Dubuque, IA- Fresh off a split in the USHL Fall Classic, the Dubuque Fighting Saints are set to take the ice for the first time during the regular season at Mystique Community Ice Center. Dubuque will face off against rival Cedar Rapids in the first of nine games between the two teams this season. The two teams are more than familiar with each other, having met 62 times since the Saints returned to Dubuque in 2010-11. Here is all you need to get set for Saturday’s contest:
-The Fighting Saints have given up an average of 2.5 goals a game through two regular season matchups and four preseason games. The back end of the team has been solid, including both goaltenders. In addition, the teams forecheck has been a big reason why Dubuque has been stout defensively.
-Cedar Rapids wasn’t picked highly in the preseason rankings, but every indication suggests that the team will be tough this season. The Saints played them tight in both preseason games and the RoughRiders produced two quality efforts to begin the regular season.
-Blake Pietila was a big reason for the RoughRiders success. The brother of Logan Pietila on the Saints, Blake was awarded USHL Goaltender of the Week honors for his play during the Fall Classic. Pietila stopped 51 pucks on 55 shots en route to a 1.98 GAA and .927 save percentage. The netminder was in goal during Cedar Rapids 5-1 preseason victory over Dubuque.
-Derek Contessa and Riese Gaber started the season off strong with two goals apiece during the first weekend. Gaber tallied a goal in both games while Contessa notched both of his during the Saints 4-2 victory over Youngstown. Jacob Semik is the only other player on the team who has two points after the first weekend. Semik has two assists.
-This will be a rare home game during the month of October for the Fighting Saints. Only two of their nine games are at home. If you include the Fall Classic, Dubuque plays two of their first 12 games on the road. Last season the Fighting Saints were 11-13-6 away from Mystique Community Ice Center.
-Matthew Thiessen started both games during the Fall Classic for Dubuque. The goaltender made 39 stops as Dubuque limited the offensive chances for their opponents. Save for a tough bounce and a few perfect shots, Thiessen was equal to the task over the weekend.
-The special teams were yet another bright spot for the Fighting Saints to start the season. The team posted an 87.5% penalty kill and a 22.2% power play. Dubuque created a large amount of chances on their power play in their game against Youngstown and finished that game two for five on the man advantage.
Tickets are still available for tomorrow's game. Kids tickets start at just $5 but will go up $2 the day of the game. In addition the Saints will be hosting their first ever Fan Fest, free to the public, outside the arena from 4-6. If you still need tickets, call the box office at 563.583.6880 or go to DubuqueFightingSaints.com.