Posted 29 days ago ago by David Fine
League-best Musketeers make final trip to Viaero Center
Kearney, Neb. – It’s Hockey Appreciation Night, presented by Graham Tire, Saturday at the Viaero Center and the Tri-City Storm (16-23-5-2, 39 pts., 7th Western) plays the Sioux City Musketeers (29-9-5-2, 65 pts., 1st Western) for the sixth time this season. Tri-City is 2-3-0-0 against the Musketeers and 2-1-0-0 in Kearney. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m.
The Storm is in the second game of a four-game homestand and both teams are coming off of shutout wins. Tri-City’s Eric Dop made 32 saves for his first league shutout and the Storm beat Sioux Falls, 4-0, on Friday. The victory moved the Storm above the Stampede in the standings. Four Storm players scored, including Blais Richartz in his USHL debut. Sioux City hosted Lincoln and shut out the Stars, 2-0.
Hockey Appreciation Night gives fans and players a chance to celebrate the growth of the game in central Nebraska. The Tri-City Youth Hockey Association won its 4th championship of the season last Saturday at the 12U All-American Tournament in Littleton, Colorado. The Viaero Center hosts learn to skate programs, public skates, youth hockey and adult hockey. After the game, join the Storm for a free postgame skate.
Sioux City leads the league with 65 points, one ahead of Chicago and Waterloo in the race for the Anderson Cup.
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Viaero Wireless Pregame Show at 6:45 p.m.
Radio: The Breeze 94.5 FM | Listen Live |
Mobile: Free audio on your mobile device with the Tri-City Storm Mobile App (iPhone App Store // Google Play)
Streaming Video: Pay-to-watch on http://USHL.HockeyTV.com
Social: @TriCityStorm for in-game updates and broadcaster @RealDavidFine
Upcoming Schedule (Download here).
Sat., Feb. 25 vs. Sioux City, 7:05 p.m. (Hockey Appreciation, Postgame skate)
Fri., March 3 vs. Fargo, 7:05 p.m. (Ag Appreciation Night, $5 Kids Friday)
Sat., March 4 vs. Fargo, 7:05 p.m. (Teddy Bear Toss)
Fri. March 10 at Madison, 7:05 p.m.
Sat., March 11 at Madison, 7:05 p.m.
Eric Dop made 17 saves in the second period against Sioux Falls and denied eight in the third to earn his first USHL shutout Friday. Dop, playing his first full junior season, recorded his second shutout of the season. On October 1 while with Minot in the NAHL, the Bowling Green State commit also made 32 saves for a shutout against Aberdeen.
The native of Lewis Center, Ohio picked up his first win since January 28 against Team USA, when he required 16 saves. Dop is 4-7-3-1 with a 2.76 goals against average and .905 save percentage.
16s are wild
Jace Foskey, Wyllum Deveaux and Blais Richartz, all 16 years old, scored for the Storm in its Friday victory against Sioux Falls. Sixteen is the youngest a player can be to play in the USHL.
Foskey started the youth scoring with his third of the season in the second period. The native of Southlake, Texas is on a career-long three-game point streak. Deveaux earned his 4th of the season for more insurance in the third period, the Harvard commit’s first in 35 games (Oct. 14, Cedar Rapids).
Richartz, making his league debut, wristed one in after getting a feed from 17-year-old Nicholas Nardella. An affiliate player, Richartz is visiting from Victory Honda U16 in Michigan, where he is team captain.
Favored at home
Tri-City has won eight of the last nine home games against the Musketeers. On January 20, Sioux City snapped an eight-game losing streak in a 2-1 win. Prior to that victory, Sioux City had last won a game at the Viaero Center in 2013-14.
The Storm is 26-17-3-5 in the USHL’s Tier I history (since 2002-03) at home vs. the Musketeers and 11-30-2-3 at Sioux City.
Since the start of 2011-12, the Storm is 14-3-1-1 at the Viaero Center against Sioux City, but 6-12-0-1 at the Tyson Events Center.
Season series retrospective
After winning two of the first three matchups, the Storm has lost the last two and managed one goal. Matiss Kivlenieks shut out Tri-City with 23 saves last time and has allowed three goals in three games against the Storm (3-0-0-0, 1.00 GAA, .962 sv.%).
Wyatt Bongiovanni leads Tri-City with three points (1g, 2a) in the season series. Linus Weissbach has two goals.
Eric Dop seeks his first win over Sioux City (0-2-0-0) despite allowing five goals on 65 shots (.923 sv.%). Last meeting, the Bowling Green State commit collected 34 saves on 36 chances.
Scouting the Muskies
Ten of the Muskies’ last 15 games have been one-goal contests and the Muskies are 5-2-2-1 in the one-goal decisions over that span. The Musketeers have won five straight contests and two have been decided by a goal. Sioux City and Lincoln have each played a league-high 26 games determined by one and Sioux City is 14-5-5-2 in those games, second only in wins to Lincoln (15).
Matiss Kivlenieks is 3-0-0-0 against the Storm and has appeared in all but seven games this season. The 19-year-old from Riga, Latvia currently holds the goaltending “Triple Crown”, leading the league in wins (27), goals against average (1.80) and save percentage (.937).
Eeli Tolvanen (36 points) and Charlie Kelleher (39) rank in the top-20 of USHL points. Kristian Pospisil has recorded at least in point in all but three games since December 31 (11 of 14 games) and had a nine-game point streak snapped against Tri-City on February 11. Since New Years Eve, Pospisil has eight goals and 17 points.
Former Storm boys
Tri-City dealt Charlie Kelleher, Odeen Tufto and Joey Matthews to Sioux City in early February for three draft picks and a player to be named later.
Kelleher leads the team with 27 assists and plays on a line with leading scorer Eeli Tolvanen. The former Storm first-round selection has one goal and six points in seven games since joining Sioux City.
Tufto has one goal and four points in six games. Matthews has an assist in six games.
Spend your Sunday with the Storm! Tri-City hosts a special skills competition at 1:00 p.m. The event is free and open to all season ticket holders. Meet Tri-City players and watch them feature their skills in a fun and family-friendly atmosphere. After the event, the Viaero Center hosts a public skate from 1:45 to 3:00 p.m.
Next Friday, March 3 at 7:05 p.m., the Storm starts a back-to-back against the Fargo Force with Ag Appreciation Night, presented by Asera Care. It’s also a $5 Kids Friday.
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