Gamblers’ Lalonde to coach World Challenge team

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. – USA Hockey this week announced that Green Bay Gamblers’ coach Derek Lalonde will serve as head coach of the U.S. Junior Select Team and will be part of an all-USHL coaching staff for the international tournament held this year in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia Nov. 4-10.

Assistant coaches for the team will be Youngstown Phantoms’ head coach Anthony Noreen and Sioux City Musketeers’ assistant coach Mark Alaban.

Derek Lalonde

Derek Lalonde, image courtesy of Green Bay Gamblers

Lalonde is in this third season as coach and general manager of the Gamblers.  He served last fall as an assistant coach for Team USA as it went 4-0-0 enroute to the World Junior A Challenge championship.  Team USA has won four of the last five tournaments.

He led the Gamblers to the USHL regular season (Anderson Cup) and post-season (Clark Cup) championships in 2011-12.

Six countries take part in the annual event.  The Americans have an exhibition game scheduled with Canada West on Nov. 2 before starting the tournament against Russia on Nov. 5.

The roster of 22 players for the tournament will be announced at a later date.

McHUGH COMMITS:  First-year forward Max McHugh of the defending Clark Cup champion Dubuque Fighting Saints will be heading down south to play his college hockey.  McHugh, a native of Edgewood, Wash., has committed to play at the University of Alabama-Huntsville next season.

McHugh, 20, has an assist and the plus-three rating as the Saints have started the year 3-0-0.  He also contributed to Dubuque’s bronze-medal finish at the Junior Club World Cup in Russia in August with two goals in four games.

Prior to Dubuque, McHugh played three seasons with the Wenatchee Wild of the NAHL, under former Topeka/Tri-City/Omaha coach Bliss Littler.  He was one of that league’s top scorers last season and tied for the NAHL lead in game-winning goals with eight.

Alabama-Huntsville nearly ended its hockey season before last year, but support stepped up to keep it going in the north Alabama city.  This season, the Chargers are competing in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and have five former USHL players on the roster.  Head coach Mike Corbett also has a USHL connection as he played for the old Madison Capitols from 1990-92 and was an assistant coach with the Sioux Falls Stampede in 2001-02.

RECORD SETTING START:  We’ll see if the Omaha Lancers can keep a record-setting pace going as they start weekend play Friday night against Western Conference leader Sioux Falls at Ralston Arena.

Omaha and goaltender Cole Bruns has fashioned three straight shutouts to start the season and the team is two points behind the Stampede in the standings.  The last victory came at the expense of the Stampede in Sioux Falls’ home opener last Friday night.

The Lancers have tied an all-time USHL record for consecutive shutouts by a team and an individual.  It also set a new league and Omaha standard in both categories to start the season.  It is the team’s best start to a regular season since 2009-10.

On the offensive side, Omaha’s Jake Randolph and Tyler Vesel are among the top scorers in the USHL. Both have committed to Nebraska-Omaha for their college hockey careers.

Sioux Falls has been a streaking team, as well.  In Friday’s tilt on the Lancers’ home ice, Sioux Falls will put at risk a perfect 4-0-0 road mark to start their year.  Win number four was a 2-1 overtime victory over I-29 rival Sioux City on Saturday at the Tyson Events Center.

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