With the start of the United States Hockey League coming up on October 1. The last of today's 3 Junior Schedules is the USHL Fall Showcase which will be taking place in Sioux City, Iowa starting tomorrow and going through Saturday where each team will play 3 games in 4 days as the 60 Game Regular Season gets underway at the beginning of next month.
United States Hockey League
Like the WHL, they are numerous Southwest Players that will be either making their Junior Debut or will be looking to sharpen their play as a couple of players have committed their NCAA Careers over the off-season.
Perhaps the biggest name will be Seth Jones who is being highly regarded for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft as he will be making his Junior Debut this season as he will be joining the USNTDP U17 Team which will be playing a little over of the USHL Schedule as the NTDP U17 & U18 Teams make up the season for the USHL.
In addition to the NTDP U17 Season, they will play in 3 different international events, the biggest of which is the U17 World Challenge that will be in Winnipeg, Manitoba during the Winter Holidays.
He's being looked upon as a speedy defensemen who can possibly join the attack at times and will be looking to have an outside chance of making the U18 Team for the U18 World Championship, as USA Hockey elects to have a majority of players from the NTDP which has had great results including back-to-back U18 World Championships the last 2 seasons when the tournament heads to Germany coming up in April.
Even though a majority of the players come from the U18 Team, the U17 Team in recent years has been more competitive in getting more players to the team for the U18 World Championships. Being a big time 2012 NHL Draft Prospect, it would be a huge statement to prospective NHL Teams for him to have a big U17 World Challenge during the Holidays and make the U18 World Championship this season.
Two other players that have already committed, but returning to the USHL are Ryan Daugherty of the Omaha Lancers & Ian Young of the Chicago Steel. Daugherty is returning to a Lancers team that is looking to get to the Clark Cup after coming within 1 win of making the Title Series and winning the championship for the 2nd time in 3 years.
Over his 2 years with Omaha, he's tallied 50 points in 99 career USHL Games and increased the amount of PP Time big time by scoring 9 PP Goals last year.
He's also not afraid to hit on the ice as he nearly doubled his penalty total from 52 in 2008 to 110 last season. Coach Bliss Littler is wants him to be a Steve Ott or Loui Eriksson type player with the ability to score some important goals in-and-around the net, and being able to bring the pain physically as well.
Daugherty is committed to play for Northern Michigan starting in 2011, it was widely believed that he was going to start his college career this year and join follow Texans C.J. Ludwig & Erik Higby this year but look for that to happen next year.
After starting last year with the Wichita Falls Wildcats (NAHL) he was called up to the Chicago Steel to bring a big booming slap shot and get pucks to the forwards in the net. Young over the off-season committed to Colorado College, but didn't decide to comeback to Chicago till midsummer.
For Young last year, his biggest moment came in his USHL Debut where he scored his first of just 2 goals. But had a great year overall by drawing penalties and contributing a dozen assists during his 31 games last year with the Steel who failed to make the playoffs as the team finished 10 points back of the Waterloo Blackhawks for the final playoff spot in the East Division last season.
Young looks to be more aggressive this year with his ability to play very fast, he's looking to increase his scoring ability and impress Colorado College Head Coach that he can be a big time player when he arrives in the WCHA in 2011.
Other Southwest Players to watch this season are Jeff Mcminimy of the Lincoln Stars who was the Leading Scorer for the Dallas Stars Midget Majors last year. Seth Johnson who's a fast defensemen who's like Ian Young in some instances who can join in on the attack and some think that with a strong early part of the season.
Some experts are thinking that they can maybe have a shot of making Team USA for the World Jr. A Challenge which will be taking place in Pentiction, B.C. coming up in Mid-November as the USA has won this event the last two years. Last year the USA won the event for the 2nd straight year the Americans beat Canada West in a closely fought 2-1 game.
As for players who are on the fringes and that need a strong Showcase to make the team include Teemu Tiitinen who's a Finnish Native but played for the Dallas Stars Elites last year and Ryan Hope who's with the Tri-City Storm right now.
Josh Berge who's another OKC Product who's looking to continue the surprising success of players from that area such as Matt Donovan (2008 NHL Draft Pick with NYI/U. of Denver). And Chase Grant who was with the Fargo Force as he committed to Minnesota State University last year. He will look to continue the success of OKC Players in both the USHL, NAHL & the NCAA.
In addition to Southwest Based Players, Waterloo will have the Dallas Stars 3rd Round Draft Pick Alex Guptill who was taken 77th overall while playing for the Orangeville Crushers of the Central Canadian Hockey League (CCHL).
While he was with Orangeville last year, he had 26 points (13G 13A) in 19 games after he got traded from the Brampton back in December, during his time with the Brampton Capitals, where he had 11 points in 10 games early on in the season.
Here's the Player Profile Links
Ryan Daugherty (Omaha Lancers)
Ian Young (Chicago Steel)
Teemu Tiitinen (Youngstown Phantoms)
Seth Jones (USNTDP)
Josh Berge (Lincoln Stars)
Jeff Mcminimy (Lincoln Stars)
Alex Guptill (Waterloo Blackhawks)
Here's the United States Hockey League Divisional Alignment.
East Division: Cedar Rapids Roughriders, Chicago Steel, Green Bay Gamblers, Indiana Ice, Muskegon Lumberjacks, USNTDP, Waterloo Blackhawks, Youngstown Phantoms
West Division: Des Moines Buccaneers, Dubuque Fighting Saints, Fargo Force, Lincoln Stars, Omaha Lancers, Sioux City Musketeers, Sioux Falls Stampede, Tri-City Storm
Here's the Schedule for the USHL Fall Showcase
Sioux Falls Stampede VS. Des Moines Buccaneers 1:00 PM
Omaha Lancers VS. Dubuque Fighting Saints 2:00 PM
Cedar Rapids Roughriders VS. Lincoln Stars 4:00 PM
Chicago Steel VS. Fargo Force 6:00 PM
Tri-City Storm VS. Sioux City Musketeers 7:00 PM
Fargo Force VS. Muskegon Lumberjacks 10:00 AM
Youngstown Phantoms VS. Cedar Rapids Roughriders 10:00 AM
Waterloo Blackhawks VS. Chicago Steel 1:00 PM
Des Moines Buccaneers VS. Indiana Ice 2:00 PM
Tri-City Storm VS. Dubuque Fighting Saints 4:00 PM
Lincoln Stars VS. Green Bay Gamblers 6:00 PM
USNTDP VS. Omaha Lancers 7:00 PM
Waterloo Blackhawks VS. Indiana Ice 10:00 AM
Tri-City Storm VS. Des Moines Buccaneers 10:00 AM
Chicago Steel VS. Green Bay Gamblers 1:00 PM
Fargo Force VS. Cedar Rapids Roughriders 2:00 PM
Youngstown Phantoms VS. Sioux Falls Stampede 4:00 PM
Muskegon Lumberjacks VS. Dubuque Fighting Saints 6:00 PM
USNTDP VS. Sioux City Musketeers 7:00 PM
Sioux Falls Stampede VS. Indiana Ice 10:00 AM
USNTDP VS. Waterloo Blackhawks 11:00 AM
Youngstown Phantoms VS. Green Bay Gamblers 1:00 PM
Muskegon Lumberjacks VS. Lincoln Stars 4:00 PM
Omaha Lancers VS. Sioux City Musketeers 7:00 PM
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