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A total of 38 players who have appeared in the USHL this season made the NHL Scouting’s mid-term rankings, further illustrating that the USHL continues its quest to produce high-end hockey talent as the United States' only Tier I Junior A circuit. In addition to those 38 USHL players, another 16 players on the affiliate lists of USHL teams received rankings.

"For years the USHL has been known as the foremost producer of talent for NCAA Division I schools. However, we're starting to generate more and more talent for the NHL level as well," said Gino Gasparini, USHL president. "It all coincides with our league being classified as Tier I by USA Hockey in 2002. When they allowed us to move up in classification, we saw our league get younger, but it has also gotten better and our numbers with the NHL reflect that."

According to the USHL, 25 of its players signed NHL contracts during the 2006 calendar year. During the 2006-07 NHL, 50 players with USHL ties made the jump to the NHL.

"The league is proud of all of these kids, and thrilled that they've all seen their dreams of playing in the NHL come true," Gasparini said. "We're glad that we were able to have a hand in the development of these fine athletes and we look forward to increasing that number in the future."

The USHL has had more than 20 players selected in each of the last five NHL Entry Drafts, and, according to CS projections, that number will be approached, if not surpassed, this year.

The top-ranked USHL skater in the 2007 mid-term rankings is Sioux City forward Max Pacioretty who sits at No. 23.

"I'm pretty excited about it. I don't think it brings any pressure; it just motivates me to do even better than I have been doing," said Pacioretty, who has 35 points in 29 games.

Tri-City forward Patrick White -- currently playing with his high school team in Grand Rapids, Minn. -- Lincoln defenseman Colby Cohen, Omaha's Nick Petrecki and Des Moines' Ben Ryan are all ranked in the top 50.

Cedar Rapids goalie Kent Patterson and Lincoln’s Bryan Hogan are ranked in the top 15 among goaltenders in North America.

Ohio welcomes Anthony Perdicaro, who was released this week by the Ontario Hockey League’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. An eighth-round OHL draft pick in 2005, Perdicaro appeared in 37 OHL games this season while accumulating one goal and three assists.

Des Moines’ Ben Ryan was named USHL Offensive Player of the Week after netting eight points in three games. Sioux Falls’ Corey Tropp was the runner-up.

Defensive Player of the Week was Cedar Rapids Kevin Wehrs, who had six points, including a game-winning goal, in three games. Lincoln’s Cohen was the runner-up.

Lincoln’s Hogan was named Goalie of the Week, allowing just one goal in his only appearance, a 6-1 victory. Tri-City’s Ian Keserich was the runner-up.

Sioux City had 63 shots in a weekend game against Cedar Rapids, but still fell 25 shot attempts short of the league record.

Cedar Rapids’ David Boehm has seven points in his last five games.

Chicago’s Sean Dolan is the first player on his team to reach double-digits in goals.

Lincoln defenseman Matt Bartkowski committed to Ohio State.

Sioux City goalie Jerry Kuhn committed to Western Michigan University.

Tri-City traded goalie Bryce Christiansen to Lincoln and added former goalie Aaron Rock to the roster. Rock played 48 games for the Storm last year. Rock had played for Kingston and Brampton in the Ontario Hockey League this season.

Mitch Ryan left the University of Minnesota-Duluth and returned to Waterloo, where he scored 51 points last year.

Ted Hampson, chief scout for the NHL's Colorado Avalanche and former Black Hawk and longtime USHL off-ice official Bill Dobbyn will be the honorary coaches as chosen by the league for its All-Star Game later this month. They will be joined on the bench by the assistant coaches of the two teams leading their divisions, Bobby Kinsella of Sioux City in the West and Shane Fukushima and Derrick Johnson of Waterloo in the East.
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