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Shootout Drama in United States Hockey League

01/27/2017, 8:00am MST
By Tom Robinson - Special to USA Hockey

Games in back-to-back nights head deep into shootout rounds

Keith Petruzzelli stopped all 20 shots he faced in regulation and overtime, then followed it up by stopping nine out of 10 shootout attempts Saturday night to lead the Muskegon Lumberjacks to a 1-0 United States Hockey League victory over the Green Bay Gamblers.

Petruzzelli, a Quinnipiac recruit, remained hot after earning Team East Most Valuable Player honors at the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game earlier this month when he stopped all 21 shots he faced.

Will Smith — who scored the decisive goal — and Collin Adams were the only Muskegon players to score during the shootout. Brock Caufield connected for Green Bay.

Muskegon’s win was the first of two straight nights that the USHL had a game decided in the 10th round of a shootout.

The Youngstown Phantoms defeated the Bloomington Thunder 3-2 on Sunday when Dominick Dockery was the only player to score for either team in the shootout.

Austin Pooley scored two goals in regulation for the Phantoms.

NEW HOME: Mitch Walinski had just five points on the season when he joined the Bismarck Bobcats in December.

Fast-forward to Friday and Walinski had five points, including four goals, to lead the Bobcats to a 9-1 North American Hockey League rout of the Brookings Blizzard. He has 12 points in 11 games with his new team.

The Niagara University recruit had five points in 16 games with the Minnesota Wilderness earlier this season.  

CHANGES AHEAD: The USHL decided at its 2017 Winter Meetings in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to switch to a 3-on-3 format for overtime next season.

If neither team scores in the five-minute overtime, games will proceed to a best-of-three shootout.

The league will expand the Clark Cup Playoffs from eight to 12 teams for the 2017-18 season. The top two teams in each conference will receive first-round byes.

The league also adjusted its rules on imports to allow for an increase involving Canadian players. Teams will be allowed to have six imports, as long as two are Canadian, on their 23-man rosters.

COLLEGE COMMITMENTS: Jeff Solow made the midseason jump from the Amarillo Bulls of the NAHL to NCAA Division I hockey, joining Merrimack College at the semester break.

The Naples, Florida native started the season with the North Iowa Bulls of the North American 3 Hockey League. Merrimack made the quick in-season move to add the defenseman after a series of injuries.  

Solow had seven goals and 20 assists in 33 games with Amarillo this season.

Harrison Markell, a defenseman and assistant captain with the Boston Junior Bruins of the United States Premier Hockey League Premier Division, has committed to Dartmouth College for the fall of 2018.

Markell, a 19-year-old from Andover, Massachusetts, has a goal and 18 assists in 35 games in his second season with the team to help the Bruins to a 26-8-0 record.

ONE-TIMERS: Muskegon Lumberjacks forward Collin Adams is up to second in the USHL in goals (19) and points (38) after posting two goals and two assists in three weekend games. … Austin Kamer had five goals and an assist while going plus-4 when the Lone Star Brahmas won three more times to extend their winning streak to 10 games, the longest in the NAHL this season. … The New Jersey Rockets picked up back-to-back Eastern Hockey League Premier Division shutouts when Aaron Brickman made 27 saves in Saturday’s 1-0 win over the Connecticut Nighthawks and Tim Huxen followed with 35 in Sunday’s 6-0 romp over the Connecticut Oilers. … Brian Smith had back-to-back hat tricks in a nine-point weekend for the Valley Jr. Warriors in the EHL Elite Division.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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