A capsule look at this weekend’s United States Hockey League games:
DES MOINES BUCCANEERS (8-8-0) AT DUBUQUE FIGHTING SAINTS (3-11-0)
When: 7:05 p.m. tonight at Mystique Community Ice Center
Season series: Des Moines won the only meeting, 9-3, on Nov. 23 in Des Moines despite the Saints taking a 3-0 lead in the first 9:58 of the game. Dubuque had only four defensemen available that night. The teams play six times this season.
Scouting Dubuque: The Saints return home for the first time since Dec. 12 after a five-game road trip. They have won two of their last three games — a 6-5 victory over USA Hockey’s U18 team and a 5-3 win on Wednesday at Muskegon, to move out of last place in the Eastern Conference. A bright spot has been the power play, which ranks seventh in the league with a 24.1% conversion rate. Rookie forward Connor Kurth ranks 11th on the USHL scoring chart with seven goals and 15 points in 14 games, while Stephen Halliday ranks 15th with four goals and 14 points.
Scouting Des Moines: The Buccaneers are coming off a home-and-home series split with Waterloo on Wednesday and Thursday. After tonight’s game they return home to play Omaha to complete a stretch of four games in five days. Lucas Mercuri leads Des Moines in scoring and ranks 20th in the league with four goals and 13 points in 16 games.
Saints make move: The acquisition of Andrei Buyalski earlier this week put the Saints over the limit of four players from the 2000 birth year. So, on Friday, they moved forward Jake Goldowski to the Aberdeen Wings of the North American Hockey League. Goldowski tallied three assists in 14 games.
CHICAGO STEEL (10-2-1) AT FIGHTING SAINTS
When: 3:05 p.m. Sunday at Mystique Community Ice Center
Season series: The Steel won, 4-1, on Dec. 4 at Mystique in the only previous meeting. The teams play eight times this season.
Scouting Chicago: The Steel lead the USHL in scoring with 69 goals in 13 games and have the top three individuals on the league chart in Matt Coronato (11 goals and 29 points in 13 games), Sean Farrell (9 goals, 22 points) and Erik Middendorf (10 goals, 21 points). The Steel have earned standings points in nine straight games coming into this weekend.