Minor League Sports

Liam Walsh of Cedar Rapids RoughRiders selected for USHL's Curt Hammer Award

Goalie Blake Pietila, forward Grant Silianoff named to all-league teams

RoughRiders left wing player Liam Walsh leads a discussion about bullying at LaSalle Middle School in Cedar Rapids on We
RoughRiders left wing player Liam Walsh leads a discussion about bullying at LaSalle Middle School in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. The RoughRiders worked with local middle schoolers and the Cedar Rapids Police Department to develop an anti-bullying program to reach fifth through eighth graders. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Liam Walsh of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders has been named the 2019 recipient of the United States Hockey League’s Curt Hammer Award, the league announced Tuesday.

The award recognizes the player who “distinguishes himself on and off the ice by demonstrating outstanding performance skills, leadership, pride and determination.” The late Hammer was president of the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers in the 1980s and was secretary for the USHL.

This is Walsh’s fourth season with the RoughRiders, and he is the team’s captain. He is the third consecutive C.R. winner of the Curt Hammer Award, following Marc McLaughlin last year and Riese Zmolek in 2017.

“I’ve been fortunate to coach some very special young men over my 20 years as the head coach and general manager of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders,” Carlson said. “Liam’s impact on our hockey team and our community are unmatched. Liam wanted to lead, strived to make an impact, and he did so with tremendous passion on a daily basis, seven days a week, all season long. He will be missed dearly in Cedar Rapids, but not forgotten, as his impact will last forever. I couldn’t be prouder of him, and I’m very confident Curt Hammer would be extremely proud as well.”

The USHL announced its postseason all-star teams Tuesday, as determined by vote of the league’s head coaches and general managers.

Blake Pietila of the RoughRiders was named an All-USHL second team pick as goaltender. A Michigan Tech commit, Pietila was second in the USHL with 30 regular-season victories, ranking third in goals against average (2.30) and fourth in save percentage (.912).

Forward Grant Silianoff was voted to the All-USHL rookie second team. The Notre Dame commit had 18 goals and 41 points in 55 regular-season games.


The All-USHL first team consisted of forwards Nick Abruzzese (Chicago), Bobby Brink (Sioux City) and Brett Murray (Youngstown), defensemen Ronnie Attard (Tri-City) and Alex Yakovenko (Muskegon), and goaltender Isaiah Saville (Tri-City).

The All-USHL second team was forwards Matias Maccelli (Dubuque), Ben Meyers (Fargo) and Matt Brown (Des Moines), defensemen Matteo Pietroniro (Chicago) and Zac Jones (Tri-City), and Pietila.

Forwards Emil Ohrvall (Waterloo), Egor Afanasyev (Muskegon) and Robert Mastrosimone (Chicago) were All-USHL third teamers, as were defensemen Max Crozier (Sioux Falls) and Hank Sorensen (Waterloo) and goalies Brandon Bussi (Muskegon) and Akira Schmid (Omaha).

The USHL all-rookie first team consisted of forwards Shane Pino (Tri-City), Vladislav Firstov (Waterloo) and Marcus Kallionkieli (Sioux City), defensemen Jones and Ryan Johnson (Sioux Falls), and goalie Saville.

Joining Silianoff on the all-rookie second team were forward Anthony Romano (Sioux Falls) and Josh Nodler (Fargo), defensemen Owen Power (Chicago) and Anthony Kehrer (Sioux City), and goaltender Logan Stein (Waterloo).

Dubuque’s Mason McCormick was selected the USHL Scholar-Athlete of the Year. The USHL all-academic team consisted of McCormick and Ty Jackson of Dubuque, Christian Berger of Madison, Nick Belpedio of Muskegon, Cole McWard of Tri-City and Jack Malone of Youngstown.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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