The Dubuque Fighting Saints will lace their skates for the final two games of the regular season against the Waterloo Black Hawks. The games will both be Dupaco Cowbell Cup matchups as well, with Waterloo having a chance to win the cup with two wins. Dubuque will look to continue their strong play heading in to the postseason. The Saints are coming off back to back wins against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders and the Chicago Steel.
-Dubuque has no chance of knowing who they will play in the first round until Saturday night. No matter what happens on Friday, the Saints will not know their opponent. Any combination of Chicago, Youngstown and Cedar Rapids wining of losing leaves Dubuque up in the air. The only seeding that can be determined on Friday is whether the Saints still have a shot at 5th, and if Chicago can lock up the two seed.
-Though results during Friday and Saturday will not change much for the Saints, Dubuque still has some individual accolades that can be accomplished in the next two games. Matias Maccelli has a chance to become the highest scoring Finnish-born player in USHL tier-1 single season history. Maccelli is one point away from tying Eric Haula, who had 72 points in 2009-10. In addition, if Maccelli hits or eclipses that mark, he will become the leader amongst Scandinavian-born players as well.
-Another few milestone watches are Riese Gaber and his opportunity to get to 50 points in his first USHL season. Willie Knierim has an outside shot at 20 goals, needing three in the final weekend to hit that mark in his final USHL season. In addition, Ty Jackson needs a point to get to 40 on the season.
-The season series between Waterloo and Dubuque has been sharply in favor of the Waterloo Black Hawks. In the four meetings so far, Waterloo is 3-1 and outscoring Dubuque 18-7. The contrast is even greater at Young Arena, where Waterloo has a 2-0 record and 11-1 scoring advantage against the Fighting Saints.
-Though not much will come out of this weekend for Dubuque in terms of seeding, a lot is riding on the weekend for Waterloo. Heading in to the final two games, the Black Hawks have a chance to clinch a first-round bye. They are tied with Sioux Falls at 81 points. Waterloo does hold the tiebreaker over the Stampede.
-The series will feature two of the best power play teams in the USHL. Dubuque is fourth at 22.9% on the season and Waterloo is tied for first at 25.6%. On home ice, the Black Hawks operate at 26.6%. Dubuque’s penalty kill has struggled this season and against Waterloo they have relinquished eight power play goals in the four games.
-Dubuque lost five of their last six games heading in to the playoffs last season. This year they are looking to launch themselves towards the first round instead of backing in. Dubuque has a chance to win four straight heading in to the playoffs or at least win three of four. Building off last weekend would be big for the Fighting Saints.