Sunday, May 19, 2013

Another Season Ends

With the 2012-2013 season coming to a conclusion, here are some of the major news stories that happened at the end of the season. First things first, the Dubuque Fighting Saints have won the Clark Cup Championship. The Saints beat Western Conference champions, Fargo Force, in 3 games and earned the sweep of the Force. The win gives Dubuque 2 titles in their 3 years being back in the league. Will the Saints continue to be a dominant team now that head coach, Jim Montgomery, will be coaching the University of Denver next season? The link to the USHL press release also features some video interviews from a couple players, as well as the head coach from each team.

The USHL has been releasing end of the year awards every so often. Taylor Cammarata was named the USHL Forward of the Year, Kevin Lindskoug was named the USHL Goaltender of the year, Paul LaDue was named the USHL Defenseman of the year, and Jake Guentzel was named the USHL Rookie of the Year.

Cammarata lead the league in offense this season, posting a ton of points this season. He picked up 93 points on 38 goals and 55 assists, while being a +39 on the ice. Taylor ranked 1st in goals, 2nd in assists (behind teammate Justin Kloos,) 1st in total points, and 4th in +/- rating. Last season, Cammarata was named the USHL Rookie of the Year, and continued right where he left off after earning that award.

Lindskoug was a key addition for the Muskegon Lumberjacks this season. He posted a 23-18-6 record and also posted a league leading 8 shutouts for the Jacks. Lindskoug finished 2nd to Art Brey in GAA, giving up an average of 2.49 goals per game. He led the league in Save%, finishing with a .923 rank. Lindskoug allowed only 115 goals on the season, all while playing nearly 2800 minutes in the crease.

LaDue finished the season leading the league in scoring among defensemen. Not only does LaDue contribute on the offensive side, he is also one of the best all around defensemen to play this season, and quite possibly in many years in the USHL. As with defensemen, you're not going to notice LaDue much, because he rarely makes mistakes. Very well deserved honor for LaDue, and great to see him get some recognition.

Guentzel finished his rookie campaign with 73 points on 29 goals and 44 assists. It was probably a wide open race for this award, that is, until Guentzel got to his final 21 games. In his last 41 regular season games, Guentzel posted a 21 game point scoring streak, all while amassing 43 points in that stretch. He finished at +13 on the season, after hovering right around even for a good portion of the season. His 73 points ranked him 6th in the league, behind two other rookies in Mike Szmatula and Zach Stepan.

Lincoln Stars have extended head coach Chad Johnson's contract for another two years. In his first three years behind Lincoln's bench, Johnson posted a 110-62-12 record.

“We’re pleased that Chad will be staying with the Stars for at least the next two years,” said Stars President Jim Pflug.  “With three successful seasons in the books, he’s obviously well-deserving of an extension to his initial three-year contract that expires later this month.  Chad brings a calm confidence to the team, a demeanor that encourages development among his players, and critical in building teams that compete for championships each year.  With Chad and Associate Head Coach Jimmy McGroarty behind the bench, we have two different, yet complementary styles that enable them to get the most out of their players, and gives us the most experienced staff in the USHL.”

In more coaching news, Sioux City's Brett Larson has accepted the associate head coaching job at Ohio State. Larson leaves SC after two seasons on the bench and compiling a record of 52-60-12 for the Musketeers. Next season was looking very promising for Sioux City, but now there will be a new coach and maybe quite a few new faces on next year's squad. In related news, Andrew Weiss of Future Considerations, tweeted that Sioux City will name Jay Varady their new head coach.Varady has been the head coach of the Angers pro team in France. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach for Everett of the WHL.

The Omaha Lancers took a hit when last year's top pick in the futures draft, Shane Gersich, accepted an invite to the NTDP.

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