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Dubuque Fighting Saints plan to continue organization's history of success in 2022-23 campaign

Head coach Kirk MacDonald says they're not trying to reinvent the wheel, and says team will be competitors with their fast pace and puck possession to wear other teams down.

Kurth, Connor (1).jpg
In 62 games for the USHL's Dubuque Fighting Saints in 2021-22, forward Connor Kurth had 35 goals and 46 points. He was named USA Hockey's national junior player of the year.
Contributed / Hickling Images

DUBUQUE, Iowa — The Dubuque Fighting Saints are heading into the 2022-23 season with a near clean slate. In the offseason they acquired a new head coach in Kirk MacDonald, and have a young group coming in with only seven players from the 2021-22 season returning. After being eliminated by the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the Clark Cup playoffs last year, the Fighting Saints are looking to raise the bar this year.

"I think there's a standard here and an expectation to win and succeed and also to help kids get better and move on." MacDonald said.

"We want to play fast and possess pucks, that's the way the game is now and we'll wear teams down with our puck possession and try and force them to chase us."

KEY PLAYERS

There are only seven guys returning from last year's team, making the 2022-23 squad built from a lot of new faces.

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Michael Burchill is expected to take a big step this year after being one of the youngest guys (at age 16 last season) in the league last year. The forward had 11 goals and 8 assists for 19 points last season.

Max Burkholder is expected to make an impact on the Fighting Saints blue line. The defenseman had nine goals and 14 assists for 23 points in 61 games played.

Ryan St. Louis was at Northeastern last year, making him an established guy and a guy who can come in and contribute right away on and off the ice in the words of MacDonald.

Lucas St. Louis had 35 points in 30 games played for Brunswick School last year and was a member of Team USA for the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup squad.

"I'm really excited about our d-core, I think we're really deep back there and our goaltending as well," MacDonald said, "maybe we're a little younger in the top six up front but we've got some experienced guys back there on the forward group."

2021-22 SEASON

  • Last season Greg Brown led the team to a 40-16-0-6 record
  • Former Fighting Saint Stephen Halliday not only led the team in points with 95, but the enitre USHL
  • The Fighting Saints made it to the second round of the Clark Cup playoffs, but ultimately saw their season come to an end with Muskegon

OFFSEASON MOVES

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  • In June, former head coach Greg Brown left the organization to join his alma mater at Boston College to become their 12 head coach, and Kirk MacDonald was hired as the Fighting Saints next leader
  • After three season in Dubuque Justin Hale left the organization to accept his first head coaching job with the Philidelphia Rebels
  • Evan Dixon was promoted to associate head coach
  • Zach Badalamenti hired to coaching staff as an assistant

ARENA NOTES

The Fighting Saints play at Mystique Community Ice Arena in Dubuque, Iowa. The arena has a capacity of nearly 3,500 fans. The arena opened in the fall of 2010.

The Dubuque Fighting Saints season will begin on Sept. 24 in Pittsburgh as they take on the Des Moines Buccaneers at the Dick's Sporting Goods Fall Classic.

Related Topics: USHLDUBUQUE FIGHTING SAINTS
Kirsten Krull covers juniors and prospects for The Rink Live. She is a 2020 St. Cloud State graduate, and has been working in the hockey world for over six years, covering many levels of the game from juniors to the NHL.
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