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Sioux City Goes Atop USHL’s Western Conference

02/09/2017, 1:00pm MST
By Tom Robinson - Special to USA Hockey

Pospisil scores on overtime penalty shot in deciding game

The Sioux City Musketeers used a 3-2 overtime victory over the Omaha Lancers Tuesday night to take over sole possession of the United States Hockey League Western Conference lead.

Kristian Pospisil scored his second goal of the game on a penalty shot late in overtime to produce the win.

Brian Rigali added a second-period goal to give the Musketeers a 2-0 lead before the Lancers rallied.

Pierce Crawford scored with 1:29 left in regulation to force overtime.     

Sioux City is 24-8-5-2 for a two-point lead over the Waterloo Black Hawks, who are 7-0-1-0 in the last eight games for a 25-12-1-2 record. The Musketeers have produced standings points in the last six games, going 4-0-1-1.

USHL RANKINGS: The Chicago Steel went 5-3-0-0 in January and went into the final two months of the regular season as the top-ranked team in the usahockeymagazine.com Power Rankings for February.

The Steel started the month with a three-point lead at the top of the Eastern Conference and entire USHL to hold down the top position.

The Dubuque Fighting Saints, who have since overtaken the Steel for first place in the Eastern Conference, moved up from fourth to second.

Dubuque went 8-1-0-1 during the month with the help of Zach Solow stretching his point-scoring streak to 20 games before it was broken one game shy of the league’s Tier 1 era record. Solow leads the league with 32 assists and 42 points in 34 games.

Colin Theisen has his second hat trick of the season, along with an assist, Feb. 2 in a 5-2 win over the Sioux Falls Stampede. Theisen, who had seven goals in January, is third in the league in scoring with 23 goals and 17 assists.          

Goalie Jaxon Castor won six times in January to take the USHL lead with 21.

The Sioux City Musketeers slipped a spot to third in the poll.

The Muskegon Lumberjacks went 7-2-0-1 in January and climbed from eighth to fourth.

GOALIE PROMOTION: Josh Benson is playing well for the Fairbanks Ice Dogs of the North American Hockey League since getting a promotion from the North American 3 Hockey League’s North Iowa Bulls.

Benson is 8-3 with a 1.56 goals against average and .935 save percentage in the NAHL.  

The 19-year-old from Stillwater, Minnesota, is the latest NAHL Midwest Division Star of the Week after winning all three starts in a sweep of the Kenai River Brown Bears to lift the Ice Dogs into fourth place in the division.

Benson had two straight shutouts, giving him three with Fairbanks. He stopped 73 of 75 shots in the series.

BOUNCE BACK: Andrew Bechard got the Vermont Lumberjacks right back to their winning ways in the Eastern Hockey League Elite-19 Division.

Vermont, which had a 10-game winning streak earlier in the season, had an 11-game streak snapped in overtime.

Bechard then provided four goals and three assists in a 6-3, 4-1 sweep of the Boston Junior Rangers to improve the Lumberjacks to 13-0-1 in the last 14 games.

Vermont is 28-4-2 to lead the North Conference.

COLLEGE COMMITMENT: Coale Norris, a forward for the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL, has committed to play at Ferris State University.

The 19-year-old from Oxford, Massachusetts has six goals and six assists in 41 games.

ONE-TIMERS: The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights became the fourth team to clinch an NAHL playoff berth. … Sean Lincoln had a 35-save shutout to lift the Valley Junior Warriors over the Boston Junior Rangers, 2-0, in an Eastern Hockey League Premier Division game. … Kyle Van Wagner made 40 saves to lead the Coastal Division-leading Long Beach Sharks to a 2-1 overtime victory over the New England Stars, clinching an NA3HL playoff berth. … The North Iowa Bulls and Binghamton Junior Senators have joined the Metro Jets in clinching NA3HL divisional titles. … The Florida Junior Blades swept the Daytona Racers to improve to 39-1-0 and clinch the United States Premier 3 Hockey League regular-season title with five games still to play.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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