KEARNEY, NE. – The Tri-City Storm became the first team in the USHL this season to clinch a spot in the Clark Cup Playoffs in Friday’s 8-2 win over the Fargo Force at the Viaero Center. Reigning USHL Defenseman of the Week Mitchell Miller scored his second consecutive hat-trick in the game. Miller became the first defenseman in the history of the organization to record five points in a single game. Jeremy Wilmer, Ilya Nikolaev, Josh Eernisse, Dane Dowiak, and Victor Czerneckianair also netted goals in the win for the Storm. Arsenii Sergeev notched his 25th victory of the season in goal for Tri-City and is now within one win of tying the organization’s record for most wins by a goaltender in a single season. The Storm will host the Force again tomorrow night for “Concrete Cares/St. Patty’s Game” at the Viaero Center. Tickets to the game may be purchased online at www.StormHockey.com or by calling the Viaero Center Box Office during Box Office Hours at 308-338-8144. Puck drop for Saturday’s rematch is scheduled for 7:05pm CT.
Mitchell Miller netted his 24th goal of the year at 6:04 of the 1st period to give Tri-City a 1-0 lead. Miller’s first goal of the game was assisted by Jeremy Wilmer and Ilya Nikolaev. Trevor Griebel tied the game for the Force at 8:20 of the period on the powerplay. Griebel’s goal was his third of the season and was assisted by Kyle Smolen. Jeremy Wilmer netted his 19th goal of the year at 12:37 of the 1st period to put the Storm back in front by one goal. Wilmer’s goal was assisted by Ilya Nikolaev. Tri-City was outshot by Fargo 11-6 in the 1st period but led 2-1 entering the 2nd period.
The Storm outscored the Force 5-0 in Friday’s 2nd period to take a commanding 7-1 lead in the game. Mitchell Miller notched his second goal of the game and 25th goal of the season 32 seconds into the period to put the Storm in front by two goals. Miller’s goal was assisted by Gavin Brindley. Ilya Nikolaev scored his 14th goal of the season on the powerplay at 7:24 of the 2nd period to give the Storm a 4-1 lead in the game. Nikolaev’s goal was assisted by Jeremy Wilmer and Mitchell Miller. Josh Eernisse scored his seventh goal of the year at 14:32 of the period to give Tri-City a four-goal lead. Eernisse’s goal was assisted by Mitchell Miller and Dane Dowiak. Dane Dowiak netted his 12th goal of the year on the powerplay less than a minute later to give the Storm a 6-1 lead. Dowiak’s goal was assisted by Jeremy Wilmer and Ilya Nikolaev. Mitchell Miller scored the final goal of Friday’s 2nd period with just over two minutes to play. The goal was Miller’s third of the game and 26th of the season. Tri-City outshot Fargo 14-10 in the 1st period and led 7-1 entering the 3rd period.
Erik Bargholtz scored Fargo’s seventh goal of the year at 1:15 of the 3rd period to bring the game to a 7-2 score. The final goal of Friday’s game was scored by Victor Czerneckianair. Czerneckianair’s goal was his seventh of the season and was netted at 17:46 of the 3rd period. Tri-City outshot Fargo 9-7 in the 3rd period and 29-28 overall.
Arsenii Sergeev stopped 26 of Fargo’s 28 shots on net during the game to record the win in goal for Tri-City. Sergeev improved to 25-4-1-0 in the victory. Matej Marinov recorded the loss in goal for Fargo after making 13 saves on 20 shots in the opening two periods of the contest. Louden Hogg replaced Marinov in goal for the final period of Friday’s game and made eight saves on nine shots.
Tri-City improved to 35-8-2-0 with the win and remained the 1st place team in the USHL’s standings. The Storm now holds a 16-3-0-0 record in games played at the Viaero Center this season.
Tri-City hits the ice again on Saturday, March 12th, in a home game against the Fargo Force. Puck drop is set for 7:05pm CT. For the latest information regarding the Storm skate to www.StormHockey.com. #StormAhead