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FIVE THINGS TO KNOW: Saints vs. Steel 10/6

By Ryan Kotajarvi, 10/06/17, 4:00PM CDT


Saints open season with playoff rival Steel



1. The Dubuque Fighting Saints will be facing the Chicago Steel on Opening Night, presented by American Trust, at Our House. Last season the Saints and the Steel were the top two teams in the Eastern Conference. After both teams won their opening playoff series, they met again in the Eastern Conference Final where the Steel defeated the Saints en route to winning the Clark Cup.

2. This season the Saints will return 10 players that includes Captain and Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick Cole Guttman, starting goalie Jaxon Castor, newcomer and Winnipeg Jets draft pick Santeri Virtanen, CCM/USA Hockey All-American prospect Jacob Semik, and Montreal Canadians draft pick Casey Staum.

3. The Chicago Steel this season will be returning 8 players from last year’s Clark Cup championship team. Some of the top returners for the Steel this year include Team Captain Derek Daschke, Vegas Golden Knights draft pick Jack Dugan, Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick Robbie Stucker, and Clark Cup hero Tyler Gratton.

4.  For both teams this game will be the regular season debut for their head coaches. The Saints new head coach is Oliver David. David returns to the Saints after one season away as an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League. The Steel's new head coach is Mark Abalan. Abalan joins the Steel after serving as the head coach of the prestigious Shattuck-St. Mary’s  prep school U16 team in Minnesota.

5. The Chicago Steel enter tonight's action after sweeping the USHL Fall Classic in Pittsburgh, having outscored their opponents 13-5. However, in the only game between the Saints and the Steel in the preseason, it was Dubuque who ended up on top during Fan Fest. Tonight, however, is when the games truly begin to matter once again.