Kearney, NE. – The Tri-City Storm returns home to the Viaero Center in Kearney to begin a three-game home stand tonight in a matchup against the United States National Team Development Team Program (Team USA). Tonight’s game at the Viaero Center is “Chamber Night” and also “$5 Kids Friday”. Tickets are still available and can be purchased online at www.StormHockey.com or by calling the Viaero Center Box Office at 308-338-8144. Puck drop is set for 7:05pm.
Tri-City (7-7-2-1) hosts Team USA tonight at the Viaero Center as the 4th place team in the Western Conference standings. Last weekend, Tri-City split overtime decisions against the Dubuque Fighting Saints and Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. On Friday, the Storm dropped its opening game of the weekend in a 2-1 loss to the Dubuque Fighting Saints. Nick Capone scored Tri-City’s only goal in the game during the 1st period. In Saturday’s road battle with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, the Storm got 1st period goals from Benji Eckerle and Nick Portz and defeated Cedar Rapids by a final score of 3-2 on Cole McWard’s game winning goal in overtime. The upcoming three games against Team USA and Omaha will mark the Storm’s longest home stand to date in the 2019-2020 season. Tri-City will not host three games in a row at the Viaero Center again until it plays four home games in a row March 28th to April 7th. Through the first seventeen games of the regular season, leading scorers for Tri-City include; Colby Ambrosio (9), Benji Eckerle (7), Matthew Knies (4), Felix Carenfelt (4), Joe Molenaar (3), Ian Murphy (3), Nick Portz (2), Nick Capone (2), Kyle Aucoin (2), and Cole McWard (2). Tri-City hosts Team USA again tomorrow night, and hosts Omaha on Wednesday to complete its three-game home stretch.
Team USA (8-6-0-0) travels to Kearney tonight for the first time in two years to battle the Storm in back to back games. Though its official record is in the league standings is 8-6-0-0, the Under 18 team that Tri-City will face this weekend is 5-1-0-0 in league play this season. Team USA fields both an Under 18 team and Under 17 team that plays a partial schedule in the USHL each season. When their records are combined, the two teams play a full sixty-two regular season game schedule against league competition. Though the U17s & U18s combined schedules add to total sixty-two games, Team USA’s games in the USHL are not split evenly across both teams. The U18s team will play twenty-five league games this year, and the U17s team will play thirty-seven. The two teams’ records and statistics are combined into one single team in the USHL standings. In year’s that Team USA qualifies for the Clark Cup Playoffs, the U17s team is the squad that represents Team USA in the postseason. Team USA does not participate in the USHL Phase I and Phase II drafts each May. In addition to playing games against USHL (Tier I) competition, Team USA also plays games throughout the year against teams from the NAHL (Tier II) and NCAA (Division I & Division III). Team USA also competes in various international tournaments during the season. The U18s team’s only loss in league play this season came last Saturday in a 6-3 loss to the Youngstown Phantoms. Conversely, the U17s team’s only win in league play this season came on October 25th in a 9-2 decision against the Youngstown Phantoms. In June, a record-breaking seventeen players from the U18s team were selected in the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver, BC. Eight of those seventeen players were selected in the 1st Round.