As we turn to a new year, it's always fun to look back. Not only does an Ice-Lumberjacks matchup conjure up feelings of 1990 -- and the Turner Cup Finals that year -- it also brings into focus two of the USHL's better-run organizations -- the Ice have built a championship-level club under the direction of Paul and Charlie Skjodt, while Muskegon is building under the leadership of Josh Mervis -- who was also the Ice's first USHL GM.
This week is also huge for the Ice, as they'll play three games in four nights against Eastern Conference foes. After leaving Muskegon tonight, they'll return home to face the Youngstown Phantoms in two home games -- Friday at Pepsi Coliseum and Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Ice currently sit in fourth place, but at 32 points, are just one point back of second-place Youngstown and Dubuque.
The Ice's Daniil Tarasov is the USHL's second-leading scorer behind Lincoln's Kevin Roy. Sean Kuraly and Jacob Fallon are both sixth in scoring. At +15, Tarasov is also fourth in plus/minus. The Ice also possess the USHL's top power play, connecting at 31 percent. Tonight's game also features the USHL's two most penalized teams.
Let's look at tonight's game:
Indiana Ice (14-7-4)
Muskegon Lumberjacks (9-12-0)
7:05 p.m., L.C. Walker Arena, Muskegon, Mich.
Season series: Lumberjacks lead 2-0
Dec. 18: Lumberjacks 3, Ice 2, OT (at Muskegon): Sean Kuraly G, A; Robbie Baillargeon G; Jon Gillies 31 saves (Ice); Max Shuart GWG in OT, Mike McNicholas GTG with :21 left in 3rd, Ryan Lomorg 2A, Jon Keeney 44 saves (Mus)
Nov. 12: Lumberjacks 5, Ice 4 (at Pepsi Coliseum): Woody Hudson, Robbie Baillargeon 2G; Christian Hilbrich 2A; Dalton Izyk 25sv on 29 shots (Ice); Nick Seeler, John Padulo G, 2A each; Max Shuart G, A; Paul Berrafato 33 saves (Mus)
Tale of the Tape
Ice (14-7-4, 4th USHL East)
Head coach: Kyle Wallack
GF: 90 (2nd). GA: 72 (8th)
PP: 31.8% (1st). PK: 85.3 % (3rd) PIM: 470 (15th)
OT record: 2-2 SO record: 1-2
Road record: 7-2-3
Leading scorers: Daniil Tarasov (15-19-34), Jacob Fallon (9-18-27), Sean Kuraly (15-12-27), Robbie Baillargeon (10-14-24).
Leading +/-: Daniil Tarasov (+15), Alex Barron (+12), Ryan Obuchowski (+11)
Leading PIM: Woody Hudson (67), Daniil Tarasov (55), R.J. Boyd (47)
Leading goaltender: Jon Gillies (13-5-4, 2.47 GAA, .923sv%, 1 SHO), Dalton Izyk (1-2-0, 3.77 GAA, .878 sv%)
Last 5: 3-0-2. Last 10: 5-3-2
12/18: at Muskegon (OTL 2-3)
12/17: at Chicago (W 6-2)
12/16: at Chicago (SOL 2-3)
12/10: vs. Dubuque (W 3-2)
12/9: vs. Dubuque (W 6-1)
Lumberjacks (9-12-0, 7th USHL East)
Head coach: Kevin Patrick
GF: 57 (15th). GA: 77 (9th)
PP: 15.1% (11th). PK: 82.4% (10th). PIM: 541 (16th)
OT record: 1-0 SO record: 0-0
Home record: 6-5-0
Leading scorers: John Padulo (6-9-15), Travis Behlorad (8-5-13), Ryan Lomberg (4-8-12)
Leading +/-: Carter Foguth (+3), Mike McNicholas (+2)
Leading PIM: Mark Yanis (64), Ryan Lomborg (58)
Leading goaltender: Paul Berrafato (5-4-0, 3.12 GAA, .892sv%), John Keeney (4-6-0, 3.42 GAA, .909sv%, 2 SHO)
Last 5: 2-3-0. Last 10: 4-6-0
Ice next 5 games
12/30: vs. Youngstown
12/31: vs. Youngstown