2022 Green Bay Gamblers vs Madison Capitols

USHL What To Watch For: Battle of Wisconsin, Red-Hot Harvey Fuels Steel

USHL What To Watch For: Battle of Wisconsin, Red-Hot Harvey Fuels Steel

USHL writer Jordan McAlpine breaks down some of the top matchups on this weekend's schedule.

Nov 16, 2022 by Jordan McAlpine
USHL What To Watch For: Battle of Wisconsin, Red-Hot Harvey Fuels Steel

A dozen teams will get very familiar with their opponent as this weekend’s slate features six back-to-backs. Fifteen of the 16 USHL teams will be in action and as we’ve hit the quarter mark of the season, teams are looking to separate themselves. Let's take a look at some of the top series to watch this weekend.

Youngstown (5-5-1-1) at Chicago (9-5-0-1). Nov. 18 & 19, 7:05 p.m. CT

It’ll be one of the Eastern Conference’s hottest teams and the top team battling it out this weekend in Chicago. Youngstown and Chicago split a pair of games at the end of October and both rosters are ripe with talent.

On top of their talent, the Phantoms have been surging as of late and enter this weekend riding a five-game point streak (3-0-1-1). The Phantoms exploded for seven goals last Friday in a 7-2 win over Dubuque and fell to the Fighting Saints in a shootout on Saturday, 6-5. 

Youngstown trailed by deficits 3-0, 4-1 and 5-2 in Saturday’s game. Yet they clawed their way back to earn a point, taking three of four on the weekend. 

Chicago also took three of four possible points last weekend with a shootout win at Madison and a shootout loss at Cedar Rapids, both 6-5 finals. Chicago’s Michael Emerson had two goals and an assist in the win, including both a short-handed and power-play goal.

The Steel enter this weekend 6-1-0-1 on home ice. The lone blemish came on Oct. 22 - a 5-0 loss to Youngstown, which is still Chicago’s biggest loss of the season.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Jack Harvey, F, Chicago

The BU commit carries quite the impressive streak into this weekend as he’s netted a pair of goals in four straight games. Harvey has racked up nine goals and 13 points over the last five games and is up to 14 goals and 24 points on the season - both of which lead the USHL. 

A 5-foot-10 winger, Harvey might be overlooked behind Chicago’s top line of Nick Moldenhauer, Jayden Perron and Mick Thompson. However, the Minnesota native is breaking out and was named the USHL Forward of the Week. Harvey is only 15 games into his third USHL season and he’s nearly halfway to his previous career-high point total. Harvey registered 49 points in 60 games last season and 17 points in 48 games during the 2020-21 season.

Green Bay (7-6-1-0) at Madison (5-6-0-1). Nov. 18 & 19, 7:05 p.m. CT

This weekend will mark the second and third of 10 games between Wisconsin rivals Madison and Green Bay this season. These two clubs will also square off next Wednesday, meaning its three straight in-state battles are on the horizon. The Capitols took the first battle of Wisconsin, 4-3, earlier this season. 

Both teams captured at least a point last weekend, but the Capitols and Gamblers find themselves at opposite ends of the standings. Green Bay is third in the east while Madison currently sits at the bottom of the conference, though they’re separated by just four points.

The Gamblers defeated Muskegon last Saturday, 3-0. Eli Sebastian, Nicholas Vantassell and Jayden Davis found the back of the net and Kristoffer Eberly earned his first shutout of the season with 25 saves. Green Bay has won two of its past three games.

Madison lost to Chicago in a shootout last Friday, 6-5. However, the Capitols picked up a 6-5 win of their own over Chicago just six days prior. Quinn Finley (New York Islanders) and Matt McGroarty combined to score five of Madison’s 11 goals over the past two games and Finley is now tied for the team lead with seven. 

PLAYER TO WATCH: Miko Matikka, F, Madison (Arizona Coyotes)

The Finnish winger leads Madison with 18 points and his seven goals are tied with Finley for the team lead. Matikka’s 18 points are also the fifth-most in the USHL. Although he was held without a point last time out, the Denver commit has registered at least a point in 11 of Madison’s 12 games this season. Matikka, and those around him, recently spoke with FloHockey about his transition from Finland to North America and where his game is headed. 

Lincoln (10-3-0-0) at Waterloo (8-5-0-0). Nov. 18 & 19, 7:05, 6:05 p.m. CT

A pair of teams on four-game win streaks, one of those will come to an end Friday night. Lincoln and Waterloo are the two hottest teams in the Western Conference and both teams have found the back of the net with ease. Lincoln’s 53 goals are the second-most in the conference while the Black Hawks are right behind at 49.

Waterloo scored a dozen goals against Tri-City last weekend in a 7-1 drubbing on Friday and a 5-1 win to complete the sweep. Waterloo has now won six of its last seven and several of Matt Smaby’s top players have heated up, starting with Garrett Schifsky. The Michigan commit scored twice in Friday’s win and leads Waterloo with seven goals - including four power-play markers.

The Stars have been red hot all season. Lincoln has taken 20 of a possible 26 points, including 8 of 12 on the road. The Stars have also hung five goals on the board in each of their last two road contests, including last Friday’s 5-2 win at Omaha. Klavs Veinbergs netted a pair of goals and defenseman Cole Crusberg-Roseen added a goal and a helper in the win. Crusberg-Roseen was named the USHL Defenseman of the Week for his three-point weekend.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Klavs Veinbergs, F, Lincoln (Tampa Bay Lightning)

Veinbergs has heated up over the past three games with five points, bringing his season total to 10. The Latvian forward scored twice and added an assist in Lincoln’s 5-2 win at Omaha last Friday. Veinbergs - the 224th overall pick in last summer’s draft - got off to a relatively slow start this season point-wise. However, it’s his first season of North American hockey, which often provides a learning curve. He’ll likely represent his country again at the World Junior Championships in December. Veinbergs played five games for Latvia this past August in Edmonton and even made the senior national team for the IIHF Men's World Championship last spring.

News and notes

• Sioux Falls and Fargo will get this week’s slate started Thursday night. Fargo has won three of its past four games and the Force currently own a four-game point streak. Thursday’s game will be Fargo’s lone action of the weekend.

• Tri-City will host Des Moines for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday. The Storm have dropped three straight while the Buccaneers grabbed three of a possible six points last weekend. Tri-City and Des Moines are yet to play this season.

• Dubuque will also host Muskegon this weekend for a pair of games. Dubuque’s Max Montes netted a pair of goals in Dubuque’s shootout win over Youngstown. Montes has four points in his last three games.

 Sioux City’s Ryan Conmy scored three goals last weekend, including two on Sunday. Conmy is now tied for second in the USHL with 10 goals. The Musketeers have won three straight and jumped to fourth in the Western Conference.

• Sioux City’s Axel Mangbo was named this week’s USHL Goaltender of the Week after turning aside 53 of 57 shots in a pair of wins over Sioux Falls. Sioux City is off this weekend.

• USA Hockey recently announced the first 21 players to its roster for the 2022 World Junior A Challenge, which will be held next month in Cornwall, Ontario. All 21 players currently play in the USHL. You can read more about who made the team here.