Randolph, Vesel dominate USHL scoring

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. – The top two scorers in the United States Hockey League continue to be Omaha’s Jake Randolph and Tyler Vesel, as most USHL teams have reached the 40-game mark in the regular season.

Randolph leads the league in points with 67 and Vesel is second in that category with 64.

There’s quite a steep drop in points after that, as Kyle O’Connor of Youngstown is third in scoring with 50.Omaha Lancewrs logo

Vesel leads the USHL in goals scored with 31 and Randolph is the league leader in assists with 49.

Vesel, a Rochester, Minn. native committed to Nebraska-Omaha, has scored goals in the last six games and has provided the Lancers points in the team’s last six contests, four of which ended in Lancer victories.

The streak included goals in two victories last weekend, a 7-1 win over Sioux Falls Friday night and a 7-3 victory over Lincoln on Saturday. The two wins stretched Omaha’s current win streak to three games, which is now tied with Indiana for the longest active win streak in the USHL.

Randolph, a Duluth, Minn. native who is also committed to play college hockey at Nebraska-Omaha, has his own scoring streak continuing for the Lancers.

He has a five-game point streak underway and has a two-game goal scoring run going, netting goals and adding assists in each of last weekend’s victories.

Meanwhile at the goal line, Waterloo, Iowa native Cal Petersen remains the league leader in goaltending victories with 23 wins for his hometown Black Hawks.

The Notre Dame commit who was picked by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft has ridden the Black Hawks’ recent success on the ice to a 23-3-2 record, winning 12 straight games before an overtime loss Saturday to Dubuque stopped the ‘Hawks’ 16-game winning streak.

Petersen was also tagged with the defeat Sunday in Waterloo’s 4-2 loss to Sioux Falls.

Petersen’s 23 wins are two more than he earned all of last season. He has 47 career victories in 63 starts during his three-year Waterloo career.

Sunday’s loss to Sioux Falls stopped Waterloo’s 23-game streak of games without a regulation time loss.

Waterloo holds a two-point lead over Omaha for the top spot in the USHL’s Western Conference and for the regular season Anderson Cup title.

In the Eastern Conference, Indiana has a three-game winning streak going following Sunday’s 2-0 shutout win at Youngstown. Patrick Newell’s first-period goal was the difference in the contest, although Tyler Pham added an empty-net tally in the final 41 seconds of the contest.

Goaltender Hayden Stewart earned the shutout with a 34-save performance at the pipes for Indiana. Stewart has now won his last five decisions and has allowed only three goals in those five victories.

The Ice have a seven-point lead for first place in the Eastern Conference. Dubuque, the team that stopped the Waterloo win streak Friday night, is in second place in the East with Cedar Rapids in third, one point behind the defending champion Fighting Saints.

After a 4-3 shootout loss to Indiana on Friday, the RoughRiders hit the road and handed Green Bay a 2-1 shootout defeat on Saturday, and on Sunday beat the Steel in Chicago 4-2.

ETC: The National Team Development Program teams from USA Hockey have stepped away from USHL competition to take part in the Five Nations International Tournament. Both came away with championships over the weekend.

In Sundsvall, Sweden, the NTDP Under-17 team from the United States defeated Sweden 4-1 to claim the title in their division with a 4-0-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record.

Zach Werenski and Auston Matthews each scored a pair of goals in the final contest.

Luke Opilka stopped 25 shots in the win for the U.S.

Meanwhile in Dmitrov, Russia, the NTDP Under-18’s claimed their Five Nations Tournament title with a 3-2 victory over the Czech Republic, and also went unbeaten in the event.

Brandon Fortunato scored the game-winning goal in the final game for Team USA. Edwin Minney stopped 20 shots at the goal line for the Americans against the Czechs.

The Under 17 team returns to USHL action next weekend against Chicago on Feb. 14, while the Under 18’s have a game Feb. 21 at Bowling Green before getting back into USHL play at Indiana Feb. 22-23.

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