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Red Wings Pick Mehlenbacher in USHL Clark Cup Final



Owen Mehlenbacher, Detroit Red Wings'

Could history be repeating itself with another member of the draft class of 2022 for the Detroit Red Wings?

A year ago, left winger Dylan James was earning USHL Rookie of the Year honors as he was leading the Sioux City Musketeers to the league championship. On draft day, the Red Wings would be selecting James with the 40th overall pick. James played his freshman season with the North Dakota Fighting Hawks.

This spring, the Clark Cup final is getting underway Friday in Fargo. It will be featuring the Fargo Force playing the Youngstown Phantoms in a rematch of the 2017-18 final won by Fargo.

Just like last season, there’s a member of Detroit’s 2022 draft class in action in the Clark Cup final. Center Owen Mehlenbacher, Detroit’s 201st overall choice, is playing for the Force. They acquired him from Muskegon in a late-season deal.

As Fargo was beating the Lincoln Stars 8-4 in Game 4 of their USHL semfinal series, Mehlenbacher was accounting for a pair of goals. His first tally opened the scoring, while his second marker would snap a 4-4 tie and proved to be the game winner.

Cole Knuble, son of former Wings player and current Grand Rapids Griffins assistant coach Mike Knuble, netted a hat-trick in the game for Fargo. The younger Knuble attended Detroit’s development camp last summer as a free agent.

Detroit 2022 draftee center Brennan Ali was a member of the vanquished Stars squad.

Red Wings Pick Mehlenbacher Brings Leadership To Force

In six playoff games, Mehlenbacher is showing 2-1-3 totals. However, according to Fargo general manager Cary Eades, the Detroit pick is bringing so much more than mere numbers to the Force.

“Owen is a big body that plays a complete 200 foot game” Eades told of the three-year USHL veteran. “He is known as a leader, and has been through the USHL grind.

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“Additionally, Owen has USHL playoff experience, which is invaluable, and has played some of his best games when the stakes are high.”

In 19 USHL playoff games, the 6-foot-3, 193-pound left shot displays seven goals and seven assists. Mehlenbacher is committed to play for the Wisconsin Badgers next fall.