Two Washington Capitals Capitals prospects, Zach Sanford and Brian Pinho, will play against each other in the Clark Cup finals of the USHL, the top-tier junior league in the United States.
Pinho’s Indiana Ice swept the Dubuque Fighting Saints in a best-of-five series while Sanford’s Waterloo Black Hawks needed four games to defeat the Sioux City Musketeers, a team featuring another Caps prospect, Blake Heinrich.
After two series, Sanford, a 61st overall pick at the 2013 Draft, has seven points in seven games, while Pinho, who was a 174th overal pick at the same Draft and finished 15th in points in the regular season, has just three in seven.
The finals will begin on Friday. Games 1, 2, and 5 will be played at Waterloo Young Arena, while games 3 and 4 will be hosted by Indiana at Pan Am Arena.
The Ice, which have produced four players in the Caps organization (John Calrson, Cam Schilling, Stan Galiev, and Joel Rechlicz), will not play in the USHL next season due to arena issues as the league announced on Sunday. The hiatus will mean returning players and the team’s prospects will be a subject to a dispersal draft.
Heinrich, who had four points in eight playoff games, has completed his USHL career. He will now report to the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL, who are currently leading 2-0 against Edmonton Oil Kings in the league finals.
Following the conclusion of the season, both players will move on to college rinks in their home region of New England. Beverly, Massachusetts native Pinho is committed to Providence College, while Auburn, New Hampshire native Sanford will enroll at Boston College.