.

Ryan Ferrill from the Philadelphia Flyers committed to Holy Cross. The 20-year-old forward from Havertown, Pa. has 13 goals in 17 games.

ONE-TIMERS: Defenseman Brogan Rafferty had two goals, including a game-winner, and two assists while going plus-4 to help the Coulee Region Chill sweep an NAHL home-and-home series from the Minnesota Magicians. … The Metropolitan Junior Hockey League will have 25 games at its MJHL Winter Showcase Friday through Sunday at the Ice Line Quad Rinks in West Chester, Pa. … Lucas Linville made his NA3HL debut a success with a hat trick, including the game-winning goal, for the Metro Jets in a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Vengeance.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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