KEARNEY, Neb. – The Tri-City Storm have won three of their last four games, including a sweep of the Youngstown Phantoms thanks to the help of forward Joel L’Esperance, who has led the way with nine goals over the past two weeks. After his tremendous efforts, the forward has been awarded the league’s Forward of the Week honor for the second consecutive week.
L’Esperance scored a total of five goals for the second straight week during the team’s three games, including an overtime winning goal on Friday night.
Recognized on Dec. 9 for his six-point week that included a four-goal game, the Storm’s leading scorer has been on fire this month. The Michigan Tech recruit is now second in the USHL with 18 goals in the team’s 26 games.
In a back-and-forth, exciting game with the Phantoms on Friday night, L’Esperance took over, recording a hat trick that included the game-winner to give Tri-City a 6-5 victory. The first line center registered a power play goal and a shorthanded tally in addition to his strike in the extra session.
The next day, the 18-year-old scored a shorthanded goal to give the Storm the lead in the second period and then sealed the victory with an empty netter late in the third period.
L’Esperance’s performance against Cedar Rapids on Dec. 7 cemented his name in the team’s record books, as he became the first Tri-City Storm player to ever score four goals in a single game.
The back-to-back awards are the second and third honors for Storm players from the league this season, as Jacob Johansson was named goaltender of the week on Oct. 7 after shutting out Des Moines.
Tri-City is in the midst of a 12-day winter break. They are back in action on Dec. 27 when they head to Omaha to face the Lancers at 7:05 p.m.
The Storm are back at the Viaero Event Center on Saturday, Dec. 28 to play the Sioux Falls Stampede, also at 7:05.