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 Dubuque Fighting Saints

Fighting Five: Saints Host Phantoms in Game 1 of Conference Semifinals

April 20, 2024 - United States Hockey League (USHL)
Dubuque Fighting Saints News Release

DUBUQUE, IA - The No. 1 seed Dubuque Fighting Saints host the No. 4 seed Youngstown Phantoms to open up a best-of-five Eastern Conference Semifinals series on Saturday night.

Here are five things to know ahead of the matchup:

1. Conference Clash

The Fighting Saints meet the Phantoms in the Eastern Conference Semifinals after winning three of four regular season meetings. Dubuque took three of four points in a home series in early November against Youngstown. Then, in March, the Saints swept the Phantoms in Youngstown, handing the Phantoms two of their four total regulation home losses this season.

The series in November was the beginning of Noah Powell's surge up the scoring ranks as well. Entering that series, Powell had a goal and three assists in 14 games. He assisted in both games on Nov. 10 and 11, then did not go consecutive games without scoring a goal the rest of the season after that. Powell finished with the league lead in goals (43) and power-play goals (16).

2. Running Red

The Fighting Saints earned home-ice advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs and will host Games 1, 2 and 5 (if necessary) of the Semifinal series. The Fighting Saints' 41-13-3-5 record and 90 standings points trailed only Fargo in the USHL and their win total was the highest for a Saints team since 2012-13 when the team won 45 games.

Dubuque earned a bye through the first round of the playoffs and logged an 18-6-1-4 home record this season at ImOn Arena.

3. Playoff Picture

The winner of the #1 Saints vs #4 Phantoms series will play the winner of the series between #2 Muskegon and #3 Green Bay. The Saints and Lumberjacks earned byes into the Conference Semifinals, while Youngstown and Green Bay battled to advance from the first round.

Both teams took three games to advance on home ice and will travel to begin the Conference Semifinals. In the regular season, the Saints had a combined 11-1-0-1 record against the other three remaining Eastern Conference playoff teams.

4. Saints Streak

The Saints logged a season-long 11-game point streak from March 15 to April 12. During that streak, the Saints outscored opponents 51-26 and their only two losses came in two shootout defeats.

The streak began with a road sweep over Muskegon and carried into the final weekend of the season.

5. The Phantom Menace

The Phantoms took down the Madison Capitols in a winner-take-all Game 3 on Wednesday night in Youngstown to advance to the Conference Semifinals against the Saints. The Phantoms allowed seven goals in a Game 1 loss to the Capitols, but allowed just six total in the final two games.

In the Game 2 win, Adam Pietila scored a hat trick for the Phantoms before Ryan Rucinski did the same in Game 3 to help Youngstown advance. The Phantoms led the league in short-handed goals with 10 in the regular season and scored one in the series with Madison.

Saturday's game begins at 7:05 p.m. CDT and tickets are available to purchase here. The game can be found on Eagle 102.3 and FloHockey.

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