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2014 USHL Clark Cup Playoff Preview

04/10/2014, 8:00am CDT
By bwerger


Clark Cup Playoff Notes



The Dubuque Fighting Saints (2013, 2011) and Green Bay Gamblers (2012, 2010) have combined to win the Clark Cup in each of the last four seasons.  The last USHL team other than them to win it was the Indiana Ice in 2009.



All eight teams in the 2014 Playoffs have won the Clark Cup previously.  The Omaha Lancers have won it seven times, which is more than any other team in USHL history, followed by the Dubuque Fighting Saints (5), Green Bay Gamblers (4), Sioux City Musketeers (3), and one each for Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, Indiana Ice, Sioux Falls Stampede, and Waterloo Black Hawks.



The Waterloo Black Hawks won the Anderson Cup as regular season champion.  Over the 34 previous USHL seasons, the Anderson Cup winner has gone on to win the Clark Cup on 19 occasions, including in four of the six previous seasons.



The lowest seed to ever win the Clark Cup was the Waterloo Black Hawks who did so as the fourth seed in 2004 from the then East Division.  A number one seed in their respective conference has won the Cup in four of the last six seasons.



PLAYOFF BRACKET



 



Series Matchups



WESTERN CONFERENCE



#1 Waterloo Black Hawks (44-11-5, 93 points) vs. #4 Sioux Falls Stampede (34-19-7, 75 points)



- Waterloo won five of the six regular season meetings.  The lone victory for Sioux Falls was in Waterloo on February 9th.



- The two teams have only met one other time in the USHL postseason with Sioux Falls defeating Waterloo to win the Clark Cup in 2007 when the League utilized a final four, single-elimination format.



- Liam Pecararo scored 11 points (6g, 5a) for Waterloo in the regular season series, including five goals over the last three meetings with Sioux Falls.  His teammate Blake Winiecki tallied 10 points (6g, 4a) over the six games.



- Sioux Falls forward Christian Horn led the USHL with seven game-winning goals this season.



- Waterloo goaltender Cal Petersen ranked sixth in the League in GAA (2.50) and Sioux Falls goaltender David Jacobson ranked seventh (2.60).  Jacobson had the fewest losses (6) of any USHL goaltender that appeared in at least 30 games while Petersen had just seven losses to go along with this League-leading 27 wins.



- Waterloo led the regular season with 23 home victories while Sioux Falls was fourth in the USHL with 18 road wins.



- Waterloo led the USHL in power play conversion (25.2%) and Sioux Falls ranked fourth (20.9%).



- The Black Hawks ranked third in the League giving up 2.55 goals per game while the Stampede were fifth at 2.92 goals per contest.



Season series stats



Waterloo regular season stats



Sioux Falls regular season stats



 



#2 Omaha Lancers (39-14-7, 85 points) vs. #3 Sioux City Musketeers (38-19-3, 79 points)



- Sioux City won three of the five regular season meetings.



- Sioux City won 38 games this season, tying for their most wins (2003-04) in the USHL Tier 1 era (2002-present), while Omaha won 39 games, their most since the 2009-10 season.



- The two teams have met seven other times in the Clark Cup Playoffs with Omaha winning five of those series.  They last met in 2008 when Omaha earned a 3-1 series win.  One of the series wins for Sioux City against Omaha was in the 2002 Clark Cup Final, the third championship all-time for the Musketeers.



- Omaha ranked fourth in the USHL averaging 3.55 goals per game and Sioux City ranked fifth with 3.37 per contest.  Omaha also ranked tied for first in the League giving up just 2.35 goals per game while Sioux City was fourth in that category, allowing 2.62 per game.



- Sioux City tied for second in the USHL with 21 home victories while Omaha had 20 wins on home ice.



Brandon Hawkins scored five goals for Sioux City during the season series, including a hat trick in the first meeting (10/25/13).  Omaha Lancers forward Tyler Vesel also recorded a hat trick in that game and finished tied for second in the USHL with 33 goals this season.



- Omaha goaltender Hayden Hawkey led the USHL in GAA (1.99) and SV% (.926) while Sioux City goaltender Collin Olson ranked second in SV% (.921).  Musketeers goalie Kyle Hayton ranked fifth in the League with 24 victories. 



Season series stats



Omaha regular season stats



Sioux City regular season stats



 



EASTERN CONFERENCE



#1 Indiana Ice (42-11-7, 91 points) vs. #4 Green Bay Gamblers (30-24-6, 66 points)



- The teams split four regular season meetings with the road team winning all four games.



- Indiana set a team record with 42 victories this season, making a return to the playoffs after missing last season when they won just 21 games.



- Green Bay won their season finale to secure the final playoff spot and earn their 30th victory of the season, the sixth straight season they have won at least 30 games and qualified for the playoffs.



- The two teams have met five previous times in the playoffs, including four consecutive years from 2009-12.  The winner in three of their last four postseason series has gone on to win the Clark Cup (Green Bay 2012, 2010 – Indiana 2009).



- Indiana tied for the USHL lead with 21 road victories and tied for second with 21 home wins.



- The teams owned two of the best penalty killing units in the League during the regular season with Indiana ranking third (85.7%) and Green Bay ranking fifth (85.3%).  Indiana was second in road penalty killing (85.6%) and Green Bay was second in home penalty killing (87%).



- Ice goaltender Hayden Stewart finished second in the USHL with a 2.13 GAA.  He posted a 13-1-0 record with a 1.29 GAA and .945 SV% after being acquired by the Ice earlier this season.  His lone loss with the Ice came in the season finale against Green Bay.



- Green Bay goaltender Jared Rutledge played the second most minutes (2,667) of any USHL goaltender and was fourth with 25 victories.



Season series stats



Indiana regular season stats



Green Bay regular season stats



 



#2 Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (35-21-4, 74 points) vs. #3 Dubuque Fighting Saints (33-23-4, 70 points)



- Cedar Rapids won four of the seven meetings in the regular season against Dubuque, including three of four on home ice.



- This series marks the first time they have met in the playoffs.  The two cities are separated by just 74 miles.



- Dubuque has six returning players that won the Clark Cup with the team last year – Seamus Malone, Karson Kuhlman, Dylan Gambrell, Jarrid Privitera, and Phil Boje.



- Cedar Rapids forward Andrew Poturalski was sixth in the USHL with 64 points (27g, 37a).



- Cedar Rapids netminder Danny Tirone was third among League goaltenders with 26 victories while ranking tied for sixth in SV% (.917).



- Dubuque ranked second in the USHL in penalty killing (86.5%), including the best road penalty killing in the League (87.5%).  Cedar Rapids was fourth in penalty killing (85.5%), including the third best on home ice (86.8%).



- The teams were two of the least penalized in the USHL as Cedar Rapids ranked second averaging just 12.57 penalty minutes per game and Dubuque ranking fourth with 15.95 penalty minutes per contest.



Season series stats



Cedar Rapids regular season stats



Dubuque regular season stats



 



Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 12th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2013-14.  A record 32 players were chosen in the 2013 NHL Draft and more than 300 players on team rosters last season have committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.  For more information, visit us on the web at www.USHL.com or visit the League’s social media platforms, including Facebook (www.facebook.com/ushlhockey), twitter (www.twitter.com/ushl), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/ushlinteractive).  Fans can also watch USHL action all season long, live or on-demand via FASTHockey (ushl.fasthockey.com).



It’s not just hockey. It’s the USHL.


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