USHL Report – May 2019

Chris Wassel

2019-05-10

USHL Logo - photo courtesy: sbncollegehockey.com

 

 

USHL Report – May 2019

 

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.

 

The playoffs continue as the Clark Cup Final gets underway this weekend between the Chicago Steel and Sioux City Stampede. We preview the “Final” and look at the notable events from the last month including the USHL Draft.

 

 

Clark Cup Final Preview

 

The playoffs are always a different animal and this year was no different. One thing with the USHL Playoffs most forget is that the first-round (those with no bye) is a best of three format. Every other series after is a best of five. It throws off the numbers a bit sometimes. Sioux Falls just missed out on the bye but benefit by playing in the tougher conference. They wound up with more points than Chicago and therefore have home ice advantage.

 

Sioux Falls dispatched Sioux City quickly then polished off Waterloo in four games. After that, it was a painless sweep of Tri-City and here they are. Chicago did get a first-round bye and defeated both Cedar Rapids and Muskegon in four games to advance to the final. Games 1. 2, and 5 are in Sioux Falls while 3 and 4 are in Chicago. Games 3 and 4 are on back to back nights.

 

The season series was taken 2-0 by Sioux Falls. Both meetings were high scoring as they defeated Chicago 8-6 and 7-4 respectively. Nick Abruzzese leads the way in scoring among the two teams with 13 points. That includes seven goals in just eight games! Max Crozer tops defensemen with ten points in nine games for Sioux Falls (three goals, seven assists).

 

Max Crozier has seen his stock go upward and is now ranked 85th among North American skaters. His point plus a game performance in the playoffs has raised a few more eyes. Crozier is a Providence commit come the Fall. Crozier gained some weight in the last year and that has been noticed by some scouts along with a little more scoring punch. The combine will be intriguing for him and Abruzzese.

 

As we go back to Abruzzese for a second, he scored 29 goals and 51 assists during the season and was known more for playmaking even though he has a well above average repertoire of shots. He is eligible to be drafted and ranked 122nd among North American skaters. His strong showing may make him a late second-day pick as his stock keeps rising slowly. He may be small according to some, but the Harvard commit is tenacious on pucks and his speed is well above average. The forward is a main reason why most pundits do not think this will be a Sioux Falls cakewalk.