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Forsbacka-Karlsson, Birdsall earn USHL honors

by Mike G. Morreale

Omaha Lancers forward Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson and Youngstown Phantoms goaltender Chris Birdsall, each B-rated prospects on NHL Central Scouting's November players to watch list from the United States Hockey League for the 2015 NHL Draft, were chosen as league players of the week at their respective positions.

Forsbacka-Karlsson, who is committed to Boston University in 2015-16, had four goals and nine points in three games last week. The 18-year-old is in his second season in the USHL with the Lancers after spending 2012-13 with Linkoping in his native Sweden. The 6-foot-1, 192-pound center had 11 goals, 33 points and a plus-11 rating in 60 games last season. He has six goals, 19 points and a plus-2 rating in 18 games in 2014-15.

Birdsall, a native of Glen Rock, N.J., will attend Boston College in 2015-16. He had an 0.96 goals-against-average and .964 save percentage in two games last week to help the Phantoms earn three of a possible four points in a weekend series against the Muskegon Lumberjacks.

Birdsall is in his first season with the Phantoms after spending the previous two seasons with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. He came to the USHL after competing with the North Jersey Avalanche organization. Birdsall is 4-1-3 and ranks ninth among USHL goaltenders with a 2.75 GAA.

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