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Buccaneers with a Chance to Clinch Playoff Spot this Weekend

March 30, 2017 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - Des Moines Buccaneers News Release

The Des Moines Buccaneers have just four games left in the 2016-17 regular season and have some work yet to do in order to make the playoffs with a big weekend ahead of them hosting the Omaha Lancers on Friday and the Sioux Falls Stampede on Saturday.

Des Moines is having their best season in years and with a record of 32-18-5 the Buccaneers have had their most regular season wins since 2005-06 going 33-21-6 before sweeping Green Bay and Cedar Rapids in the first two rounds of the playoffs and then beating Sioux Falls in Game 5 of a best of five to take the 2006 Clark Cup Championship. Des Moines' 68 points mean they still have the potential to finish with the most regular season wins and points since 1998-99, a year that saw them finish 48-7-1 and win the Anderson Cup for the best regular season record before defeating the Twin City Vulcans, the Lincoln Stars and then the Omaha Lancers to hoist the Clark Cup.

The Buccaneers have had a lot of success against Omaha (21-28-7) this season, winning seven of the eight games and with their lone loss being in a shootout they have picked up fifteen of the sixteen available points against the Lancers so far. Despite the lopsided results in the series the games have been close; after a blowout 8-3 victory and a 4-1 win for Des Moines to start the season series the last six games between the two teams have each been decided by one goal with four of those games requiring overtime. "We need to stay with our game plan for all three periods because those guys never quit," Weossner points out. "They keep coming so it's up to us make sure that we keep our foot on the gas pedal for sixty minutes, and more if necessary."

The story with Des Moines and Sioux Falls has been on the other side of the coin, with the Stampede winning four of the five games despite sitting seventh out of the eight Western Conference teams with a record of 19-28-9. Sioux Falls gives up the most shots per game (35.84) but is a team that generates a lot of their offense in transition after defending and Weossner knows that well. "That's a team that's really opportunistic; if you give them a chance to create offense they'll do it so we gotta compete a lot harder," Weossner explains. "If we play our style we'll put ourselves in a position to be successful."

While the trade deadline came and went about a month ago the Buccaneers were still able to add more firepower for the home stretch as affiliate forward Braden Costello is back in Des Moines and available for action this weekend. Out of Grand Forks, ND, Costello's junior season this year saw him tally 52 points (26-26-52 in 27 GP) for the second straight year (27-25-52 in 27 GP as a sophomore). The #2 overall pick of Phase I of the 2016 USHL Draft scored the game winning goal in his USHL debut against the Lancers on March 11th and he had two assists in a 3-2 victory on March 17th in Fargo.

Weossner was very matter-of-fact when responding to what Costello can bring to the Bucs to finish the regular season. "He came in for three games and he had three points. He knows how to find pucks, he knows how to get available, he can finish," compliments Weossner. "He's just got a really good nose and instinct for offense. I think with his size and the combination of those two, he brings something that we... that anybody wants for that matter."

Des Moines still has a chance to clinch a playoff spot this weekend with a week left in the regular season if they can pick up victories against both Omaha and Sioux Falls and the Youngstown Phantoms can defeat the Lincoln Stars twice in regulation on Friday and Saturday. Otherwise things will come down to the final week to determine the final two playoff spots with Des Moines, Fargo and Lincoln all battling for two available spots. Des Moines' Friday game against Omaha is Bud Night meaning two for one tallboy specials on Budweiser products and then Saturday's Sioux Falls game includes a set of Buccaneer trading cards for the first 1,000 fans. For tickets to either game call 278-2827

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United States Hockey League Stories from March 30, 2017

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