After hitting 30 wins on the season, the Dubuque Fighting Saints will close out the month of February with two home games against Sioux City and Sioux Falls. Dubuque won their 30th game in just the 43rd game overall this season. It is the second fastest they have made it to 30 wins in the Tier-1 era. They sit 12 points clear of third place Team USA in the East and will close out season series with both Sioux City and Sioux Falls this weekend.
-Dubuque is riding a seven-game home winning streak coming into this game, their third longest of the Tier-1 era. Dubuque has been dominant at the Mystique Ice Center all season, winning 15 of 20 games. Over their win streak, the Saints have outscored their opponents 40-12. They have scored six or more goals in four of those seven wins.
-The milestone watch will be in full effect for Riese Gaber this weekend as he fast approaches multiple career goals. Gaber is one point away from 100 on his USHL career, two goals away from setting the career record for the Saints in the Tier-1 era and six goals away from setting a new Dubuque single-season record.
-Dubuque has fared well against Sioux City and Sioux Falls this season, beating them both in the only meetings this year. Aidan McCarthy shutout the Musketeers 1-0 for his first USHL shutout on October 19th. Dubuque beat Sioux Falls 3-2 in overtime on November 30th with McCarthy also getting the win.
-Dubuque’s numbers speak for themselves this year, but the defense has always been the focal point. The Saints 105 goals allowed is the lowest mark of any team this season. In fact, no other team has allowed fewer than 120 goals.
-On offense, only Chicago and Team USA have found the back of the net more than the Saints. Their 162 goals rank third in the East and USHL. Their 88 goals on home ice rank second.
-Four of the next five games for Dubuque will be at home. The Saints face the Sioux’s this weekend, before taking on Chicago next weekend on Friday and then Waterloo the following Wednesday for their makeup game.
-The Musketeers might have thrown in the towel at the trade deadline when they traded Sam Stange and Ian Malcolmson, their two top scorers. The Musketeers sit eight points out of a playoff spot in the West, have lost six in a row and have won just twice in their last 10 games.
-Sioux City struggles have largely come from a lack of offense. They have scored the third fewest goals this season and without Stange and Malcolmson the offense just lost 34 of those goals.
-Though the Musketeers aren’t out of the playoffs yet, the situation is bleak. Sioux City will need to rely on players stepping up and a power play that is clicking at 19% to be the catalysts for a late run.
-Over the last three seasons, Dubuque has controlled the season series with the Musketeers. The Saints are 4-1-1 in the six matchups since the 2017-18 season began.
-The team who claimed Sam Stange and Ian Malcolmson just happens to be Dubuque’s Saturday opponent. Sioux Falls is making a push for the playoffs and continue to roll since a 3-12-1 start. The Stampede are 17-5-4-1 since their slow start.
-They addressed their biggest need of offense during the deadline, adding Stange and his 24 goals. Sioux Falls ranks second to last in the USHL with 126 goals scored through their first 43 games.
-The difference maker this year for the Stampede has been Jaxson Stauber. Stauber has a 13-5-2-1 record since coming back from the college ranks. His 2.48 goals against ranks fifth in the league and his .918 save percentage is first.
-Sioux Falls will be at Cedar Rapids the night before Dubuque, so their legs should be fairly fresh with minimal travel heading in to the Saturday slate.