Tuesday, October 20, 2009

USHL Players of the Week

Press Release

The United States Hockey League today announced the weekly award winners for the third week of the 2009-10 USHL regular season.

Congratulations to Matt Leitner of the Fargo Force, named Reebok Offensive Player of the Week; Chad Ruhwedel of the Sioux Falls Stampede, selected as CCM Defensive Player of the Week; and Willie Yanakeff of the Sioux City Musketeers, who earned honors as the USHL Goaltender of the Week.

Leitner registered seven points (4g, 3a) and a plus-two rating as the Force claimed two victories over the weekend. The forward scored two goals in the first period on Friday night while also assisting on the game-winning overtime goal in the 6-5 victory over Tri-City. The following evening, the native of Los Alamitos, California scored two power play goals and assisted on two other goals as the Force handed the Omaha Lancers a 5-2 loss. Leitner is playing in his third USHL season and was the League's highest returning scorer from 2008-09 in which he scored 57 points (14g, 43a) in 56 games.

Ruhwedel recorded three points (1g, 2a) and a plus-two rating in helping Sioux Falls remain unbeaten in regulation this season (4-0-2) and on top of the West Division standings. The Stampede captain scored his first career USHL goal and dished out two assists in the 9-1 win vs. Waterloo on Friday. The San Diego, California native was held scoreless on Saturday but helped kill all five Green Bay power plays in the 3-2 shootout loss. The second-year USHL defenseman is currently tied for the League lead with a plus-seven rating.

Yanakeff earned his first victory of the season when he stopped 40 shots in the 2-1 victory vs. the Team USA Under-18 squad on Saturday. Despite being outshot 41-17, Yanakeff guided the Musketeers to their second victory of weekend. The Jerome, Michigan native is currently leading all USHL goaltenders with a .928 save percentage and ranks sixth with a 2.28 goals against average. Playing in his first USHL season, Yanakeff is committed to Michigan State University following his USHL career.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at fourniern@students.nescom.edu)

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