SOUTHAVEN, Miss. – Keith Burchett’s first-period goal stood up for Sioux Falls in the Stampede’s 1-0 victory over the Fargo Force in one of two USHL games Sunday night. Burchett scored at 14:07 on a feed from Jason Stepanik.
Arthur Brey took the victory in net for the Stampede with a 24-save effort, and received praise from coach Cary Eades.
“Art Brey was outstanding in goal,” Eades said. “It was a real goaltenders duel, and we needed the two points.”
Brey earned his second shutout of the season.
Meanwhile, Cameron Johnson suffered the loss for Fargo despite making 35 saves.
Sioux Falls moved back into third place in the USHL Western Conference with 40 points (19-7-2). The Force fell to 5-19-2 for 12 points and have now lost eight in a row, dating back to Nov. 30.
In the night’s other contest, a three-goal second period powered the Muskegon Lumberjacks to a 5-3 USHL Eastern Conference victory over the Youngstown Phantoms Sunday evening.
Matt Iacopelli’s hat trick led the way for Muskegon, with his second goal of the middle period at 17:35 providing the game-winning goal. Iacopelli is now second in the USHL in goals scored with 19.
“I wasn’t planning on getting a hat trick. Every day I just go out there and try to score. Working hard pays off,” he told MLIve.com after the game.
Despite losing the contest, Youngstown outshot Muskegon 36-29 and held the victorious Lumberjacks to only three shots in the third period.
Muskegon goaltender Eric Schierhorn made 33 saves.
J.J. Piccinich and Maxim Letunov led the Youngstown offense in Sunday’s contest, each scoring a goal and adding an assist.
The Phantoms have now lost four straight, a streak dating back to Dec. 14 and have gone eight games without a victory, a skein that goes back to Nov. 24.
At the end of the weekend, Indiana leads the Eastern Conference standings with 36 points, three more than Dubuque, Team USA, and Green Bay, in second place with 33 points each.
Omaha holds first place in the Western Conference and leads in the race for the regular season Anderson Cup with 21 wins and 46 points (21-4-4). Waterloo is in second place in the West, five points behind the Lancers with a 20-5-1 record for 41 points. Sioux Falls is a close third with a 19-7-2 record for 40 points and Sioux City has moved into fourth place in the West with a 19-7-1 mark for 39 points.
Sioux City’s surge has come thanks to its current seven-game winning streak, while Indiana is on a five-game win skein.
Meanwhile, Fargo has lost eight in a row in its plummet to the bottom of the Western Conference standings. Dubuque and Youngstown have also struggled, each losing four straight.
Omaha has the top three scorers in the league, led by Jake Randolph with 14 goals and 38 assists for 52 points.
Cole Bruns of Omaha is the top goaltender in the league with a goals-against-average of 1.90, a USHL-leading seven shutouts, and a save percentage of .930.