After a one game weekend, the Saints will cross the halfway point of the season with three games in three days. Dubuque kicks off their week with a Thursday night contest against the NTDP U-17’s before hitting the road against the Omaha Lancers and the Lincoln Stars. It will be Dubuque’s second three in three this season and also second since the holiday break ended. Dubuque managed a 1-2 record in their first three in three.
-The Fighting Saints look strong on Saturday night in their lone game against Waterloo. Erik Portillo stopped 38 shots for his 13th win of the season. Stephen Halliday continued his hot streak, notching two points which gives him 11 in the last 10 games.
-Riese Gaber also found the back of the net, now registering 20 goals for the second year in a row. Gaber is three off the league lead and just eight away from 50 career goals. Only two Fighting Saints have every reached the 50-goal threshold before in the team’s Tier-1 history.
-With their win Saturday, the Saints moved to 21-8-1 on the season. Their winning percentage is third best in the league, and they are just two points back from second in the East.
-At nearly the halfway mark of the season, the Saints have continued to show that they are never out of a game this year. Dubuque has lost nine games this season. Of those nine loses only three have been by more than one goal. In all three of those games, Dubuque has lost by two goals and the extra goal has been an empty-netter in every case.
-Dubuque also possesses the best defense in the league. They are giving up just under 2.3 goals per game and are on pace to match the goals allowed total to put up by the Tri-City Storm last season.
-The U-17 squad is one of just three teams that Dubuque has played this season, who the Fighting Saints haven’t beat yet. They own a 5-4 overtime win and a 7-5 regulation win over the Saints. The last time out, Dubuque was finishing off a three in three and allowed their most goals in any game this season.
-The U-17’s has been the main reason for the success of the collective Team USA this season. However, after winning 11 in a row, the team has slowed a bit, posting a 4-5-1 record in their last 10 games.
-The game is a big one for Team USA as they remain two points ahead of Dubuque but have played five more games. If the Saints can equalize in points and maintain that five-game advantage, it might be tough for Team USA to catch up the way the Saints have been trending.
-Last time Omaha played Dubuque, the Lancers had yet to make their big blockbuster trade with Muskegon. Now, the Lancers are a different team and playing at a much higher level. They are 6-3-1 in their last 10 and sit three points back of third in the West.
-The Lancers are a very solid defensive team, posting the fourth best goals against total in the league. Omaha has allowed 93 goals this season, which makes them just one of two teams in the West who have allowed less than 100 goals.
-Alex Campbell, who led the Lancers in points last time these two teams played, is still the team leader in that category. He is the only player on the team with over a point per game, totaling 29 in 28 games.
-The Stars have been treading water around .500 after their scorching hot start to the season. They seem to be back to their old ways after last weekend’s performance against the NTDP. Lincoln tallied 11 goals in two games while allowing just five to one of the better offenses in the league.
-Lincoln’s strength is their offense, as they have scored 121 goals this season which is good for tops in the West and third in the league. However, they have struggled mightily on defense, allowing 120 goals this season which is worst in the West and fourth worst in the league.
-Those numbers are reflected on special teams as well. Lincoln has the third best power play in the league at 21.5%. However, they also have the worst penalty kill in the league at 72.6%. Only three teams have been shorthanded fewer times than Lincoln, but the Stars have still struggled in those instances, giving up 32 goals shorthanded, third most in the USHL.