SOUTHAVEN, Miss. – A double-dip of shutouts by Omaha Lancers’ goaltender Cole Bruns was among the highlights of the weekend in the USHL.
Bruns took his spot between the pipes in the Lancers’ home opener Friday, Sept. 28 and kept the Fargo Force from scoring in Omaha’s 5-0 victory.
The next night, Bruns and the Lancers went to Des Moines’ Buccaneer Arena and posted a 4-0 victory over the Bucs.
In the pair of wins, Bruns, a native of Prairie Grove, Ill., stopped a total of 36 shots on goal, including 19 in Saturday’s shut down of Des Moines.
Not a novice of the USHL, Bruns played three games with Cedar Rapids in the 2010-11 season, then went 8-8-0 with one shutout with Omaha last season.
He received offensive help last weekend from Jake Randolph and Gage Hough, who each scored a pair of goals. Randolph, a Duluth, Minn. native who is committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha, added a pair of assists in the Lancers’ first games of the regular season.
Dubuque goaltender Christian Frey also posted a shutout for the defending Clark Cup champions over the weekend. An Arlington, Tex. native, Frey stopped 20 Sioux City Musketeer shots on goal in the Saints’ 4-0 victory. Four separate players scored goals for Dubuque in the win, as the Fighting Saints moved to 4-0-0 for the young season.
Another goaltender came up big in his USHL debut Saturday night. Tri-City Storm goalie Jacob Johansson made 37 saves in the Storm’s 2-1 shootout victory over the Lincoln Stars. A native of Stockholm, Johansson joined the Storm in August after playing in the Swedish elite leagues last season.
The Tri-City win came with the team shorthanded. Nolan Gluchowski, Ryan McMurphy and Joey DeBenedetto all were serving one-game suspensions for being in a pre-season brawl with Des Moines.
Meanwhile, the Youngstown Phantoms earned its first victory of the season with a 3-2 overtime conquest of the Green Bay Gamblers Saturday afternoon at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown. Missing starter Sean Romero in net, backup Jake Moore came up big for the Phantoms.
Moore made 27 saves in the win to recover from last weekend’s effort when 16 goals were scored on him in two losses to Team USA.
“You felt like the win was coming,” Phantoms coach Anthony Noreen told the Youngstown Vindicator. “Obviously it wasn’t easy — it never is for this team, it seems like — but we just have a knack in this building, late in games, of making exciting things happen.”
Sioux Falls forward Zeb Knutson, who earned co-Forward of the Week honors with Team USA’s Ryan Hitchcock, continued his scoring streak last weekend with a goal in the Stampede’s 5-4 victory over Cedar Rapids. Knutson has eight goals and nine points in three Sioux Falls victories.
One of the new owners for the Muskegon Lumberjacks came to town as part of the Lumberjacks’ home owner Saturday night. The team didn’t disappoint, as the Lumberjacks provided majority owner Ron Friedman a 3-2 overtime victory over the Indiana Ice.
The ownership group behind the Lumberjacks includes former NHL goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck as general manager. Former NHL players who starred in the USHL Chris and Peter Ferraro also are involved in the ownership of the Lumberjacks.