MUSKEGON, MI - Four Muskegon Lumberjacks earned spots on the All-USHL teams as voted on by USHL general managers, the league announced today. Defensemen Alex Yakovenko and Nic Belpedio; forward Egor Afanasyev, and goaltender Brandon Bussi were all honored by the league.
Yakovenko headlined the trio with a spot on the All-USHL first team after posting 52 points in 56 games this season, tied for the second-most among all USHL blueliners. Yakovenko’s 19 goals were second-most in the USHL for d-men, and the most ever scored by a Lumberjacks defenseman in a single season. Yakovenko will finish his career in Muskegon having scored 22 career goals, a team record for defense, and his 69 career points are second only to his defense partner, Colby Bukes.
Afanasyev and Bussi were each named to the All-USHL third team after each had memorable seasons. Bussi recorded a team-record 33 wins in the regular season, and his seven shutouts led the USHL and were one shy of Kevin Lindskoug’s team record. His 2.44 goals against average was fourth in the league, and within a fraction of Keith Petruzzelli’s team record of 2.40. In game one of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Bussi became just the third Jacks netminder to post a playoff shutout.
Afanasyev led the team in most offensive categories, including goals (27), assists (35), points (62), game-winning goals (6), power-play points (19) and shots on goal (214). Afanasyev’s 76 career points are the most of any Russian-born Lumberjack, and 8th all-time.
Egor is the 16th-ranked North American skater on NHL Central Scouting’s final list, making him a possible first-round pick in the 2019 NHL draft.
Belpedio was named to the USHL All-Academic team after maintaining a 4.0 GPA during his senior year at Niles West high school in Illinois. After skipping eighth grade, Belpedio graduated from Niles West a year early, at just 17 years old.
On the ice, Belpedio registered ten points in his rookie USHL season, including his first multi-point game on January 20th against Lincoln. As the Jacks’ youngest defenseman, Belpedio played in 48 games for Muskegon.
The Lumberjacks face the Dubuque Fighting Saints in game three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals tonight in Dubuque. Rad Dads’ is hosting the Jacks Watch-Party tonight at 8:05 PM.