Muskegon, Chicago win weekend finales

SOUTHAVEN, Miss – Two Sunday games wrapped up the weekend in the USHL, as Muskegon and Chicago claimed standings points with victories.

In Des Moines, the Lumberjacks headed back to Michigan with at least one victory in hand, thanks to Sunday’s 5-2 win over the Buccaneers in Iowa’s capital city.  The win was a huge one, as the Lumberjacks defeated Des Moines for the first time since joining the USHL four seasons ago.Muskegon Lumberjacks logo

The Lumberjacks had lost back-to-back wins in Sioux City on Friday and Saturday, so Sunday’s win was needed to make the trip west somewhat successful.  The three games were part of an eight-game road trip the Lumberjacks are now in the middle of.

The ‘Jacks took a 2-0 lead after one period, but the Bucs tied it up with a pair of their own in the second. However, Muskegon came back with a three-goal third period for the final 5-2 margin.

Three of Muskegon’s five goals were scored on the power play, including all three difference-makers in the third frame. Des Moines was scoreless in three power play changes.

Matt Iacopelli scored the game winner at 11:40 of the third period, then Robbie DeMontis and Christian Wolanin added insurance markers in the next three minutes after Iacopelli’s goal.

Iacopelli moved into a tied for sixth place in the USHL scoring race with 23 goals and 34 points. Iacopelli’s 23 goals are second to Tyler Vesel of Omaha in the goal-scoring race.

Cooper Marody also scored a goal and added two assists to pace the Lumberjack offense. Kevin Antipov and Marcel Godbout scored for Des Moines.

Between the pipes, Eric Schierhorn made 30 saves in posting the win in goal for Muskegon, while Billy Christopoulos took the loss with a 29-save performance for Des Moines.

Meanwhile in the Windy City, Robby Jackson’s power play goal nearly 13 minutes into the final period lifted Chicago to a 4-3 victory over Green Bay on the Steel’s home ice. The teams traded goals in the second period for a 3-3 tie, setting up Jackson’s final period heroics.Chicago Steel Logo

The Chicago win came despite a two-goal performance by Green Bay’s Dawson Cook, who scored in the first period to give the Gamblers a 2-1 lead, and then tied the game at 3-3 in the second.

Danny Fetzer scored a goal and added an assist for Chicago, which has now won three straight games.

Cale Morris earned the victory in goal for the Steel with 24 saves, while Cam Hackett took the loss for the Gamblers, stopping 33 shots on goal.

USHL alums to play for Olympic gold in Sochi:  USA Hockey announced the 25 NHL players that will be part of the U.S. Olympic Men’s Hockey Team in Sochi, Russia this February, and eight of the players are alumni of the USHL.

Among the eight graduates of the USHL are three that were part of the team for the 2010 Winter Olympics and won a silver medal – David Backes (Lincoln Stars) of the St. Louis Blues, Joe Pavelski (Waterloo Black Hawks) of the San Jose Sharks, and Paul Stastny (Omaha Lancers) of the Colorado Avalanche.

Backes and Pavelski both won the Clark Cup title with their respective teams while playing in the USHL. Six of the players were selected in the NHL Draft immediately following their USHL careers, including first-rounders T.J. Oshie (Sioux Falls Stampede) by the St. Louis Blues (2005) Max Pacioretty (Sioux City Musketeers) by the Montreal Canadiens (2007) and John Carlson (Indiana Ice) by the Washington Capitals (2008).

The eight USHL alumni on the team represent eight different USHL Member Clubs. The Olympic Team also includes Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter who recently became part of the ownership group for the Madison Capitols, the newest USHL team that will begin play in 2014-15.

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