Team: Dubuque Fighting Saints
2015-16 Record: 39-19-2
Top Forward: Nathan Sucese (26 goals, 59 points)
Top Defenseman: Keegan Ford (7 goals, 36 points)
Top Goaltender: Hunter Miska (32-13-1, 2.46 GAA, .913 SV%)
Power Play: 17.1% (9th in USHL)
Penalty Kill: 83.6% (7th in USHL)
Once again, the Dubuque Fighting Saints were one of the best teams in the USHL during the 2015-16 season, finishing with 80 points and a record of 39-19-1-1. Dubuque caught fire during Clark Cup Playoffs, upsetting the Green Bay Gamblers and defeating the Bloomington Thunder to prevail as the Eastern Conference champions.
The Saints have made Clark Cup Playoffs every year since rejoining the league in 2010-11, and they will look to keep that streak intact for 2016-17. Michael Boyle, a 6’2” defenseman and 2016 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game selection, will join Dubuque this upcoming season after spending last year with Sioux City. Goaltender Jaxon Castor is expected to return between the pipes, bolstering the veteran presence on the back end for Dubuque. Castor improved steadily last season while playing behind veteran Hunter Miska, finishing 6-2-0-1 in his final 10 games. He will also be joined by San Jose Sharks prospect Mike Robinson, who is expected to play in his first USHL season prior to attending the University of New Hampshire.
Defenseman Joey Keane will look to make a big splash on the back end after playing alongside last year’s captain Keegan Ford. 16-year old defenseman Jacob Semik played exceptionally well for the United States at the U17 Five Nations Tournament, and could also fight for a spot in the Saints defensive corps, but it won’t be easy. Saints fans should also keep an eye out for incoming forward Santeri Virtanen, who was listed on the NHL Central Scouting Future list earlier this summer.
Head coach and general manager Jason Lammers returns for his second season behind the bench after a successful first year:
“We are anticipating a team that is connected in all zones, both with and without the puck. We're looking forward to developing a team that uses their attitude to both attack and defend the net, and building a group that scores by committee. We're excited to see what the new crop of Dubuque Fighting Saints will show us on the ice in just a few short weeks.”
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 14th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2015-16. A record 37 players were chosen in the 2015 NHL Draft and more than 375 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.