After a setback in Cedar Rapids, the Fighting Saints are back at home for their final two games of the weekend. Dubuque will take on the Des Moines Buccaneers tonight and then go up against the Central Illinois Flying Aces in a rare Sunday afternoon contest. Dubuque will have a chance to clinch a spot in the Clark Cup playoffs both nights as a win of any kind and a Central Illinois loss of any kind would be enough to push them in to the playoffs now.
-Des Moines is also on the cusp of clinching a playoff spot, as the Buccaneers need a single point added from their magic number. The Buccaneers clinch with a win, loss after regulation or an Omaha Lancers loss of any kind. Central Illinois is likely just delaying the inevitable as they would need to win out and have Dubuque win just once more the rest of the way to make it in to the playoffs.
-Des Moines is coming off a thrashing of the Lincoln Stars, the Buccaneers put up a six-spot over Lincoln and took advantage of an inferior opponent. The Buccaneers seem to be over their slump and are now pushing forward at 6-4 in their last 10.
-The Buccaneers scoring has been the reason for their woes. At the beginning of December, Des Moines was top three in the league in goals scored. Since, they are in the bottom five. However, the Buccaneers have scored three or more in their last four games.
-Matt Brown still leads the charge offensively for the Bucs, with an even 50 points. Brown leads the USHL with six shorthanded goals. He also has three power play goals to comprise his total of 27. Reed Lebster and Jack Perbix are the other two players in the top three on the team in scoring and Perbix just netted his first goal as a Buccaneer last night.
-If you’re the Fighting Saints, Rylee St. Onge is a player to watch out for. He has three points in the two games played against the Saints this season. St. Onge is also working on a four-game point streak. The Buccaneers forward has double the amount of goals than he has assists, with 24 tallies and just 12 apples.
-The Flying Aces have been Flying low in their last 10 games coming in to the weekend. They are 4-4-1-1 in their last 10 which is better than their previous stretch, but still likely not enough to get them in to the playoffs. The Aces remain nine points back of the Fighting Saints.
-Trevor Janicke and Tate Singleton are top two on the team in scoring and have been consistent for most of the season. Janicke leads the team in points with 42 while Singleton is the leading goal scorer with 22.
-Central Illinois, like Des Moines, started off the season scoring at a rapid pace. They have since slowed, and their defense has also given up quite a few goals while the offense has sputtered. That has been the main reason for their struggles.
-The Flying Aces will battle with the Muskegon Lumberjacks tonight in Bloomington before traveling to Dubuque. Central Illinois has played Muskegon tight in their last few tries, even beating the East leading Lumberjacks 4-0 on March 9th.
-Dubuque will have just four games remaining in the regular season after this weekend. Three of the four will be at home as the Saints continue their push towards the playoffs. Dubuque will play Chicago and Cedar Rapids once each and then play Waterloo twice to end the 2018-19 regular season.