SOUTHAVEN, Miss. – Some news and notes around the USHL as the regular season’s end draws near.
BUCCANEERS NAME HALL OF FAMERS – The Des Moines Buccaneers are not heading into the upcoming postseason Anderson Cup playoffs this season. The Bucs’ 19-27-7 record has them in sixth place in the USHL Western Conference standings.
But, Des Moines has seen some dominating days with some elite talent playing inside the venerable building now known as Buccaneer Arena during 34 years as a franchise.
The team’s Hall of Fame recently added five new members to recognize past Buccaneers who helped make the team one of the league’s all-time bests.
Among the new inductees is Kyle Okposo, now an integral part of the National Hockey League’s New York Islanders.
Okposo played one season in Des Moines, but he was there long enough to lead the Bucs to a Clark Cup championship in 2006.
Kyle went from the Buccaneers to the University of Minnesota and jumped into the pros after two seasons with the Golden Gophers.
The Islanders made him the seventh overall selection in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and he has become one of the top U.S.-born players in the NHL.
Another current player in the NHL was also chosen to the Bucs’ Hall of Fame in Jeff Petry, who now is with the Edmonton Oilers.
Petry was with Okposo on the 2006 Clark Cup title team, earned league honors and was the 2006-07 USA Hockey Junior Player of the Year.
Petry played three years of college hockey at Michigan State before turning pro.
Other new members of the Hall of Fame are original Buccaneer Myles Hart, along with Matt Carney and Chad Rau.
RECORD-SETTING BLACK HAWKS – Nearing the end of the USHL regular season, the Waterloo Black Hawks are closing in on a Western Conference championship and have the inside edge on the regular season Anderson Cup.
At the same time, Waterloo is rewriting several pages of its team record book.
A 7-2 decision on the road at Des Moines Sunday helped the team tie two franchise marks.
One record is for victories in a season at 39, a record first set in the 2006-07 season and tied last year.
Sunday’s victory was also the team’s 19th road victory, which tied a team record for wins on enemy ice first set last year.
WINDY CITY D-MAN BLOWS ON TO COLORADO COLLEGE – Mason Bergh has announced his plans to play college hockey at Colorado College.
The Chicago Steel defenseman said it was easy to make the choice after he made his official visit.
“When I arrived on campus, I had the immediate feeling that this was the right place for me,” Bergh told USHL.com. “I love the area, I loved the coaching staff, the mountains are awesome, and the campus is great. To get a good education is very important and CC will provide that for me.”
The native of Eden Prairie, Minn. played two games with Waterloo last season and joined the Steel after being selected 21st overall in Phase Two of the 2013 USHL Draft.
Bergh has picked up his offense over the last several games, recording 14 of his 21 points over the last ten contests for the Steel.
LANCER GOALIE TO BE A FRIAR – Omaha goaltender Hayden Hawkey has announced his commitment to continue his hockey at Providence College when his junior career is done.
“I’m excited, but it’s also a feeling of relief,” Hawkey told USHL.com. “Knowing that I’m going to a great program with great coaching, [Providence] is going to be an unreal place for my development, to grow as a person, a student and a hockey player.”
The Parker, Colo. native has had a stellar rookie season in the USHL. Hawkey has the top goals-against-average in the USHL at 1.85. His save percentage is also the best in the league at .929. He won his first seven starts for the Lancers and had a 22-save shutout in his second-ever USHL start, a 2-0 victory over Tri-City on Oct. 26.