Kearney, NE – It was a wild weekend between the Tri-City Storm (27-18-1-2) and Team USA (32-12-0-1). A total of 24 goals were scored between the two clubs. Team USA lit the lamp 17 times, scoring 8 goals on Saturday and 9 more on Sunday (each by a different player). Top 2019 NHL draft prospect, Jack Hughes of Team USA showed The Storm why he is ranked 1st overall with a 7 point weekend (5 goals/2 assists). Connor Hopkins started both nights for Tri-City and finished the weekend with 52 saves on 69 shots for a .754 save percentage.
Tri-City came out flying and were able to control the game for a little over half of the 1st period. Jack Hughes buried his 11th of the season to open the scoring for Team USA, 15:42 into the game. Assists were credited to Oliver Wahlstrom and Mattias Samuelsson. Jake Wise scored a late goal (4th of season), unassisted, to give Team USA a 2-0 lead. Team USA carried their 2 goal lead into the 2nd period, while out shooting The Storm 13-7.
Only one word can explain the 2nd period: chaos. There were 7 total goals scored and 11 penalties totaling 56 minutes. Team USA’s Jack Hughes notched his 2nd of the night, and game winner, just 50 seconds in. Assists were credited to Jonathan Gruden and Bode Wilde. Jonathan Gruden added his own goal (10th of season) at the 4:28 mark. Assists were credited to Mattias Samuelsson (2nd assist of game) and Jack Hughes (3rd point of game). Shortly after the Gruden goal, Tyler Madden of The Storm opened the penalty flood gates with a 10 minute game misconduct for abuse of official. Tri-City would find themselves in more hot water later in the period, on a power play that led to Team USA’s Trevor Janicke’s short-handed goal (4th of season). The lone assist was credited to Jack Hughes (4th point of game). Hughes was able to complete his hat trick (5th point of game), at the 12:51 mark of the 2nd period, by sneaking one past Hopkins on the power play. The single assist was credited to Jake Wise (2nd point of game). That is where the game took a trip on the wild side.
Frustration finally boiled over for Ronnie Attard, who took on Team USA’s Adam Samuelsson, face shield and all, at The Storm’s blue line. The fight didn’t last long, but both players kept their helmets and gloves on while exchanging heavy blows. At the end of the bought, both players were given 5 minute fighting majors and 10 minute game misconducts. Another scrum, 11 seconds later, resulted in matching double roughing minor penalties for Connor McMenamin and Oliver Wahlstrom (Team USA).
Noah Weber was able to get Tri-City on the board (2nd of season) on a nifty pass from Blake Evennou 14:37 into the 2nd period. New life for The Storm didn’t last long as Jack Hughes topped off his 6 point night with his 4th goal of the game (14th goal of season) less than 2 minutes after Weber. Assist was credited to Joel Farabee, who would add one more goal (11th of season and 2nd point of game) for Team USA with just over a minute left in the 2nd. Team USA would take a 8-1 lead and 27-13 shot advantage with them to the 3rd period.
Blake Evennou tallied his 3rd of the season on a 2-on-1 with Chase McLane just 1:31 into the 3rd period. Evennou’s goal would be the last scored of the night, making the final score Team USA 8 – 2 Tri-City. Connor Hopkins was able to keep Team USA from scoring in the 3rd, stopping all 6 shots faced. Hopkins would finish the night with 25 saves on 33 shots and a .758 save percentage.
⭐Jack Hughes (G:4 / A:1) – Team USA
⭐⭐Blake Evennou (G:1 / A:1) – Tri-City Storm
⭐⭐⭐Jonathan Gruden (G:1 / A:1) – Team USA
3/17 – @ Chicago Steel
3/18 – @ Chicago Steel
3/23 – vs Sioux Falls Stampede
3/24 – vs Sioux Falls Stampede
3/25 – @ Omaha Lancers