Today the USHL announced goaltender Maksim Zhukov has been named USHL Goaltender of the Week.
Zhukov stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced on Wednesday as Green Bay knocked off Cedar Rapids 6-1 before posting his second shutout of the season, a 28-save performance, to lead the Gamblers to a 4-0 victory over the Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Steel. The Russian netminder now sports a 8-4-0-2 record, a 2.45 GAA and .912 SV%. His GAA puts his sixth among all goaltenders while his SV% ranks eighth in the USHL. He has also been busy between the pipes, facing 25 of more shots in half of his 14 appearances this year. This is fourth time Zhukov has been named Goaltender of the Week, including the second time this season (10/9/17). The uncommitted goaltender is in his second USHL season and registered a 2.25 GAA and .913 SV% in 2016-17 before being selected in the fourth round, 96th overall by the Vegas Golden Knights at the 2017 NHL Draft. Prior to his time in the USHL, Zhukov suited up for Lokomotiv-Yaroslavl in Russia.
By: Kelcee Kent (11/21/17)
Growing up in the “State of Hockey”, every kid dreams of playing in the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament at the Excel Energy Center in St. Paul. For Minnesota native and Green Bay Gamblers forward, Jesse Jacques (19), he’s already lived that dream…twice.
Jacques grew up in Hermantown a town of 9,500 located in northern Minnesota just outside of Duluth. Hermantown had established itself as a hockey dynasty. They were also a program that suffered multiple heart-breaking defeats, falling in the state championship in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015. All that heartache would be erased in 2016, as Jacques and his Hawk teammates captured Hermantown’s first state title since 2007.
As a senior, Jacques continued his offensive prowess tallying 23 goals in the regular season. His scoring touch continued in the post season, scoring three goals in the section final. However, in the state tournament, Jacques found himself in a scoring slump:
“It was getting into my head and I was getting down on myself, so I texted my Dad,” Jacques said. “He reassured me I could do it, and when I went back out for period three, I knew I was going to.”
In the third period of the championship game, Jacques found the back of the net to bring the Hawks to within a goal. Two-minutes later the game would be tied and headed for overtime. Overtime in the championship game had not been kind to Hermantown, as they were on the losing end in 2011 and again in 2012. This time around it would be different as the Hawks prevailed in double overtime.
“Being able to play in Minnesota (at home) was special because I was able to grow up playing hockey with my buddies, and having these memorable experiences, like winning championships is something unforgettable” said Jacques.
The two-time state champion was no stranger to the Gamblers, as he had attended the team’s summer tryout camp twice while in high school. Green Bay made it official, selecting Jacques in the 2017 USHL Entry Draft.
“Having the opportunity to attend the Gamblers camps was a great experience for me, and during that time I was able to check out the city and I loved that aspect too,” said Jacques.
Being Jacques first year in the USHL, his transition has been both swift and impressive.
“Jesse brings a ton of big game experience from the championship games with Hermantown,” says Gamblers head coach Pat Mikesch. “He has already adjusted well the USHL, and has the ability to make major strides during his time here in Green Bay.”
Jacques is hoping to build on his early season success and lead the Gamblers to their third Clark Cup since 2010.
“The main thing is to be comfortable on the ice and build confidence as individuals and a team. Growing up playing with my buddies, the chemistry on our team came with our years of friendship,” says Jacques. “And I’m looking forward to seeing that progression this season with the Gamblers.”
On Wednesday the Gamblers return to the Resch Center for their annual Night before Thanksgiving hockey game. Start time versus the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders is 7:05 PM. On Saturday the defending Clark Cup champion Chicago Steel visit the Resch Center. Start time is also 7:05 PM.
Green Bay Gamblers assistant captain Josh Dunne is enjoying his best season in the United States Hockey League. Averaging nearly a point a game, Dunne recently committed to Clarkson University. However, Dunne might not even be the best hockey player in his own family. Based on who you ask the best of the Dunne clan is older sister Jincy (20).
“Jincy and I couldn’t be more different when it comes to how we play the game,” says Dunne. “Jincy is a smooth skating, up-tempo, puck moving defenseman. And I’m meat and potatoes, grind it out and crash the net type player.”
At just 16 years old, Jincy was one of the last players cut from the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team. She would have been the team’s youngest player by over three years and only the second player to ever make the team at such a young age. She’d go on to play for the national team at the U18 World Championships a total of three times. Her overtime goal at the 2015 tournament, where she was captain of Team USA, secured gold for the Americans.
After captaining Team USA to the gold medal, Jincy joined Josh on the St. Louis Jr. Blues Midget Minor Boys team. Together they would reach the semi-finals of the national tournament, falling to Team Wisconsin.
“The national tournament that year was played in Green Bay. More ironic was that Trenton Bliss and Carver Watson were members of the team that best us” says Dunne.
Although their paths led them in separate directions, concussion issues would bring Josh and Jincy together. After committing to Ohio State, Jincy missed the entire 2015-16 season due to concussion issues. All in all, she would be away from the game for a total of 581 days. Josh also suffered concussion issues during his rookie season in the USHL, limiting him to just 21 games.
“It was really hard on both Jincy and I to be away from the game for such a long period of time,” says Dunne. “We both love to play and to not be able to do something you love tests your character.”
Both Josh and Jincy have bounced back from injury. Josh is having his best season in the USHL and Jincy garnered 2016-2017 WCHA All Rookie and WCHA Third Team honors.
The younger Dunne siblings look to follow in the footsteps of Josh, Jincy and Jessica (21), the oldest of the Dunne clan, who played three seasons at Ohio State University. Josh has high expectations for each of his younger siblings Josey (15), Josh (14) and Joy (12).
“Josey, Josh and Joy are all very good players,” says Dunne. “Let’s just say none of them are grinders, a finesse style is more their game.”
Josh attributes the family’s athletic ability to their parents, Tom and Tammy both of whom were athletes themselves. Tom played soccer as TCU (Texas Christian University), while Tammy played basketball during her high school career. Because of their athletic past, the Dunne parents have been able to guide and keep grounded their six children through their hockey careers.
“Our parents have always been really influential with hockey,” said Dunne. “They have always tried to help us and gives us any opportunities they could. And with six kids, it is hard to split their time, but they are able to manage it.”
With six siblings playing hockey the Dunne family could field a forward line, defensive pair and the goalie would be pulled for the extra-attacker. Or based on his grinding style, they would tell Josh to stand in the net. Either way I like their chances.
Today the USHL announced forward Trenton Bliss has been named USHL Forward of the Week.
Bliss tallied two points (1G, 1A) in an overtime loss to Chicago on Friday night before adding three more points (1G, 2A) to help Green Bay to a shootout victory over the Steel on Saturday, snapping the defending champ’s six-game win streak. The Appleton, WI native is one of the hottest players in the USHL right now, earning a point in each of his last seven games, with 13 points (5G, 8A) during that span. He has recorded multiple points in four of those seven contests and is a big reason why the Gamblers are currently one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Bliss is playing in his second USHL season after playing 24 games with Green Bay last year, tallying an assist. He is currently uncommitted and previously played for the Coulee Region Chill (NAHL), Team Wisconsin (USHS) and Appleton United (USHS). He was selected in the 12th round, 193rd overall by the Gamblers in the 2014 USHL Phase II Draft.
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