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 Dubuque Fighting Saints

Fighting Five: Saints Visit Buccaneers to Open Weekend

December 1, 2023 - United States Hockey League (USHL)
Dubuque Fighting Saints News Release

URBANDALE, IA - The Dubuque Fighting Saints (14-3-1-2, 31 pts) travel to face the Des Moines Buccaneers (8-8-4-0, 20 pts) for the third-straight game on Friday night.

Here are five things to know ahead of the matchup:

1. Rubber Match

Friday will be the third-straight meeting between the two teams with each team winning its home game in a home-and-home last weekend.

In Friday's game, the Buccaneers held off the Saints for a 3-2 victory. On Saturday in Dubuque, the Saints' league-leading offense rebounded with five goals in a 5-2 win.

2. Saints Starts

Saints forward Nick Romeo scored the opening goal of both games last weekend. He has four goals in his last four games for Dubuque. Despite Romeo's quick starts last weekend, the first period has been the Fighting Saints' lowest-scoring period this season.

Dubuque's struggles in the opening period, however, are all relative. The Saints' 28 total first-period goals are tied with Muskegon for the most in the league.

The Saints' best period this season has been the third period in which they have scored a league-leading 40 goals.

3. Top Pair

The Saints top defensemen have been among the most effective at both ends of the ice. Joona Väisänen and Fisher Scott have been paired in all 20 Saints games so far this season. Both are tied for the league-lead in plus-minus with a plus-17 rating.

Väisänen has a trio of goals and 16 assists for 19 points this season. That mark is tied for the sixth-most points in the entire league. Väisänen's 16 assists are third-most in the USHL and lead all defensemen.

Scott has contributed 12 points on three goals and nine assists for Dubuque this season, contributing at an excellent rate of late. In his last 12 games, Scott has logged nine of his points including a goal on Saturday against Des Moines.

4. Reidler Ready

Goaltender Kevin Reidler is tied for the league-lead in games played with 16 and wins with 11 so far this season. The 509 shots he has faced this season are the second-most in the USHL and he wields a .904 save percentage.

Reidler has posted a .933 save percentage in his last pair of starts. On Saturday against Des Moines, Reidler stopped 33 of 35 shots he faced to record the win for Dubuque.

5. Buc Bingo

Last weekend, forward Paul Minnehan led the way for the Buccaneers. He recorded a goal and three assists in the pair of games against Dubuque. Minnehan leads Des Moines with 20 points and has 17 of his points in the last 11 games.

Goaltender Ethan Dahlmeir stopped 46 of 48 shots over both games last weekend and enters Friday's matchup with a 6-5-0-0 record and an .895 save percentage.

Friday's puck-drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST in Des Moines. The game can be heard on Eagle 102.3 and seen on FloHockey.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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