For the third consecutive season, the USHL Fall Classic will return to the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township this Sept. 27-30.
While all 17 teams have played in this event in the past as a preseason tuneup, for the first time in 2018, it will be the official opening weekend of the regular season.
“The USHL Fall Classic continues to provide the ideal scouting opportunity for the management and scouts of the 31 NHL teams to view the top USHL talent available for the NHL Draft,” Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr said in a press release. “This event provides a unique opportunity to view all 17 USHL teams in one location and for the first time, will mark the start of the USHL regular season with all games counting in the standings. The Fall Classic serves as an important evaluation benchmark for players eligible in the 2019 NHL Draft, and we are pleased that this successful event is part of a growing partnership between the USHL, NHL and Pittsburgh Penguins.”
There were three local players that finished 2017-18 on USHL rosters that are set to return: Bridgeville’s Liam Walsh (Cedar Rapids), Erie’s Jake Kucharski (Des Moines) and Butler’s Paul Maust (Green Bay).
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders will open the tournament against Fargo Force on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 11 a.m. Their second game will be against the Lincoln Stars on Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. Kucharski’s Buccaneers will open with the Madison Capitols on Sept. 27 at 2 p.m. and face the Chicago Steel on Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. Green Bay will play the Sioux City Musketeers on Sept. 28 at 10 a.m. and the Deubuque Fighting Saints on Sept. 29 at 11 a.m.
The Youngstown Phantoms will also participate with games Sept. 27 at 5 p.m. against the Tri-City Storm and Sept. 30 at 1 p.m. against the Dubuque Fighting Saints.