Gamblers Pregame Primer: Team USA, Jan. 25

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The Gamblers (17-12-5) will host Team USA (17-16-1)  at the Resch Center Saturday night in the milestone 15th Teddy Bear Toss game. Tonight will mark the third meeting between the two clubs in 2013-2014, with Team USA winning the first two by 4-0 and 8-5 margins in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Green Bay holds true to a 8-7 mark against their opponents tonight under Derek Lalonde.

Make sure to follow myself and @GamblersHockey on Twitter for updates throughout, and don’t forget to TWEET a picture of your teddy bear using the #TeddyBearToss hashtag!

Starters for Green Bay: Ryan Siroky, Dawson Cook, Gavin Stoick, Anthony Walsh, Jake Linhart and Jared Rutledge in goal.
Starters for Team USA: Matt Tkachuk, Luke Kunin, Michael Floodstrand, Joseph Masonius, Charles McAvoy and Michael Lackey in goal.

Season Series: Green Bay 0-2-0, Team USA 2-0-0
2012-2013 Series: Green Bay 3-3-0, Team USA 3-3-0
Record vs. Team USA under Derek Lalonde: 8-7-0
Record @ home vs. Team USA since 2011: 2-4-0
Average score over 15 games since 2011: Green Bay 3.21, Team USA 3.28

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Team Season Stats
Green Bay: 17-12-5 (.574 WPCT) | 39 team PTS (fourth in Eastern Conference)
Team USA: 17-16-1 (.515 WPCT) | 35 team PTS (sixth in Eastern Conference)

Individual Season Leaders
Points: GB Nick Schmaltz (34), USA Sonny Milano (24)
Goals: GB Kevin Irwin (14), USA Jack Eichel (13)
Assists: GB Nick Schmaltz (24), USA Sonny Milano (17)

Goaltender Comparison
Jared Rutledge (GB): 17-9-3 record | 2.79 GAA | 91.1% save rate | 28.7 SV/G
Cam Hackett (GB): 
0-3-2 record | 3.03 GAA | 89.1% save rate | 21.8 SV/G
Michael Lackey (USA): 3-7-0 record | 4.13 GAA | 85.9% save rate | 21.3 SV/G
Luke Opilka (USA): 3-6-0 record | 4.82 GAA | 84.7% save rate | 21.2 SV/G

Storylines to Watch For

  • Penalty Kill Professionals — The Gamblers have conceded just two power play goals to their opponents in the last five games, increasing their penalty kill rate to 85.03% this season. Team USA has converted on a very impressive 23.6% of their power plays this season, giving reason to believe this may be the deciding factor in Saturday’s game.
  • Goaltending Woes — While Team USA owns a USHL-best 12.4% shot conversion rate, its goaltending has been the worst in the league with an 87.5% save rate. This has been even more of a problem on the road, as Team USA goalies have saved just 84.7% of opponents’ shots to go with an astounding 4.67 goals allowed on average in 15 road games this season.

Game Briefs

11/15/13 — Team USA 8, Green Bay 5  — In the highest-scoring game (13 combined goals) for Green Bay this season, Team USA got the better of Jared Rutledge — jumping out to a 2-0 lead less than five minutes in while converting on three of its four power play opportunities. Jack Eichel contributed with three of Ann Arbor’s scores in the contest.

11/16/13 — Team USA 4, Green Bay 0 — Combining for 81 penalty minutes on 24 infractions, the second game of a weekend double-header in Ann Arbor didn’t go well for the Gamblers, as they were unable to convert any of their 20 shots against one of the most suspect goaltending units in the USHL.

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