Forward: Eric Esposito – Youngstown Phantoms
2 GP: 5 goals, 0 assists, +3 rating
Esposito scored twice on Thursday against Team USA before closing the regular season with a hat-trick in the Phantoms’ final game of the regular season, a 5-3 triumph over the Muskegon Lumberjacks on Saturday night. The New Hampshire commit finished the regular season with 33 points (23G, 10A) in 60 games, good for fifth on Youngstown in scoring and more than doubling his career high in points. He also ended the regular season on a high note, with goals in four of his final five games, so he is heading into the Clark Cup Playoffs playing extremely well. A native of West Haven, CT, Esposito is in his third season with Youngstown. He has recored 59 points (34G, 25A) in 160 USHL games and was originally selected by the Phantoms in the 16th round, 249th overall in the 2014 USHL Phase II Draft. Esposito played for The Loomis Chaffee School (USHS) prior to his time in the USHL.
Defenseman: Ben Finkelstein – Waterloo Black Hawks
2 GP: 2 goals, 3 assists, +7 rating
Finkelstein scored a goal and dished out two assists on Friday before adding two more points (1G, 1A) on Saturday to help Waterloo clinch the third Anderson Cup in team history. Those two performances earned him Defenseman of the Week honors for the fourth time in the past six weeks and the fifth time overall this season, a remarkable accomplishment. Finkelstein only played in 23 games after joining Waterloo midway through the year, but he finished the regular season with 34 points (8G, 26A) in those 23 games, leading all Waterloo defensemen and tied for seventh among all USHL blueliners. He has been remarkably consistent as well, recording at least one point in 18 of his 23 appearances and will look to keep his consistent play going heading into the Clark Cup Playoffs. A native of South Burlington, VT, Finkelstein was selected in the seventh round, 195th overall by the Florida Panthers at the 2016 NHL Draft. He previously played for St. Lawrence University (NCAA), the Boston Jr. Bruins (MHSL) and Kimball Academy (USHS).
Goaltender: Ben Kraws – Sioux City Musketeers
2-0-0-1, 1.30 GAA, .957 SV%
Kraws was between the pipes for all three of Sioux City’s games and gave three stellar performances. He stopped all 32 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season in a win at Sioux Falls on Wednesday, made 26 saves on 28 shots in a victory over at Tri-City on Friday and finished the regular season with a 32-save performance on Saturday in Omaha. The Miami University commit played in 20 games during the 2017-18 season, amassing a record of 5-4-1-3. He finished the season strong, allowing two goals or fewer in five of his final six appearances. The Cranbury, NJ native was named to the 2017 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game and was listed on November’s NHL Central Scouting Players to Watch List. Kraws just finished his first USHL season after playing for the Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL).