After a successful sweep of the Muskegon Lumberjacks, the Fighting Saints will battle an Eastern Conference foe twice once again this weekend. Dubuque will travel to Green Bay Friday and then return home Saturday as they take on the Gamblers for the first two times this season. The Saints continue to maintain the top winning percentage in the league while the Gamblers have pushed to 11-8-1-3, which is good for a tie for fourth in the East. Both games are slated for 7:05 pm puck drops.
-Dubuque’s defense continues to shine as the team allowed just three goals during their two games over the weekend. Dubuque still leads the league in total goals allowed (41) and goals allowed per game (2.05).
-The Saints will be without one of their main contributors on defense as Erik Portillo has officially joined team Sweden in preparation for the World Junior Championships. Portillo ranks in the top four in nearly every statistical category amongst USHL net minders. Aidan McCarthy will step into the starter role while Hobie Hedquist joins the team as a backup.
-Despite being just a few games over .500, the Green Bay Gamblers numbers suggest that they are a better team than their record. They have allowed the 5th fewest goals in the league and have scored the third most.
-Green Bay also possess one of the top players in the USHL this season in forward Jesse Tucker. Tucker has recorded 14 goals and 25 points which rank second and fourth respectively in the league. He had 43 points in 62 games last season and has no college commitment but likely will soon.
-The Gamblers have struggled on the power play all season long, while Dubuque has been one of the league’s top teams in that regard. However, Green Bay excels a man short as they have the third best PK in the USHL. There five shorthanded goals rank second.
-Dubuque tied the 2012-13 Fighting Saints squad for best record through the first 20 games of a season. They are 16-3-1 this season and the 2012-13 Anderson Cup winning team was 16-3-0-1 after 20 games. If Dubuque goes 6-3-1 through their next 10 they will match that teams success rate through the first 30 games of the season (which used to be the midpoint).
-Braden Doyle is coming alive offensively for the Saints. He was awarded the USHL Defenseman of the Week award after a hat trick and overall a four-point weekend. Doyle leads the Saints and is fourth in the USHL with 14 points from the blue line. He rides a three-game point streak in to Friday.
-Nicholas Zabaneh also earned weekly honors for Green Bay, as he was chosen as the Forward of the Week after a five-point series against Madison. Zabaneh, along with Tucker, are forwards to watch for Green Bay.