United States Hockey League (USHL)

USHL Fall Classic: Ryan St. Louis, Will Smith Provide OT Heroics On Day 3

USHL Fall Classic: Ryan St. Louis, Will Smith Provide OT Heroics On Day 3

Chris Peters breaks down Day 3 action from the DICK'S Sporting Goods USHL Fall Classic.

Sep 25, 2022 by Chris Peters
Ryan St. Louis OT Game-Winner For Dubuque

CRANBERRY TWP., Pa. – After a deluge of games on Days 1 and 2 of the DICK’S Sporting Goods USHL Fall Classic, Saturday saw just three contests. With Thursday and Friday’s teams heading home, six USHL clubs took center stage on the penultimate day of the league’s premier fall event.

Saturday had no shortage of excitement as two of the three games went to overtime. 

Let’s take a look at the highlights of the day…

St. Louis Saves Saints In Overtime

In one of the wildest games of the USHL Fall Classic to date, the Dubuque Fighting Saints managed to pull out a 5-4 victory over the Des Moines Buccaneers in overtime. The Bucs just wouldn’t go away, coming back from deficits of 3-1 and 4-3, pushed the game to the extra period.

That’s when Ryan St. Louis, who is back in the USHL after spending last season with Northeastern University, was given a bit of a gift. In the three-on-three overtime period, Des Moines made an ill-advised change, leaving the middle of the ice open for Michael Burchill to send a stretch pass to the older of the two St. Louis boys on Dubuque’s roster.

Ryan St. Louis broke in all alone and slipped a nifty backhander through Des Moines goalie Jan Korec at the 1:55 mark of the extra frame to give Dubuque a season-opening win. Ryan’s younger brother Lucas picked up the secondary assist on the goal for his first career point in the USHL.

The St. Louis brothers are the sons of Hockey Hall of Famer and Montreal Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis. Lucas wears No. 2 for Dubuque, while Ryan wears No. 6. While standing next to each other, they make the No. 26 their dad made famous while a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers.

Waterloo Black Hawks Ride Depth To First Win

The final score line looks more lopsided than the game was, but the Waterloo Black Hawks used a total team effort to beat the Youngstown Phantoms. Five different players scored goals, while goaltender and Montreal Canadiens draft pick Emmett Croteau stopped 25 of 27 shots in a 5-2 win.

The first two periods were played tightly, but Waterloo managed to carry a 2-1 lead into the final frame thanks to goals from Aaron Pionk and Gavyn Thoreson. Despite penalty trouble in the third period, the Black Hawks managed to pull away with three goals within the first five minutes of the final stanza. That put the game far enough out of reach.

Youngstown can take some positives out of the game, including the performances of 2023 NHL Draft eligible defenseman Andrew Strathmann and forward William Whitelaw. Both players scored a goal in the game, while Whitelaw led all players with seven shots on goal. 

The game also marked the season debut of Chicago Blackhawks first-round pick Sam Rinzel, who played big minutes for Waterloo. The nearly 6-foot-5 defenseman showed off his high-end skating ability and crafty puck skills but did not register a point in the game. Rinzel did lead Waterloo with six shots on goal, however. He will spend all of this season with the Black Hawks after splitting last season between his high school team in Chaska, Minn., and Waterloo.

Hrabal Stands Out For Omaha, But USA Gets The Win

Rookie goaltender Michael Hrabal, who is a high-end prospect for the 2023 NHL Draft, faced a barrage of shots from the U.S. National Under-18 Team. Despite that, he stood tall, stopping 43 shots along the way and keeping the Omaha Lancers in the game against the U.S. U18s. 

In the end, a misread from Hrabal left an open net for USA forward Will Smith. Hrabal tried to skate out for a loose puck, but the speedy Smith was able to get to it first, move around the 6-foot-6 Czech netminder and cash in for the game-winning goal.

Despite the loss, you’d have to think Hrabal showed well for the hundreds of scouts in attendance at the game.

While the result was a happy one for Team USA, there was also grave concern earlier in the game when U18 defenseman Brady Cleveland violently crashed into the boards and to the ice after a collision. Cleveland required immediate medical attention, was stretchered off the ice and taken to a local hospital. According to team sources, Cleveland was doing better later that night and is expected to be alright. A lot of credit goes to the athletic trainers who worked quickly and the on-site paramedics who were able to assist Cleveland immediately in what was most certainly a serious situation.

Given the lengthy delay and the concern for Cleveland from his teammates, game officials decided to postpone the rest of the first period which had 6:20 remaining. They gave each team time to regroup before getting the all-clear and completing the rest of the first period after a full intermission. A short break followed after the 6:20 was played, with USA and Omaha playing the second period in full before going for the normally scheduled second intermission.

Sunday’s Schedule

Des Moines Buccaneers vs. Youngstown Phantoms, noon ET

Waterloo Black Hawks vs. Team USA, 2:30 p.m. ET

Omaha Lancers vs. Dubuque Fighting Saints, 5:30 p.m. ET