USHL Report – January, 2018
It is great to be back covering even more prospects from the USHL. The Top Prospects Game was as fun as advertised. There was also a memorable WJC for Team USA which just did not end quite like anyone expected. Overall, it was a month of great plays, saves, and more.
Two things stood out in the last month. One was the slight surprise in the WJC for Team USA and the other was Robert Mastrosimone from the prospects game.
The WJC – Team USA
Anyone who is anyone will be eager to see what Jack Hughes brings to the table in this tournament. Hughes enjoyed a solid tournament marred a little by what many believe to be a minor groin injury. He did play at a point a game level and was a game changer. Spencer Knight did not get to make an impact in this tournament, but the expectation is that he will in 2020. His poise and presence are two big pluses that do not go unnoticed.
The silver medial Team USA earned was one rung short of their goal. Give Finland full credit for how they played and were able to fend off five power plays from a team that was number one in the tournament going into the gold medal game. The Americans came back from a two goal deficit only to see Finland win it late in regulation. It was quite the tournament.
The Main Event – The Top Prospects Game
Now, every year, this is one of those games looked forward to and for good reason. The USHL Top Prospects Game is full of fast pace and typically goals. This years game was no exception as Team West topped Team East by a score of 5-3.
The first almost 13 minutes featured no goals and that was a bit of a surprise. Team West then scored twice in 90 seconds to take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. Jack Malone tallied a nice goal off a great feed by Matt Brown.
Jack Malone goal to make it 2-0 Team West.
These games often have a ton of scoring chances that are sometimes even better for the ones that miss as opposed to the goals. It was fun to watch the at times frenetic pace and just enjoy the young prospects. Team West scored again early in the second period to make it 3-0 before Team East eventually got on the board.
After that, Robert Mastrosimone took over. It was not enough for Team East to win but the forward was noticeable all over the ice during the second half of the game. It was more than just the fact that he scored twice. It was the speed and agility he showed that caught a lot of eyes in the audience. Unofficially, Mastrosimone had at least four scoring chances and three of them were of the high danger variety.
Team West would hold on to win 5-3 but a key part of the game that may have been overlooked was the play of Isaiah Saville in net (Tri-City Storm). The Storm starting goaltender stopped 10 of 11 shots but it was this one that will be talked about.
Saville sprawling save.
The presence of mind to spread and turn like that was impressive. That looked like a sure goal which was denied by Saville. He appeared every bit like the best goalie on the night and his performance over the last month or so has been much improved.
More News And Notes
A name to keep an eye on is Jack Malone. Malone had six points this week including a hat trick in a 5-3 win over Sioux City. The Youngstown forward is a Madison, NJ native who will play for Cornell University next year. Not surprisingly, he scored a highlight reel goal in the Top Prospects Game as well this week. It seems hard to believe he was not too well regarded coming into the USHL and leaves now with a real shot at making an impact for Cornell.
James Maroney and Aaron Randazzo rounded out the USHL Players Of The Week. Maroney had four points in three games which included his first goal of the season. He has 12 points now on the year. The defenseman is in his second full season with Waterloo and starting to become more assertive offensively. As for Randazzo, the Dubuque goalie only started in one game this week, but it was a good one. He stopped 25 of 26 shots in the win and is now 5-2 on the season. This is his first full season in the USHL and will be one to follow in the coming months and years.
That is all for now. You can follow me on Twitter @ChrisWasselDFS for the latest hockey and hockey prospect news. See you next month with the latest from the USHL.