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2020-21 Season Preview: Des Moines Buccaneers

10/23/2020, 4:30pm CDT
By Brent Meske

Alex Laferriere (Middle), Matt Choupani (Right) and Josh Luedtke (Left) are Back with the Bucs This Season (Images: Dan Hickling / Hickling Images)

19-20 Record: 21-23-1-2, 45 pts. (7th Western Conference, 13th Overall)

19 -20 Top Forward: Alex Laferriere (42 games, 19-26-45)

19 -20 Top Defenseman: Josh Luedtke (45 games, 0-20-20)

19 -20 Top Goaltender: Cameron Rowe (33 games, 14-16-1-0, 3.52, 0.899)

19 -20 Powerplay: 19.5% (5th Overall)

19 -20 Penalty Kill: 84.2% (T-6th Overall)

The Des Moines Buccaneers come into the 2020-21 season looking to key retuning players such as the team's leading scorer last year, forward Alex Laferriere, and top offensive defenseman Josh Luedtke. Forward Matt Choupani also retuns after a great rookie season in 2019-20. 

"I am very excited about our group for this upcoming season," said Des Moines Buccaneers General Manager and Head Coach Peter Mannino. "We have a great group of young men that have been working very hard on and off the ice. We see a lot of depth at all positions that has created healthy internal competition. We will pride ourselves to be a highly competitive team that has a strong balanced approach of both a fast creative offense and committed to defense style of play."

Laferriere led the Buccaneers 2020 NHL Draft picks after being selected 83rd overall by the Los Angeles Kings. The Harvard University commit put up 45 points (19-26-45) last season, which paced all Des Moines skaters. Laferriere was named USHL Forward of the Week on October 8 of last season and represented the United States at the World Junior A Challenge before being named to the 2020 BioSteel All-American Game. The Chatham, N.J. native registered a hat trick (3-1-4) on October 5, 2019 and later registered a seven-game point streak (7-7-14) from January 18 to February 8, starting a run where Laferriere finished with at least one point in 11 of the final 13 games of the 2019-20 season. 

Luedtke rejoins the Buccaneers after pacing all Des Moines blueliners with 20 points (0-20-20). The University of Denver commit's 20 assists last season finished 11th among all USHL defenseman. 

After a 31-point rookie campaign (17-14-31), Choupani was one of two Buccaneers to be named to the USHL All-Rookie Second Team along with former teammate Timothy Lovell (Boston College, 2020-21). Choupani, a Northeastern University commit, finished sixth among USHL rookies with 31 points while his 17 goals was fourth among first-year skaters. 

Saturday, December 19 vs. Fargo
Broadlawn’s Ugly Sweater Night – a 4 year tradition with proceeds benefiting Broadlawns Medical Foundation

Friday, February 12 vs. Tri-City
Pink in the Rink sponsored by the Iowa Clinic proceeds benefiting cancer research

Saturday, February 20 vs. Waterloo
Doxie Dash – a 7 year tradition featuring racing Doxie’s

Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the 2020-21 season will be the USHL's 19th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league. The USHL had 51 players selected at the 2020 NHL Draft, marking the third-straight season with 50-or-more USHL players selected in the Draft. More than 800 league alumni are currently on NCAA Division I rosters, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.

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