Posted 64 days ago ago by Kendall Grayson
Kearney, NE. – The Tri-City Storm host Dubuque tonight at the Viaero Center for the first time since the final game of the 2016 Clark Cup Final. The 4-1 victory gave the Storm the first Championship in team history. The two teams met last season in Dubuque, Iowa with each winning one game in the two game series. Tri-City enters tonight’s matchup with a perfect 4-0 record against teams from the Eastern Conference this season.
Opponent: Dubuque Fighting Saints
Game Time: 7:35 PM CT
Tickets: Online or Call 308-338-8144
Broadcast: Watch: HockeyTV Listen: The Breeze 94.5 FM or Online
The Storm are tied with Green Bay for the best home record in the USHL at 8-2 on the season. Tri-City has outscored opponents 30-9 at the Viaero Center this season. Dubuque is 3-2-2 on the road this season, with the two overtime losses coming against Green Bay and Central Illinois. The Fighting Saints are currently 4th in the Eastern Conference, seven points back of Youngstown. The Storm enter tonight’s game in 2nd place in both the Western Conference and the USHL. Tri-City is only two points back of Fargo despite playing three less games than the Force.
Tri-City is 3-1 so far in the month of December. Dubuque has also played four games this month and have recorded two wins and two losses. Tri-City is 7-3 over the last ten games and the Fighting Saints are 5-3-1-1. The Storm have outscored opponents 52-33 this season. Dubuque has scored 56 goals and has also given up 56 goals. The Fighting Saints have the best power play in the USHL with 18 power play goals scored in 19 games played. The conversion rate of 26.9% is the highest in the league. Tri-City has scored 14 power play goals this season and enters tonight’s matchup with the ninth ranked power play in the USHL at 17.1%. In a unique matchup tonight, the league’s best power play will face off against the league’s best penalty kill. The Tri-City Storm penalty kill is currently ranked #1 in the USHL with a successful kill rate of 88.0%. The Fighting Saints penalty kill is 13th best in the USHL at 79.2%.
Several key figures will be absent from tonight’s matchup. Storm Head Coach Anthony Noreen and Storm equipment manager Dan Bouska are both behind the bench for Team USA at the World Junior A Challenge in Nova Scotia. Storm forward Tyler Madden, who was acquired in a trade earlier this week from Central Illinois, is also at the tournament playing for Team USA. Madden scored two goals in yesterday’s 5-0 victory over Russia. Dubuque has three players representing the United States in the tournament as well. Defenseman Brandon Bushy, forward Cole Guttman, and forward Alex Steeves are all skating for Team USA in Nova Scotia in the tournament. Steeves recorded an assist in yesterday’s game. Dubuque has an additional player in the tournament, as forward Jan Kern is also representing his country. Kern’s Czech Republic team will face Russia tonight in the tournaments Bronze Medal game.
Another Storm player will be absent for the next several games due to his participation in the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, New York. Last week, Storm goalie Filip Larsson was named to Team Sweden’s roster for the upcoming international tournament. Although the event does not officially begin until December 26th, Larsson will miss this weekend’s games as he joins his team’s preparation efforts for the tournament. Larsson announced his commitment to Denver earlier this week. He was drafted in the 6th round of the 2016 NHL draft by the Detroit Red Wings.
In addition to players and staff representing their countries in international events, the Storm have two players on the USHL suspension and injuries list. Noah Weber was added to the injured reserve on month ago today and continues to miss time due to an undisclosed injury. He will be eligible to return on December 28th when the Storm travel to Lincoln to face off against the Stars. Also ineligible for tonight’s game is Storm defenseman Ronnie Attard who was given a two game suspension following his fight with Omaha Lancers player Ethan Price last Friday night. Attard was given a one game suspension for his participation in a staged fight, and an additional one game suspension for removing and opponents helmet. Like Weber, Attard will be eligible to return following this weekend’s games.
Tonight’s game can be heard on The Breeze 94.5 FM and seen live online via HockeyTV. Puck drop is at 7:35 PM CT. The Viaero Wireless pregame show will begin at 7:15 PM.