On 'Black Friday', the biggest shopping day of the year in the U.S., the Chicago Steel got an early Christmas present with a 4-2 win over one of the USHL's top teams in the Lincoln Stars.
Both clubs had struggled of late however, with the Steel losing four of their last five games entering the contest and have struggled with consistency and injuries to key players.
Chicago's lineup features a pair of 2012 NHL draft picks in Mackenzie MacEachern, (StL, 67), and Jaccob Slavin (Car, 120) - plus two to watch for in 2013 in Thomas Ebbing and highly-touted New England prospect Tyler Hill.
Unfortunately, Hill did not play due to a suspension from an altercation during a game against the USA U-18s the prior weekend.
USHL correspondent Matt Barth files this report on Ebbing.
Thomas Ebbing (C/LW, 2013), Chicago - much sought-after NCAA prospect whose NHL draft stock continues to rise as the season progresses .. played for Team USA at the World Jr A Challenge, helping the ‘Stars and Stripes’ to a gold medal at the event .. making a remarkably smooth transition in his rookie USHL season - though is in familiar company on a line with Mackenzie MacEachern, his teammate the past two seasons at Brother Rice Prep High School in Michigan .. scored six times in his first nine games and currently sits tied for third in team scoring (17-7-6-13) .. industrious two-way center .. displays solid instincts away from the puck - and a penchant for the defensive aspects of the game .. reads and anticipates plays well .. speedy skater propelled by quick feet and a strong, efficient stride .. good acceleration - gets up to full speed in first three steps .. footwork is quick and smooth moving laterally .. brings a steady net-front presence in the offensive zone, especially on the power play .. does an excellent job of keeping his stick free in order to get to tips and rebounds .. wins a majority of his face-offs .. always in stout position for puck support .. excels in puck pursuit - takes proper angles when pressuring the puckcarrier, often dictating the play in the opposition’s end .. defends passing lanes well - aided by productive stick work .. makes plays at both ends of the rink - powered by a high compete level .. adding weight to his 5-foot-11, 165-pound frame will be critical - and should help increase the strength and explosiveness in his stride .. Ebbing appears to have some considerable upside and potential based on the tools he possesses, especially his skating ability .. could be a potential steal in the later rounds and, with continued adjustment to the USHL level, may even garner 3rd or 4th-round consideration.