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Stephen Halliday, Connor Kurth Earn All-USHL Honors

By Jordan Kuhns, 06/03/22, 10:00AM CDT

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Two organizational greats cap off Saints careers with league all-star nods

CHICAGO — Dubuque Fighting Saints forwards Stephen Halliday and Connor Kurth added another honor to their mantles. Halliday, who broke multiple USHL and Fighting Saints records during the 2021–22 season, earned All-USHL First Team honors. Kurth, who finished his Fighting Saints career as one of the organization’s most precise goal scorers, earned All-USHL Second Team honors.

“We’re incredibly proud of both Stephen and Connor for being standout players both this season, and overall, in our organization’s history,” said Fighting Saints GM and President of Hockey Ops Kalle Larsson. “They both had outstanding seasons for our club, and we were excited to see they were bestowed this honor from the league.”

Halliday, the former first overall pick in Phase I of the 2018 USHL Draft put forth the best season of his illustrious career with 35 goals and 60 assists, good for 95 points. Among USHL players, he finished with the second-most points, tied for the fifth-most goals, the second-most assists, tied for the fourth-most game-winning goals (6), tied for the third-most power play assists (22), the sixth-most shots on goal (196), and tied for the most overtime goals (2).

“It’s great getting this recognition, but at the end of the day, I have to thank my teammates, my coaches, and the billets for a great overall year,” Halliday said. “I can’t thank them enough.”

His single-season accolades shattered records which made him arguably the best player to ever play in the USHL’s Tier I era, and arguably the best Fighting Saints player of all time.

Across 215 games in the USHL, he finished his career with the most career regular season points in the Tier I era (215), the most regular season assists in the Tier I era (147), and the third-most points in a single season in the Tier I era (95). He earned the moniker of “All-Time Saint” by becoming the organization’s all-time leader in points (181) and assists (123), and the Tier I leader in goals (58), and assists in a single season (60). His 35 goals on the season were the second-most in the Fighting Saints’ Tier I era in a single season behind Mike Szmatula’s 37.

Halliday dominated nightly during the 2021–22 season. He scored points in 48 of 62 games last season (77.4%). In 31 of those games, he scored multiple points. Halliday set a career-high in points in a single game twice last season, with five points on both December 3 against the Chicago Steel, and on April 15 against the Green Bay Gamblers. His 29 power play points accounted for 67.4% of the Saints’ offense on the man advantage.

The Fighting Saints were among the best offensive teams in the league with a 4.10 goals per game average on 254 goals total. That gave Halliday a share of 37.4% of the team’s total offense. Among his teammates, he finished tops in goals, assists, points, game-winning goals, power play goals and power play assists and first goals.

Halliday was acquired by the Fighting Saints on April 22, 2019, as part of the Central Illinois Flying Aces’ dispersal draft. From there, he became a reliable part of the Saints’ offensive attack for three seasons. In his last season, the Glenwood, Maryland native earned USHL Forward of the Week honors twice, played in the BioSteel All-American Game and scored the game’s opening goal, and finished the season ranked 161st among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting’s final list. He was named a 2020 USHL All-Academic as one of the top high school students in the league.

He is the seventh Fighting Saint in the Tier I era to earn All-USHL First Team honors.

Halliday made his final college choice early in the 2021–22 season, as he chose Ohio State University. He committed to the Buckeyes on October 8, 2021. Assistant coach J.B. Bittner was part of the Saints’ coaching staff during the 2016–17 season.

Kurth, drafted in the eighth round, 111th overall by the Fighting Saints in Phase I of the 2019 USHL Draft, became one of its best players of all time. He scored 81 points in 62 games last season, and 50 goals and 72 assists in his USHL career. His exceptional play earned him the fourth-most goals, eighth-most assists, and fifth-most points in the league this past season.

“It’s a nice honor. It’s an honor to do it in a Fighting Saints jersey with the team that I love and a place that’s so cool and supports us all so much,” Kurth said. “We had a great team and an incredible staff around us that made it special. Just an incredible group.”

The Minnesotan scored points in 44 of 62 games this past season, and contributed to 48.8% of the team’s power play offense (7 goals, 14 assists). Additionally, he posted 25 multi-point efforts last season. His 217 shots on goal ranked fifth-most, his +37 rating was tied for the second-best mark in the league, and he finished the year with a 16.1% shooting percentage. He was named USHL Forward of the Week for Week 6 of the 2021–22 season.

Kurth finished his junior hockey career with the fourth-most goals, the fourth-most assists, and the seventh-highest points-per-game average in the Fighting Saints’ Tier I history. His 81 points trailed only Halliday’s 95 points for the most points in a single season in the Saints’ Tier I history. His on-ice excellence earned him a ranking in NHL Central Scouting’s final North American rankings.

This recognition adds more to Kurth’s history of earning awards from the league. On top of this honor, Kurth was named a 2021 USHL Second Team All-Rookie, was named to the 2021 USHL All-Academic Team, and was named the 2021 USHL Scholar Athlete as the league’s top student with a 4.12 GPA. Lastly, he was given the opportunity to compete in the 2022 BioSteel All-American Game, where he notched a primary assist on the game’s opening goal, scored by Halliday.

Kurth is the 11th Tier-I era Fighting Saint to earn All-USHL Second Team honors.

Kurth is committed to the University of Minnesota, which is coached by former Fighting Saint Bob Motzko, who played for the team in the organization’s inaugural season.