Friday, February 6, 2009

East beats West in USHL all-star game


Kyle Flanagan (right) had four points on Wednesday and was named the Ron Woodey Most Valuable Player. Flanagan is pictured with (L-R) USHL Commissioner Skip Prince and John Bissert and Steve Rixe of CCM-Reebok.

The United States Hockey League held its 2009 Prospects/All-Star Game on Wednesday night, pitting Team CCM (East Division All-Stars) against Team Reebok (West Division All-Stars). However, it may as well have been Team Reebok vs. the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.

The Cedar Rapids line of Mike Seidel, Jeff Costello and Kyle Flanagan accounted for all the scoring for Team CCM, as they downed Team Reebok 4-1 in front of a crowd of 3,142 at the Sioux Falls Arena in Sioux Falls, S.D.

"This is about as good as it could possibly get. The all-stars were all stars tonight and they all played great," said USHL Commissioner Skip Prince. "You always like to see the home team win but the three RoughRiders were just extraordinary tonight."

The trio plays together on a line during the season for Cedar Rapids, and the chemistry that they brought to the ice on Wednesday was evident, as they dominated every shift they took from start to finish.

They opened the scoring for Team CCM just 1:12 into the game when Flanagan scored an unassisted goal to make it 1-0. Minutes later, at 5:09, Seidel scored his first of the game on assists from Costello and Flanagan. Team Reebok scored their only goal of the night at16:26 of the period when hometown favorite David Eddy scored to make it 2-1, where the first period would finish. Mike Cichy, who was representing Tri-City even though he'd recently been traded to Indiana and Lincoln's Jake Newton had the assists on the goal.

Team CCM made it 3-1 just 42 seconds into the second period when Costello scored from Flanagan and Seidel. They then closed out the scoring 9:37 of the second, with Seidel scoring his second of the game on an assist from Flanagan.

In total, Flanagan had a goal and three assists, Seidel had two goals and an assist and Costello had a goal and an assist.

"It was a good effort for them. I'm really proud of them. I think the big thing is they went out and had fun playing, made a lot of plays and worked hard at it," said Mark Carlson, Cedar Rapids' head coach.

"We were playing exactly how we usually play. We didn't change a thing," said Flanagan. "The three of us have been playing together the last three or four months and the on-ice and off-ice chemistry has been great."

Each team had 38 shots on goal in the game. Fargo goaltender Mike Lee gave up all four Team CCM goals, but made 21 saves. He was relieved later in the game by Lincoln's Kevin Murdock, who made 13 saves. At the other end, Cedar Rapids' Mike Johnson stopped 16 of 17 shots he faced, while Indiana's Brett Bennett stopped all 21 shots he saw.

Omaha's Pat Mullane took the only penalty of the game, a slashing penalty at 12:57 of the second period.


Flanagan, who had the four-point game, won the Ron Woodey Award as the most valuable player in the game.

"It was a lot of fun. It's been a great experience this week and it's everything that it's been made up to be," Flanagan said. "Sioux Falls put on a great show this week and everyone is breathing in the experience."

Seidel was named the Team CCM Player of the Game while Eddy was named the Team Reebok Player of the Game.


This marked the second time that the Stampede have hosted the USHL's mid-season classic, doing it this season in conjunction with their tenth anniversary. They previously hosted the event in 2002, the year that the bar for hosts of the game was officially raised.

"They did a tremendous job that year, from the banquet, to bringing in Gordie Howe as the speaker to having 4,000 people in the stands," said USHL Executive Vice President Gino Gasparini. "That was the year that it went from being just a game to a full-blown event. They raised the bar and really challenged people who were hosting to take things to a new level."

This year, the Stampede once again raised the bar. The banquet, the game presentation, and the treatment of players, scouts, fans and dignitaries was again first-class, reflecting perfectly on the Stampede organization.

"It's a lot of fun to do this event. We're proud of our city and we want to show it off. At the same time it helps us build our fan base and introduce them to hockey," said Stampede CEO Gary Weckwerth. "We've been here ten years and it's an every day thing for us to introduce people to hockey, but it's fun.

"When you're planning it you can't wait for it to be over and when it's done you look back and say that it is a fun deal to have. We have the Stanley Cup here and it's the first time it's ever been in South Dakota. All the fanfare that surrounds it is fun. We're proud to be the host and we're proud to do this for our fans. It's a very good thing, it's a great experience."


The date and site of the 2010 USHL Prospects/All-Star Game will be announced in the coming weeks. But before that event, there's still plenty going on in the USHL. The second half of the season is set to get underway, as well as another spectacular playoff run and the coronation of the 2009 Tier I National Champions.

"We're looking forward to a great second half of the season and more good things to come for the USHL."

The 2008-09 USHL regular season starts up again on Friday, February 6.

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