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Weekend Primer: Saints Set for Two Eastern Conference Matchups

March 15, 2019 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - Dubuque Fighting Saints News Release

After another weekend split, the Dubuque Fighting Saints will look to gain ground in an increasingly tight Eastern Conference playoff race as they take on the Madison Capitols and Chicago Steel. Dubuque now finds themselves in sixth despite playing some of their better hockey over the last two weeks. The Fighting Saints will be home Friday and then on the road Saturday. Get set for the action with this edition of the Weekend Primer.

-The Fighting Saints are 2-2 in what is their busiest month of the season. The team has eight games remaining in the final three weeks of March. In the first four games, Dubuque has scored 14 goals and allowed14 goals. Both weekends they have won on Friday and lost on Saturday.

-Matias Maccelli is one point away from 60 and has already passed Alex Steeves' 57 points from last season and Quinn Preston's 24 goals. Maccelli has 12 points in his last 10 games and is currently riding a 4-game point streak.

-With a point on Saturday, Willie Knierim maintained his point-per-game pace on home ice. Knierim has 22 points in 22 home games. The Fighting Saints power forward is seven points away from becoming just the fifth Saint to have 100 points in his career. With two more points he will be fifth all, passing Zach Solow's 94 career points.

-So far this season against the Madison Capitols, the Saints have found themselves on top. It just hasn't been easy. Dubuque is 4-1 against Madison after losing the first game of the season to the Capitols. Four of the five games have been decided by one goal.

-Madison is playing some of their best hockey offensively in the last month. After not scoring more than four goals in a game once through the first five months, Madison has done it twice in the last two weeks. The Capitols are averaging 2.9 goals per game over their last 10, much better than their season average of 2.19.

-Chase Brand has become a consistent offensive weapon for Madison, something they didn't have early on. The recent Miami Ohio commit is first on the team with 38 points. He also leads the team in goals and assists.

-Madison is finally in double digits when it comes to power play percentage, but they are still last in the league by a good margin. The Capitols operate at 10.4% which is last by nearly four percentage points. They are three of their last 13.

-The Chicago Steel, Dubuque's Saturday opponent, have seen their fair share of struggles in their most recent stretch. They still sit in second but are only two points ahead of Cedar Rapids and three points ahead of Youngstown.

-Dubuque has beaten Chicago 5-3 and lost to the Steel by the same score. Both games have been high-tempo, with plenty of offensive chances. Both have been tied after two periods and in each game the team that has jumped out to a 2-0 lead has ultimately lost.

-Chicago now sits second in the USHL in offense with 194 goals. The Steel have the USHL's leading scorer in Nick Abruzzese. Abruzzese has 66 points in 50 games. Right below him, Robert Mastrosimone has 48 points, however he has played just 42 games.

-Dubuque will play Chicago on the road for the second time this season. Chicago has lost just once in regulation in their last 17 games. The Steel are 15-1-1 over that time. Chicago started the season 1-7 at the Fox Valley Ice Arena

-The Saints are now in sixth place in the East. They sit a point behind Team USA (who plays four times this weekend) and are six points up on the Central Illinois Flying Aces who are in seventh.

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