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Weekend Primer: Dubuque Battles CR For First Time Since October, Hosts Fargo On Saturday

By Jack Milewski, 01/31/19, 11:30AM CST

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Fighting Saints Kick Off February Against RoughRiders and Force

After their mid-week game was postponed, the Fighting Saints will head to Cedar Rapids to begin the weekend against the RoughRiders and then host the Fargo Force at home Saturday. This will be the first of five games against Cedar Rapids in the month of February for the Fighting Saints. Dubuque has only played CR twice this season and haven’t faced their in-state rivals since October, 16th. The Fighting Saints will look to split the season series with Fargo after dropping the first game 4-2.

-CR ended up playing their game against the Lincoln Stars on Wednesday night, but fell 2-1 to the Stars in a defensive affair. The RoughRiders have one game in hand on the Fighting Saints and are currently two games back in the standings.

-The Fighting Saints are currently tied for third place, but sit in fourth due to the Youngstown Phantoms holding the tie-breaker over Dubuque. The Fighting Saints haven’t dipped past 5th place in over two months. Right now, Dubuque is five points ahead of Team USA, who occupies the slot of “first team out”. In other words, as it has been all season, it is tight in the east.

-During the last two seasons, the Fighting Saints have been dominant against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Dubuque went 13-2-1 during the past two seasons against Cedar Rapids. The Fighting Saints are currently 1-1 this season against CR.

-The RoughRiders are a tough team to score against. CR has allowed just 104 goals this season, or 2.8 goals per game. The RoughRiders are third in the league in goals allowed this season as only Tri-City and Muskegon boast better defensive marks.

-The RoughRiders are the 5th lowest scoring team in the league with 108 goals scored to this point. The RoughRiders have scored five goals or more four times this season However, they have failed to score more than two goals in a game 14 times.

-Dubuque gained even more rest with the Wednesday postponement and now have played just once in the last 12 days. Dubuque should have fresh legs with this being one of their longest stretches with just one game all year.

-The Dupaco Cowbell Cup will take center stage during February as every game between CR and Dubuque, with the exception of tomorrows contest, will count towards the regular season trophy. Currently Waterloo has a commanding lead in the standings with 10 points to just two from CR and Dubuque.

-Dubuque sits near the top of the league on the power play and near the bottom of the league on the penalty kill. The Fighting Saints operate at 22.3% on the PP and 74.1% on the PK.

-Offensively the Fighting Saints will look to break out of a mini slump. During the month of January, Dubuque scored 20 goals in eight games. For the Fighting Saints, the average of 2.5 goals per game is the lowest total of any month this season.

-The Fargo Force are currently locked in a battle for seeding in the West. While the two teams to miss the playoffs are likely the Omaha Lancers and the Lincoln Stars, there is still much to be decided in terms of seeding. Fargo sits in sixth, one point out of fifth.

-The Force boast what could be the best line in the league. Ben Meyers, Hank Crone and Josh Nodler have combined for 119 points and are the top three scorers on the Force. Meyers leads the USHL in goals and Crone leads the league in assists.

-The Force have been among the busiest teams recently in terms of player acquisitions. Fargo has traded for Jeremy Davidson, Justin Lee, Mike Kesselring and Kaden Bohlsen. In addition, they just picked up former Saints defenseman Sam Martel.

-The Force are one of three teams in the West with a negative point differential and they are 5-5 in their last 10 games. They have a power play that clicks at 21% and the fourth best PK in the league at an 82.2% mark.