It is always exciting covering prospects from the USHL. Draft evaluations begin to take over this time of year. However, there is always time for the latest from the league. Overall, it was a month of great plays, saves, and more.
Two things stood out in the last month. One is that we are a month closer to the NHL Draft and the other is the top-notch performances. However, we lead off with something a little different.
A hat tip to Dubuque
This month’s “Main Event” is a focus on the Dubuque Fighting Saints and their version of “Hockey Is For Everyone”. The idea mirrored the NHL initiative though Dubuque made it more of a small town feel for its people and its sponsors.
The best part about initiatives like this is how many people become involved. Danielle Peterson, head of the United Way in Dubuque added this:
“You couldn’t find two better brands in Dubuque than John Deere and the Fighting Saints, so we’re ecstatic to partner with both of them,” Peterson said. “Their partnership will help us share our message to a whole new segment of the community that perhaps isn’t exposed to United Way.”
These are events which bring communities closer together. The Fighting Saints tapped into a support which keeps growing. Defenseman Jacob Semik expanded on the inclusionary month:
“When you come here, you know there’s a huge responsibility to give back to the community, which you really should do. Any little piece we can do to promote or raise awareness for causes like ‘Hockey for All,’ we’re happy to do it. And we’re glad to have an organization behind us that gives us the opportunity to do so.”
This is a way for Dubuque to get to know the people of its town and vice versa. The off-ice image is important to Dubuque because of its small-town feel. Most players strive towards success on and off the ice and their community supports the Fighting Saints to its fullest.
More News and Notes
A name to keep an eye on is Ronnie Attard. Attard is a bruising defenseman who combines some offensive talent as well. Allard had 15 points on the month for the Tri-City Storm. The 210-pound defenseman has 48 points in 39 games, including a league-leading 24 goals. Attard fired 33 shots on net during just eight games on the month. The soon to be 20-year-old has caught the attention of scouts from AHL teams looking to add a big body with a booming shot. Expectations will only rise going forward with Attard and if February was any indication, he will exceed them.
Nick Abruzzese and Blake Pietela rounded out our USHL Players of the Month. Abruzzese had 12 points in nine games which included five goals to lift his goal total over the 20-goal plateau. He has 66 points now on the year in 50 games. The forward is in his second full season with Chicago and the native New Yorker now averages 1.32 points per game which leads the USHL. Also, Abruzzese is a Harvard commit in the Fall and turns 20 in the summer. As for Pietela, the Cedar Rapids goalie won seven of his eight starts during the month of February. The Cedar Rapids goalie is now 22-11-2-1 on the season. That includes yielding just 12 goals in those eight starts. He added another shutout at the beginning of the month against Dubuque. Pietela now ranks in the top-six in the USHL in goals against average, wins, and save percentage.
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.