It will be a matchup of two top-four teams in the league as the Dubuque Fighting Saints and the Chicago Steel clash for the first two times this season in a home and home. Chicago has been the most impressive team in the USHL as everyone closes in on the halfway mark of the season. They are first in the league and currently six points up on the Saints in the Eastern Conference standings. Dubuque, meanwhile, has sputtered a bit since the holiday break, going just 2-3 during their first five games back.
-Dubuque split last weekend with Waterloo, losing 3-2 on home ice and downing the Hawks 8-2 in Waterloo. Dubuque’s 8-2 win at Young Arena was just the second ever win by an opposing team by six goals at Young Arena. Dubuque has the other victory by six, also this season.
-Chicago has been a buzz saw since the break ended and they have been that way all season long. The Steel have scored seven goals three times and nine goals once in the four games since break ended. On the season, the Steel average an incredible 5.03 goals per game.
-Chicago is the only team in the league with three players or more at 30 points or more. The Steel have six players with 30 points or more, including the top four scorers in the USHL in Seasn Farrell, Mathieu De St. Phalle, Sam Colangelo and Gunnarwolfe Fontaine.
-Dubuque is the only other team in the USHL with more than one player in the top 10 of scoring. Both Dylan and Ty Jackson are over 30 points for the Saints. Ty leads the team with 34 in 27 games and Dylan is right on his heels with 33 in that same span.
-The weekend matchup will feature two teams in the top five of the USHL in the following categories: wins, winning percentage, goals for, goals against, power play and penalty kill percentage and goal differential. Chicago ranks number one in all of those categories except goals against and PK, while Dubuque is number one in goals against.
-The Saints will get a boost in net with Erik Portillo coming back from the World Juniors. Aidan McCarthy performed well for Dubuque with Portillo out, winning four of his six starts between the pipes. Portillo, however, is top five in every goalie statistic in the league and will look to reestablish himself as one of the league’s elite.
-Despite playing in the same conference and being just under three hours away from each other, Chicago and Dubuque will matchup just four times this season. In contrast Dubuque plays out of conference Waterloo and Des Moines eight times each.
-There is no doubt the game will feature a contrast of styles. Chicago has imposed their skill and offensive firepower on teams every step of the way this season. Dubuque on the other hand, have shut down teams with a stifling method of defense. Either way, both teams have been successful in the early going.
-Chicago’s offense averages over five goals a game this season and have scored 141 goals total this season. The Steel have scored six or more goals 10 times this season. In contrast, the stifling defense of the Saints has allowed two goals or fewer 18 times this year.
-After Friday night’s game, Dubuque will have a stretch of four in a row on home ice. The Saints will have three more instances of at least three home games in a row during the second half of the USHL season.
-Friday and Saturday’s games will be broadcast on Dubuque Super Hits 106 as well as Hockey TV. For tickets to Saturday’s home game, visit DubuqueFightingSaints.com or call 563.583.6880.