There are three NHL draft picks currently taking part in the USHL's Clark Cup Final. One of those players is Maple Leafs prospect Dakota Joshua.
Joshua has been a force for the Sioux Falls Stampede, sitting third in Clark Cup scoring with 12 points in 10 games. The Stampede lead their best of five series with the Muskegon Lumberjacks by a 2-0 margin.
The power forward presence of the Leafs prospect has been a massive asset and his consistency has been a key for the Stampede throughout their Clark Cup run. He has recorded points in seven of the 10 playoff games he has dressed in. The lone game he did not suit up in — game one of Sioux Falls' series against Tri-City — was a 4-2 loss for his club.
The Stampede have rode momentum throughout the post-season. They began their campaign as the fourth seed in the Western Conference, knocking off top seed Sioux City in five games and second seed Tri-City in four.
Muskegon, like Sioux Falls, entered the playoffs as the Eastern Conference's fourth seed. The Lumberjacks haven't been able to find much traction against the Stampede. Not only has Sioux Falls taken the 2-0 series lead, they've outscored their opponents by a 9-3 margin. Games one and two took place at Muskegon's LC Walker Arena.
Looking ahead to next season, Joshua has committed to the Ohio State Buckeyes hockey program and you'd be hard pressed to find a better way to wrap up a USHL career than with a Clark Cup title. If the Stampede seal the deal on May 15, it would double as a pretty great birthday gift for the now 19-year-old.
Game three takes place on Friday, May 15 at 8:05 p.m. (ET). Game four, if necessary, will go on Sunday, May 17 at 7:05 p.m. (ET). Those looking to watch the series and track the Leafs prospect can catch the broadcast in HD on FASTHockey.com
Take a look at some of Joshua's best moments from the USHL playoffs.