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Top 2014 prospects highlight USHL All-Star teams

by Mike G. Morreale

Top 2014 NHL Draft prospects Brandon Montour of the Waterloo Black Hawks, Jacob Randolph of the Omaha Lancers and Matheson Iacopelli of the Muskegon Lumberjacks were recognized Thursday as First Team All-Stars by the United States Hockey League.

The USHL All-Star Teams were determined by a vote of league coaches and general managers. Seven different teams were represented on the First and Second All-Star teams.

Montour, No. 92 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for this year's draft, was named the USHL player of the year and best defenseman for 2013-14. He finished ninth in scoring with 62 points (14 goals, 48 assists). Montour put together an 18-game point streak, a span that saw him total four goals and 27 points as Waterloo went 16-1-1. The University of Massachusetts recruit ranked sixth in the league with a plus-35 rating.

Iacopelli, No. 98 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, had a league-high 41 goals and tied for seventh with 63 points. The 6-foot-1, 192-point right wing had 12 power-play goals and six game-winning goals, and led his team with a plus-12 rating. The Western Michigan University-bound Iacopelli also had a league-high eight-game goal streak early in the season.

Randolph, considered a player to watch for the 2014 draft, was named USHL forward of the year after leading the league in scoring with 86 points (26 goals, 60 assists) in 60 regular-season games. Committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha, Randolph finished 12 points ahead of the next highest scorer, and his 60 assists set a new USHL Tier 1 era (2002-present) mark for a season. He put together a 14-game point streak (eight goals, 28 points) during the season. He was No. 197 at Central Scouting's midterm ranking release in January but wasn't ranked on the final release in April.

Waterloo defenseman Mark Friedman, No. 124 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American top skaters, and Omaha forward Tyler Vesel (No. 188) were named Second Team All-Stars.

Friedman, who is headed to Bowling Green University, was fourth among USHL defensemen with 40 points (10 goals, 30 assists) in 51 games. Vesel, committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha, was third in scoring with 71 points (33 goals, 38 assists) in 49 regular season games.

Also earning a Second Team All-Star spot was top 2015 draft-eligible center Jack Eichel of the United States National Team Development Program Under-18 team. Eichel, 17, had 20 goals and 25 points in 24 games, but his 45 points tied for 29th. He had 17 multiple-point performances and five multi-goal efforts. Eichel, considered by many to be a candidate to be the top pick of the 2015 draft, is committed to Boston University.


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