The Dubuque Fighting Saints will kick off their 2019 preseason slate with two games against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders this weekend. Dubuque opens the preseason on Friday, September 13th at home before traveling to Cedar Rapids the following night. The Saints will look to continue their string of success in their 10th Anniversary of their return to Dubuque. In that span the Fighting Saints have made the playoffs and won at least one round in every season. In addition, the team has won two Clark Cups and one Anderson Cup. Dubuque will play Cedar Rapids eight times this season so the two matchups will serve as a good preview of what is always a heated rivalry.
-The Fighting Saints have 10 players on their 30-man roster who were on last season’s team and an additional four who saw playing time with Dubuque at some point last season. After returning just four players for the 2018-19 season, the Fighting Saints will have a wealth of experience coming back to the ice for the 2019-20 campaign.
-Dubuque will return the scoring threat of Riese Gaber, Dylan Jackson and Ty Jackson as the full line will skate with the Saints again. On the back-end Dubuque will bring back Aidan Fulp and Kaelan Taylor, who provided strong offense to complement their defense last season.
-Not only do the Fighting Saints have a deep group of returners from their own roster, they also have added a few players who skated with different USHL teams last season. Stephen Halliday, who was taken by the Saints in the 2019 Dispersal Draft, will look to cement himself as a 1st-round NHL talent. Ben Schultheis, a former member of the Green Bay Gamblers, will provide some stability on the blue line.
-Dubuque will have fresh faces in between the pipes this season. Erik Portillo and Aidan McCarthy will be the main men in net for Dubuque this season. Portillo is a 3rd round pick of the Buffalo Sabres in the 2019 NHL Draft. McCarthy most recently played for Victory Honda’s U-18, turning in a stellar season for one of the top junior clubs in the nation.
-Last season at the Stable, Dubuque did not have the success they are accustomed to against the RoughRiders. Cedar Rapids was 3-2 against Dubuque on their home ice and 6-3 overall against the Fighting Saints during the regular season. It was the first time since 2013-14 that Cedar Rapids won the regular season series.
-The RoughRiders will return seven players who skated with the team last season. Grant Silianoff will look to lead the offense after finishing the 2018-19 season on a torrid stretch. Will Francis will return on defense.
-Both games can be caught on Dubuque Super Hits 106 with puck drop slated for 7:05 p.m. The second game in Cedar Rapids will not be aired on Hockey TV, but Dubuque’s home game will be covered on the video streaming platform.