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USHL Weekly

December 8, 2003 - United States Hockey League (USHL) News Release

Steel Surge - Chicago extended its winning streak to three games with wins over Cedar Rapids and Waterloo last week. The four points pushed the Steel into second place.

Flipside - Danville’s losing streak has extended to four games. The Wings’ special teams index slipped a whopping 5.4 percent from last week.

Scoring Slovak - Tri-City's 19-year-old Rastislav Spirko has taken over the USHL goal scoring lead with 18 tallies in 24 games. Spirko will play for his native Slovakia at the 2004 World Junior Championships which begin on Dec. 26 in Finland.

London to Lincoln - The Stars’ latest pickup, former London forward Matt Weir, registered a natural hat trick on Friday. In seven games since joining the Stars, Weir has 11 points.

Not Sleeping Giant - River City is 8-1-1 over its last ten games. Lincoln is 7-3-0 over the same span.

Playoff Picture - Despite rolling up a 3-1-0 record against St. Louis this season, Green Bay trails the Heartland Eagles by one point in the race for the last playoff spot in the East Division. The teams meet on Saturday in Green Bay.

Dingle’s Danglin’ - Tri-City’s John Dingle is in the midst of a four-game goalscoring streak. He has five goals over that span.

USHL Quotable with...

Des Moines head coach Bob Ferguson on big games at the Sioux City Auditorium (as told to Steven Allspach, Sioux City Journal):

“I still tell people today that the best hockey game I’ve ever been part of as a player or coach was our (Jr. ‘A’) national championship game here in 1986. If it would have been on ESPN back then they’d still be showing it on the highlights.”

LPH/USHL Offensive Player of the Week:

Derek Whitmore -- LINCOLN STARS

Whitmore (Rochester, N.Y.) earned Offensive Player of the Week honors with an impressive three-goal, three-assist week. One of his goals, his second on Saturday, was a power-play game-winner to topple Green Bay. He added another late to complete the hat trick. Honorable mention goes to Dan Charleston (Chicago), Jim McKenzie (Sioux Falls) and Mike Radja (Waterloo).

LPH/USHL Defensive Player of the Week:

Steve Wagner -- TRI-CITY STORM

Wagner (Grand Rapids, Minn.) earned Defensive Player of the Week honors after playing a lead role in a pair of Storm victories last week. The veteran defenseman notched a goal and three assists to complement a weekly plus-minus rating of +3. Honorable mention goes to Brian Papcun (Des Moines), Phillippe Lamoureux (Lincoln) and Kasey Moreland (St. Louis).

Let’s Play Hockey will present all USHL Players of the Week with a trophy and will announce the Let’s Play Hockey / USHL Player of the Year at the conclusion of the season. For subscriptions to Let’s Play Hockey, call (612) 729-0023.

USHL Alumni Report

December 8, 2003

Pittsburgh’s Ryan Malone (Omaha) is the NHL’s leading rookie goal scorer with seven tallies on the season... Two former USHL goalies, Edmonton’s Ty Conklin (Green Bay) and Tampa Bay’s John Grahame (Sioux City), have generated some World Cup consideration among pundits recently with their strong play... Texas Wildcatters center John Snowden (Lincoln) was named ECHL Performer of the Month for November last week. In his first professional season, Snowden was +12 in November and has been plus or even in 15 consecutive games dating back to Oct. 23. Snowden scored 12 points in November, including a team-high eight goals, in 12 games... Western Michigan University’s Vince Bellissimo (Topeka) has 20 points in 18 games with the Broncos this season. The Toronto native played an integral role in WMU’s sweep of No. 14 Notre Dame over the weekend. On Friday, Bellissimo posted a goal and three assists on his way to Perani Cup First Star honors. Bellissimo was the USHL’s Forward of the Year in 2002... The USHL went two-for-three in the WCHA this week as Wisconsin’s Bernd Bruckler (Tri-City) and Minnesota-Duluth’s Josh Johnson (Green Bay) earned weekly conference honors. Bruckler earned Defensive Player of the Week honors for his part in a successful Badgers effort against Denver and Johnson carried home Rookie of the Week honors for blanking Michigan Tech on Saturday to earn his first college shutout.

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United States Hockey League Stories from December 8, 2003

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