Preview: Central Illinois vs. Madison – USHL Fall Classic

Flying Aces play middle game of Fall Classic schedule at 12:45 p.m. CT

Cranberry Township, Pa. — The Central Illinois Flying Aces (1-1-0) square off with the Madison Capitols (1-0-0) on Saturday afternoon at 12:45 p.m. CT in its second of three games at the 2017 USHL Fall Classic in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania.

Last time out: The Flying Aces scored twice in the final 10 minutes of the second period to take a lead heading into the third, but Team USA struck for four goals in the final frame to top Central Illinois, 5-2. Goaltender Erik Gordon finished with 22 saves on 27 shots for the Flying Aces, while Team USA’s Jon Mor stopped 24 of 26 shots.

In Madison’s only official preseason game to this point, the Capitols shut out the Green Bay Gamblers, 4-0, in Madison on Sept. 14. It was four returners who scored in the game for Madison, as Mick Messner, Konur Peterson, Vincent de Mey and Connor Mayer all tallied. Dryden McKay stopped all 31 shots he faced in goal to earn the shutout.


USHL Fall Classic: For the first time since the 2012-13 season, all 17 USHL teams will compete at the same Fall Classic. Prior to this season, the Fall Classic had been split into two regions for the last four seasons. It’s one of the premier events of the season for the USHL with coaches and scouts from nearly all NCAA Division I and NHL teams. The Fall Classic is also the last chance for coaches to evaluate their team’s talent to make final cuts prior to the start of the 2017-18 regular season.


Scouting Madison:
Last season, the Capitols finished seventh in the Eastern Conference with 51 points and a 23-32-1-4 record in their third season since joining the USHL as an expansion team in 2014-15. Madison will aim to finish above .500 for the first time in team history this season and has a good crop of returning players, with 11 players on its current roster who played for the Capitols last season.


Need to Know
Through the Aces first two official USHL preseason games, rookies have accounted for six of the seven goals including both tallies on Friday against Team USA. Defenseman Simon Butala tabbed the only other goal after posting three points in 2016-17.

The Flying Aces have yet to surrender a power-play goal through two preseason games, killing off both of Team USA’s opportunities on Friday. Central Illinois has averaged less than three opponent power plays per game in the preseason. In Friday’s contest, the Aces had only four total penalty minutes while Team USA was assessed nine penalties for 32 minutes.


 Preseason Game 3: Central Illinois vs. Madison

 When: 12:45 p.m. CT

 Where: UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex (Penguins Rinks)

 Watch: HockeyTV (paid subscription)

 Listen: Mixlr

 Social: Twitter | Instagram | Snapchat  (ciflyingaces)

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Central Illinois finished with a 2-1-1 record against the Capitols last season. Madison won the most recent meeting, a 2-1 overtime victory in Bloomington on March 12, 2017. The Flying Aces have outscored the Caps 35-21 in 12 all-time meetings.

Madison returns four players who posted 15 or more points last season including Mick Messner (31 points), Alex Broetzman (16 points), Vincent de Mey (16 points), and Verners Egle (12 points).


Players to Watch
Central Illinois: Mike Callahan — Callahan is a little more than a week removed from competing at the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects game as one of the top American-born draft-eligible players for the 2018 NHL Draft. He tallied his first preseason goal in his first preseason game on Friday afternoon in the Flying Aces’ Fall Classic opener. He had 32 points a season ago with Roxbury Latin Prep.

Madison: Mick Messner — The leading returning scorer for the Capitols, Messner tallied 31 points in his second season in the USHL last season, an increase of 27 points from his rookie season in 2015-16. The University of Wisconsin commit finished second on the team in goal scoring with his 13 tallies in 2016-17 and will be looked to as a key part of the Caps’ offense this season.


Drawing Connections
Central Illinois’ Davis Bunz and Madison’s Anthony Callin both hail from Middleton, Wisconsin, which is also the site of Bob Suter’s Capitol Ice Arena where Madison plays its home games.

Jamie Armstrong (CIL) and Connor Mayer (MAD) both played for the Sioux City Musketeers last season. Mayer played in 47 games, while Armstrong played in 13 contests.

Aces forward Roman Ahcan and Caps forward Cade Borchardt both played for Burnsville High School in the 2014-15 season. In addition, Aces assistant coach Andy Contois coached Borchardt last season while both were with the Brookings Blizzard a season ago.

Central Illinois’ Jeremy Davidson and Madison’s Michael Schumacher played together in 2016-17 with Shattuck St. Mary’s Midget Prep.


Future teammates
University of Wisconsin: Brady Smith (CIL), Mick Messner (MAD)

University of Connecticut: Drew Elser (CIL), Connor Mayer (MAD)

Cornell University: Sebastian Dirven (CIL), Misha Song (MAD)

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