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Nick Abruzzese Finishes as USHL’s Top Scorer

By Tom Robinson, 04/18/19, 3:30PM MDT

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Elsewhere in USHL, Clark Cup playoffs begin

Nick Abruzzese finished the regular season as the United States Hockey League leader in both assists and total points.

The 19-year-old Chicago Steel forward is a Harvard University commit from Slate Hill, New York. He scored eight goals in his last 13 games to finish with 29 goals and 51 assists in 62 games.

Abruzzese more than doubled his production from the year before when he had 13 goals and 23 assists in 56 games.

The Western Conference champion Tri-City Storm won the Anderson Cup as the league’s overall regular-season champion with a 45-12-3-2 record.

The Muskegon Lumberjacks won the Eastern Conference with a 41-17-3-1 record.

Chicago and Waterloo used second-place finishes to earn the other first-round byes in the 12-team playoffs.

CLARK CUP: The USHL opened its Clark Cup playoffs and three teams immediately advanced with two-game sweeps by taking games Monday and Tuesday.

The Dubuque Fighting Saints, Des Moines Buccaneers and Cedar Rapids RoughRiders moved into the conference semifinals.

Dubuque finished off the Youngstown Phantoms 3-2 in overtime Tuesday on a goal by captain Willie Knierim.

Des Moines also completed its series with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Fargo Force.

The Buccaneers overcame two Fargo shorthanded goals to win on Michael Mancinelli’s goal 15:37 into overtime. Matt Brown scored a shorthanded goal of his own for Des Moines, then forced overtime with a second goal early in the third period.

Brown finished the series with three goals and an assist. Teammate Jonny Russell had two goals and an assist.

Cedar Rapids eliminated USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, 6-3 and 7-2.

The Sioux Falls Stampede eliminated the Sioux City Musketeers with a pair of one-goal wins, 2-1 and 3-2.

EARLY TESTS: The Amarillo Bulls lost just eight times, the lowest total in the North American Hockey League, during the regular season.

The South Division champion Bulls, however, dropped their first two games in the Robertson Cup playoffs and will need three straight wins to get past the Corpus Christi IceRays in the division semifinals.

Johnstown lost just nine times while finishing first overall, but the Northeast Division champions dropped one of their first two to the Northeast Generals and are even in the best-of-five series going into road games Wednesday and Thursday.

Corpus Christi won both Friday and Saturday by 6-5 scores. The Saturday win came in overtime.

The IceRays overcame a pair of three-goal deficits and a Gabriel Seger hat trick in the series opener. Che Landikusic scored a pair of third-period goals, including the game-winner.

Kyle Moore completed his hat trick 1:17 into overtime to create the 2-0 series lead.

Amarillo had scored twice in the last 2:44 of regulation to erase a 5-3 deficit and force overtime.

Louis Boudon scored all four goals for the Generals in Saturday’s 4-3 game two victory to even the series.

Roman Kraemer had two goals and an assist when Johnstown won the opener 4-1 on Friday.

ROBERTSON ROUNDUP: Of the eight division semifinals, five feature teams off to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five.

The Aberdeen Wings and Minot Minotauros in the Central Division both lead 2-0.

The Jamestown Rebels, in the East, and Fairbanks Ice Dogs, in the Midwest, have the other 2-0 leads.

Matt Vernon made 27 saves in the opener for Aberdeen, which defeated the Austin Bruins 2-1 and 6-2.

Minot defeated the Bismarck Bobcats 5-1 and 5-3. Nick Grabko made 35 saves in the first game. Andrew Kangas scored twice and Willmer Skoog had three assists in the second game.

Jim Glynn, in the opener, and Alex Frye, in the second game, had two-goal efforts as Jamestown defeated the New Jersey Titans 5-3 and 4-1.

Mattias Sholl had a 26-save shutout to open the playoffs for Fairbanks, which defeated the Janesville Jets 2-0 and 4-1. Sholl had 22 saves in Game 2.

The Shreveport Mudbugs-Lone Star Brahmas series in the South and the Springfield Junior Blues and Minnesota Magicians in the Midwest are tied 1-1.

Nick Techel scored on a rebound 4:30 into overtime to produce the road win that tied the series for Springfield.

COLLEGE COMMITMENT: Cam Babiak, a defenseman and the team captain for the NAHL’s Brookings Blizzard, announced his commitment to Bowling Green.

The 19-year-old from Saline, Michigan, had 11 points in 46 games in his recently completed third NAHL season.

COACHING CHANGE: Kevin Murdock has been named head coach of the NAHL’s Kenai River Brown Bears.

Murdock spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach with the NA3HL’s North Iowa Bulls.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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