Here's a look at the final weekend of the USHL Regular Season, and the opening weekend of the North American Hockey League Playoffs.
The United States Hockey League Regular Season came to an end last night and the main battle was for the 4th and Final Spot in the West Division. Going into the final weekend, Tri-City was a point ahead of the surging Sioux Falls Stampede as both teams went 2-0 on the final weekend, but since the Storm were able to win out, Tri-City has edged out the Sioux City Musketeers for the league's final playoff spot.
Tri-City knocked off Des Moines in a 1-0 grind it out win, then on Saturday it was a 5-2 win over Sioux Falls who was getting ready to play the Fargo Force in the Division Semifinals.
Sioux City used an offensive explosion over the final weekend outscoring both the Waterloo Blackhawks and the Lincoln Stars by a combined score of 17-5 in the two games. But since Tri-City won out, the Musketeers were edged out by a single point 64 to 63 in the standings. Tri-City has earned a tough opponent as they get an interstate matchup against the Omaha Lancers in the West Division Semifinals, while the Fargo Force who finished 2nd will get the Sioux Falls Stampede.
As the East Division was already set in stone as the Green Bay Gamblers will get the Waterloo Blackhawks while Cedar Rapids & Indiana will face off in the East Division Semifinals for the 2nd straight year. Last year Indiana bet the Roughriders in 5 games in route to the USHL Clark Cup Championship where they went on to beat the Green Bay Gamblers in the Division Final and the Fargo Force for the League Championship.
While the West Division schedule is being worked out, the East Division Semifinals will get underway on Wednesday Night with both series' getting underway that night. Can Indiana pull off another upset and win the title as a #3 seed again this year? If not, who can knock them off, if last year was any indication, it went the distance as the series went the full 5 games and it was very close throughout.
The NAHL had the opening weekend of the playoffs with some interesting results and a few surprises so far. The biggest so far were the Motor City Metal Jackets & Texas Tornado as both teams won both games on the road and are one win away from pulling off big upsets.
Among the teams that looked the most impressive were the Traverse City North Stars who were expecting a tough series against Janesville just smoked them with a 4 goal 2nd period that blew away the Jets in a 7-1 win. Then the next night saw Janesville just locked out of all aspects of the game, in addition to getting out-shot 37-18, the North Stars got 2 first period goals from Garrett Thompson and never looked back as the team won 4-0.
In all just 2 series' ended the weekend tied at 1-1 as the Owatonna Express VS. Alexandria Blizzard as both games ended in one goal results, including a 7-6 OT Win for Owatonna in Game 1. The South Division saw the Topeka Roadrunners comeback after losing 4-1 in Game 1, Topeka where the 7 goals come from 7 different players in a 7-2 win in Game 2 to tie the series.
A majority of the series will continue on April 9 for games 3-5 for most series as the 1st Round Winners are known and we will get an idea who will play for the Division Championships and advance to this year's NAHL Robertson Cup Championship in Wenatchee, Washington.
Here's this weekends Scores, Look for the Texas Tornado Game Stories and Boxscores up soon.
United States Hockey League
Cedar Rapids Roughriders 1 Youngstown Phantoms 4 (1-1, 0-3, 0-0)
Waterloo Blackhawks 2 Sioux City Musketeers 7 (1-2, 1-5, 0-0)
Indiana Ice 1 Green Bay Gamblers 4 (1-1, 0-1, 0-2)
USNTDP 0 Omaha Lancers 3 (0-1, 0-1, 0-1)
Lincoln Stars 2 Sioux Falls Stampede 4 (0-0, 2-2, 0-2)
Des Moines Buccaneers 0 Tri-City Storm 1 (0-1, 0-0, 0-0)
Fargo Force 4 Chicago Steel 6 (2-0, 1-3, 1-3)
USHL Friday Wrap Up: www.ushl.com/news/story.cfm?id=3159
Cedar Rapids Roughriders 4 Youngstown Phantoms 1 (0-0, 3-1, 1-0)
Lincoln Stars 3 Sioux City Musketeers 10 (2-3, 1-2, 0-5)
Fargo Force 1 Green Bay Gamblers 5 (0-0, 1-1, 0-4)
Des Moines Buccaneers 4 Omaha Lancers 5 (2-2, 1-2, 1-1)
Sioux Falls Stampede 2 Tri-City Storm 5 (0-3, 1-1, 1-1)
USNTDP 1 Waterloo Blackhawks 7 (0-3, 0-2, 1-2)
Indiana Ice 3 Chicago Steel 2 (1-0, 2-0, 0-2)
USHL Saturday Wrap Up: www.ushl.com/news/story.cfm?id=3160
USHL Division Semifinal Series' (All Series' are best of 5)
#1 Green Bay Gamblers VS. #4 Waterloo Blackhawks
#2 Cedar Rapids Roughriders VS. #3 Indiana Ice
#1 Omaha Lancers VS. #4 Tri-City Storm
#2 Fargo Force VS. #3 Sioux Falls Stampede
North American Hockey League Playoffs
Janesville Jets 1 Traverse City North Stars 7 (1-1, 0-4, 0-2)
Motor City Metal Jackets 5 Marquette Rangers 2 (2-1, 2-0, 1-1)
Alexandria Blizzard 6 Owatonna Express 7 (OT) (2-3, 2-2, 2-1, 0-1)
Springfield Jr. Blues 4 Topeka Roadrunners 1 (1-0, 1-1, 2-0)
Texas Tornado 3 St. Louis Bandits 2 (1-2, 2-0, 0-0)
Albert Lea Thunder 2 Bismarck Bobcats 4 (2-1, 0-1, 0-2)
Kenai River Brown Bears 2 Wenatchee Wild 5 (0-2, 1-1, 1-2)
Fairbanks Ice Dogs 2 Alaska Avalanche 1 (OT) (0-0, 1-0, 0-1, 1-0)
Janesville Jets 0 Traverse City North Stars 4 (0-2, 0-0, 0-2)
Motor City Metal Jackets 2 Marquette Rangers 1 (0-0, 0-1, 2-0)
Alexandria Blizzard 3 Owatonna Express 2 (1-0, 1-2, 1-0)
Springfield Jr. Blues 2 Topeka Roadrunners 7 (1-3, 1-3, 0-1)
Texas Tornado 3 St. Louis Bandits 2 (0-0, 2-0, 1-1)
Albert Lea Thunder 2 Bismarck Bobcats 8 (1-2, 0-4, 1-2)
Kenai River Brown Bears 2 Wenatchee Wild 5 (1-1, 1-2, 0-2)
Fairbanks Ice Dogs 6 Alaska Avalanche 4 (1-0, 4-1, 1-3)
Here's a look at the Series' update as all 8 of the matchups have played 2 games.
#1 Bismarck Bobcats VS. #4 Albert Lea Thunder: Bismarck Leads Series 2-0
#2 Owatonna Express VS. #3 Alexandria Blizzard: Series tied 1-1
#1 Marquette Rangers VS. #4 Motor City Metal Jackets: Motor City Leads Series 2-0
#2 Traverse City North Stars VS. #3 Janesville Jets: Traverse City Leads Series 2-0
#1 Topeka Roadrunners VS. #4 Springfield Jr. Blues: Series Tied 1-1
#2 St. Louis Bandits VS. #3 Texas Tornado: Texas Leads Series 2-0
#1 Wenatchee Wild VS. #4 Kenai River Brown Bears: Wenatchee Leads Series 2-0
#2 Alaska Avalanche VS. #3 Fairbanks Ice Dogs: Fairbanks Leads Series 2-0
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