Another weekend without a game will give the Saints a bit more rest heading into three straight games this weekend. It starts Friday with Teddy Bear Toss night against Waterloo. The Saints will then hit the road for two in a row against the top team in the league, the Chicago Steel. Get ready for all three games with your weekend primer.
-Friday night will be a big night for multiple reasons. First, it’s the annual Teddy Bear Toss. One of the best minor league hockey traditions, fans will throw stuffed animals on the ice after the Saints first goal of the game and all the animals will be donated to Toys for Tots. Second, Dubuque will be presented with the Dupaco Cowbell Cup for their victory last season and this season. The Saints have won the cup a record five times.
-The Saints will look to continue their domination of Waterloo, which has spanned nearly a full calendar year. Dubuque has won eight straight games against the Black Hawks, the longest streak for either team in the head-to-head.
-Every game between the two teams except for one have been very close. Though the Saints have a +9-goal differential in the four games, all but one has come down to the final minutes of regulation. Dubuque’s 5-3-win, 5-4 win and 4-1 win all required defensive stands with under five minutes to play.
-Chicago and Dubuque have split their two games this season, with the Saints winning 2-1 in overtime and Chicago coming out on top 4-1 the first matchup. The two will enter the weekend as the hottest teams in the league. Both have gone 7-3 in their last 10. Tri-City has that same mark over its last 10 games also.
-Chicago is averaging a ridiculous 5.14 goals per game this season through the first 27 games. To put that in perspective, their record setting offense from last season finished the year with 4.93 goals per game.
-One area where the Saints have yet to find a rhythm is on special teams. The Saints rank last in the USHL on the penalty kill, at 67.2% and they rank in the bottom five on the power play, hovering around 18.5%. In tight games, those are often difference makers.
-Lukas Parik, the newest member of the Saints, got off to a great start with two wins in his first two starts. Parik has strong numbers with a 1.84 goals against and a .930 save percentage, albeit in a small sample size.
-The trip to Chicago will be the first road contest in Chicago for the Saints this season.