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PREVIEW: Buccaneers vs. Fighting Saints 2/3

By Jordan Kuhns, 02/03/17, 12:30PM CST


Round two vs. Des Moines



GET A HAT RACK...For the second time this season, Colin Theisen scored a hat trick. That hat trick propelled him to a tie with Fargo’s Jack Adams for the goal scoring lead in the USHL. Theisen has six goals in his last four games overall, and is tied for fourth overall in league scoring. He is just two goals away from hitting 40, which means he is close to a 0.50 goals-per-game rate in his career.

GOALTENDING IS KEY...Des Moines possesses two of the league’s best goaltenders in veterans Jan Ruzicka and Nick MacNab. Both are in the top 10 in goals-against average (MacNab - 3rd, Ruzicka - 6th), and both have helped the Bucs give up the 5th-fewest goals against per game (2.51). Ruzicka is a C-ranked netminder, and MacNab is a former Dubuque draft pick from 2013.

HIGH-SCORING AFFAIR...Goals were not hard to find in the Saints’ 6-4 win over Des Moines back in November. Jacob Hamacher completed a career night with 4 points for Dubuque, and Julian Napravnik answered with two tallies of his own. 3 power play goals were scored in the game overall. It just so happened to be goaltender Evan Fear’s first USHL start, and win.


LOCK IT DOWN...Teams that have trailed the Fighting Saints after two periods of play have never had a sniff of success two-thirds of the way through the season. When leading after two periods, the Saints are 21-0-0. When scoring first, the Saints are 21-2-1, meaning that in 21 of the team’s 25 wins, they have struck first, and held on to the lead.

KEEP IT CLOSE...Des Moines’ defensive style has meant a lot of close nailbiters at Buccaneer Arena. They have played 11 one-goal games at the Madhouse on Hickman, with wins in seven of those games. Only four times have they won by more than one goal on home ice of their 18 home games thus far. Expect another close one here tonight in Des Moines.

WIN SOME, LOSE SOME...The Bucs started the season on a serious roll, towards the very top of the West. Lately, it has been a bit of a struggle, with four losses in the last seven games. The offense has been completely absent, as they did not score a single goal through regulation in either of the last two games, being shut out by Sioux City on January 27, and then by the Omaha Lancers on the next night.


WINNING WAYS...The Fighting Saints have won eight of the last ten games, and have garnered standings points in nine of those games. With a win tonight, and a regulation loss by the Chicago Steel this evening against the Youngstown Phantoms, first place could be solely possessed by the Saints. The last USHL Power Rankings have placed Dubuque in second, behind the Steel, who rode a 10-game winning streak at the beginning of the season, and are 15-8-4 since. Most impressively this season, the Fighting Saints are the second-best road team in the league, with 13 wins away from the Mystique Community Ice Center, the league’s second-best road power play (23.8%) and fourth-best road penalty kill (90.8%).