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Pregame Primer: Saints Motor To Muskegon For Two Game Set

By Jack Milewski, 12/06/18, 3:00PM CST

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Dubuque looking to find success against top team in the East

Dubuque will be back on the road this weekend as they take on the Muskegon Lumberjacks Friday and Saturday. This will be the second and third times the teams meet, after Muskegon won 5-4 this past Sunday in Dubuque. The Fighting Saints are playing some of their best hockey of the season heading in to the series against the top team in the USHL. Muskegon currently sits at 18-3.

-The Lumberjacks offense has put up ridiculous numbers to begin the season. Muskegon currently sits at 107 goals through their first 21 games. The Lumberjacks have a plus-54 goal differential which is 27 goals better than the next team in that category. The matchup this weekend will feature the only two teams in the East without a negative goal differential  

-The Lumberjacks have tallied five goals or more in 13 of their 21 games this season. Muskegon has scored eight goals three times this season as well. Muskegon are no slouches defensively either. The team holds the third lowest goals allowed total at 53.

-Dubuque has played some of their best hockey in the last three games and it has seemingly stemmed from a few key line changes. The Fighting Saints are 2-1, scoring 16 goals and allowing nine. Dubuque’s loss came Sunday to the Lumberjacks.

-The line changes mentioned above have featured: Verners Egle moving to the wing on a line with Dylan and Ty Jackson, Riese Gaber and Logan Pietila teaming up on the same line and Dallas Tulik joining the roster. All three moves have jump started the players.

-Gaber, who has seven points in the last six games, has four goals since the line changes were made. Pietila, who got off to a slow start this season with five points in his first 18 games, is now on fire with six points in his last three contests. Tulik has only played two games with Dubuque, but he  already has three points with one goal and two assists.

-The Jackson twins have worked well with Egle and found their scoring touch again. The twins have combined for six points in the three games they have been on the new line. In general the Fighting Saints offense has been buzzing, with 16 goals in the last three games.

-Matthew Thiessen’s last five periods have been some of his best this season. Thiessen made 22 of 23 stops last Saturday and picked up the win against the Green Bay Gamblers. Thiessen then came in to the game in relief of Aaron Randazzo on Sunday. Thiessen made 19 stops and allowed just one goal against the high-powered Lumberjacks.

-This will be Dubuque’s one and only trip to Muskegon and the last time they travel further east than Chicago this season. The Saints won’t have a road trip of over three and a half hours once the calendar turns to 2019.