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USHL Clark Cup Playoffs - Conference Finals Preview

04/23/2014, 8:00am CDT
By bwerger

Clark Cup Playoff Notes

Each of the remaining four teams in the USHL postseason has won the Clark Cup previously.  Three have done so in the USHL Tier 1 era (2002-present) – Dubuque Fighting Saints (2013, 2011), Indiana Ice (2009), Waterloo Black Hawks (2004).  The Sioux City Musketeers last won the Clark Cup in 2002, the final season before the USHL was designated by USA Hockey as the nation’s only Tier 1 junior league.

The Dubuque Fighting Saints are the defending Clark Cup champion and are seeking to become the first team to win back-to-back titles in 20 years.  The last team to do such was the Omaha Lancers (1994, 1993).

Three of the remaining teams in the Clark Cup Playoffs are based in the state of Iowa – Dubuque, Sioux City, and Waterloo.  The Clark Cup has been won by an Iowa-based team on 14 previous occasions.

Three of the teams in the conference final series have head coaches that are in their first full seasons in the USHL – Matt Shaw (Dubuque), Jeff Brown (Indiana), and Jay Varady (Sioux City).  P.K. O’Handley (Waterloo) is in his 19th season in the League and has the most regular season coaching wins in USHL history (547).  He is seeking to become the seventh coach all-time to win the Clark Cup twice with the same organization.

The Indiana Ice posted three shutouts in their first-round series against the Green Bay Gamblers, setting a new USHL Clark Cup Playoff record for most shutouts in a single series.  They also equaled the record for most shutouts in a playoff year (Des Moines Buccaneers, 1998).


Series Matchups


#1 Waterloo Black Hawks (44-11-5, 93 points) vs. #3 Sioux City Musketeers (38-19-3, 79 points)

-  Waterloo and Sioux City have not met in the Clark Cup Playoffs since 1996, a seven-game series in the opening round that the Musketeers won 4-1.

-  The teams split their six meetings during the regular season with each winning three games.  The road team won each of the last two meetings.  Sioux City earned two of their victories in the shootout.

-  Liam Pecararo appeared in five games during the regular season series, but led all scorers with 11 points (3g, 8a) for Waterloo.  He had a point in all five games, including four multi-point efforts.  His teammate Patrick Russell scored five goals over the last three meetings in the series, including four goals over two games in Sioux City.

-  Trevor Olson only appeared in three of the meetings, but scored a goal in all three contests, including a pair of goals for Sioux City in the first matchup of the season on October 26th.

-  In the regular season series, Sioux City scored eight of their 18 goals in the third period.

-  The Black Hawks, who led the USHL with a 25.2% power play conversion rate, scored eight of their 22 goals in the regular season series on the power play.

-  Waterloo was second in the USHL during the regular season averaging 4.00 goals per game while Sioux City was fifth averaging 3.37 goals per contest.

-  Waterloo was third in the League allowing 2.55 goals per contest while Sioux City was fourth at 2.62 goals against per game.

-   Waterloo goaltender Cal Petersen tied for the USHL lead with 27 victories this season while Sioux City netminder Kyle Hayton was fifth with 24 wins.

-   Waterloo led the regular season with 23 home victories while Sioux City tied for second with 21 wins on home ice.

-  Sioux City earned 38 victories during the regular season, tying a team record in the Tier 1 era, while Waterloo set a team record with 44 victories.

-  Thus far in the playoffs, Waterloo has scored the most goals (20) while Sioux City has netted the third most (13).

-  Waterloo forward Blake Winiecki (4g, 5a) and defenseman Brandon Montour (4g, 5a) are currently tied for the USHL playoff scoring lead with nine points each.

-  Sioux City has played two overtime games in the playoffs thus far, winning one and losing one.  They were 8-3 in games that went past regulation during the regular season, including 4-3 in games decided in the overtime session.

Season series stats

Waterloo regular season stats

Sioux City regular season stats



#1 Indiana Ice (42-11-7, 91 points) vs. #3 Dubuque Fighting Saints (33-23-4, 70 points)

-  The teams met one other time in the Clark Cup Playoffs when Indiana earned a 3-0 sweep over Dubuque in the quarterfinal round of the 2012 postseason.

-  Indiana won three of the four regular season meetings with Dubuque and scored a total of 21 goals over the four games, including nine in their last meeting on April 2nd.

-  Indiana allowed the fewest shots on goal in the regular season, giving up just 25.10 per contest, while Dubuque was fourth in the USHL allowing 29.12 per game.  The Ice have given up even less per game in the playoffs thus far, allowing just 19.25 per contest.

-  Scott Conway scored five goals for Indiana during the regular season series, including four in the 9-1 victory on April 2nd.  He is the first player in Ice history to record a four-goal game.

-  Aidan Muir recorded points for Indiana (2g, 4a) in all four meetings with Dubuque and led all players in the season series with a plus-six rating.

-  Seamus Malone had points (3g, 1a) for Dubuque in each of the last three meetings with Indiana, including three goals.

-  Ice goaltender Jason Pawloski tied for the USHL lead in the regular season with 27 victories and was fifth with a 2.46 GAA.

-  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.  He started the season with Dubuque and went 6-6-1 with a 3.10 GAA and .896 SV%.

-  Pawloski (2) and Stewart (1) have combined for three shutouts in the postseason and Dubuque goaltender Kevin Reich has the other shutout in this year’s playoffs.

-  Robby Darrar of Dubuque is tied for the USHL playoff lead with four goals, two of which are game-winners.

-  Both Dubuque and Indiana outshot their opponents in 45 regular season games with Indiana winning 30 of those games and Dubuque winning 27.  In their season series, Dubuque outshot Indiana twice and the teams tied with 41 shots on goal in their first meeting.

-  Dubuque ranked second in the USHL during the regular season with an 86.5% penalty kill and Indiana was third with 85.7%.

-  The Saints had the second best power play on home ice (23.4%) and the Ice had the second best road penalty kill (85.6%)

Season series stats

Indiana 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 or visit the League’s social media platforms, including Facebook (, twitter (, and YouTube (  Fans can also watch USHL action all season long, live or on-demand via FASTHockey (

It’s not just hockey. It’s the USHL.

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