12 teams are ready to go dancing as the Clark Cup playoffs begin
With the postseason getting underway, reporter Kirsten Krull dives into the first-round matchups.
The 2021-22 Clark Cup playoffs begin Monday night with four first round, best-of-three series on tap. In the Western Conference, the Lincoln Stars will host the Waterloo Blackhawks. The Stars have won five of six games played against the Blackhawks in the regular season. The winner of this series will go on to play the Sioux City Musketeers who have a first-round bye.
The other matchup in the Western Conference is between the Omaha Lancers and the Fargo Force. The last time these two clubs met was on April 2, and the Force dominated to a 7-1 win. The winner of this series will face the Anderson Cup champions, the Tri-City Storm who are on a first-round bye.
In the Eastern Conference, the Muskegon Lumberjacks host the Cedar Rapids Roughriders for only the second time these two times have met in the postseason dating back to the Lumberjacks inaugural season in the USHL in 2010-11. The Lumberjacks are 4-2 against the Roughriders this season. The winner of this series will take on the Dubuque Fighting Saints who are making their eleventh straight appearance in the postseason.
The final series between the Youngstown Phantoms who are hosting the Madison Capitols. The Capitols are 4-3-2 against the Phantoms this season, and this is their first playoff berth since they returned to the league in 2014. The winner of this series will go on to face the defending Clark Cup champions, the Chicago Steel.
The Steel will begin the postseason without two of their top players, Adam Fantilli and Nick Moldenhauer who are currently playing for Team Canada in the U18 World Championships.