After playing them five times during the month of February, the Fighting Saints will once again take on their in-state rivals the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in a Dupaco Cowbell Cup matchup. The RoughRiders are coming off a 1-0 overtime win against the Chicago Steel, win which Aidan McDonough scored the lone goal. Dubuque is coming off a tough weekend against the Tri-City Storm. Despite losing both games, Dubuque grabbed a point and challenged the top team in the league for over 120 minutes.
-Dubuque is planted in sixth for the time being, but their magic number has dwindled to just three. With three games this weekend, the Fighting Saints need any combination of three points through their wins or Central Illinois loses. Dubuque plays CI on Sunday and with a win in that game would clinch regardless of what happens before.
-Cedar Rapids is locked in a tight battle for the two seed and a first-round bye in the Clark Cup Playoffs. CR is two points ahead of Youngstown and two points behind Chicago, sitting in third in the East. The RoughRiders have been one of the hottest teams of late, going 7-2-1-0 in their last 10.
-This will be the final regular season matchup between the two teams at Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. CR boasts the top home record in the USHL and have allowed an impressive 2.28 goals per game on home ice. Cedar Rapids is 2-2 against Dubuque when playing at home but have lost only in regulation at home since the turn of the calendar. That was February 8th against Dubuque.
-The RoughRiders are the league’s second-best defensive team, allowing 140 goals total this season, which equates to 2.5 per game. Only the Tri-City Storm have allowed fewer goals this season.
-Dubuque has been a fantastic road team this season, accumulating 15 regulation and overtime wins. That total is second best in the East and third best in the USHL. This will be the second to last road game for the Saints.
-Riese Gaber is red-hot for the Fighting Saints. Gaber has shot up the point charts recently with a nine-game point streak. During the streak he has accounted for seven goals and seven assists. Gaber sits second on Dubuque with 45 points.
-Jason Polin has been streaking for CR along with Nathan Smith. Polin has 11 points in the last 10 games and Smith has 13 in the last 12. Polin is the leading goal scorer on CR and he has four multi-point games in the last eight outings for the RoughRiders. Smith is the leading scorer and has totaled 17 goals and 30 assists up to this point, the exact same stat line he had last season, in one fewer game.
-Currently, the Fighting Saints are on the outside looking in when it comes to the Cowbell Cup standings. Dubuque sits at five points, while CR and Waterloo have 13. Dubuque would have to win their final four Cowbell Cup games in regulation to tie the mark set by Waterloo and Cedar Rapids.
-The RoughRiders are 31-7-2-2 when allowing three goals or less. That means that they have allowed more than three goals juts 14 times this season. In addition, when they don’t give up much, they are very tough to beat.