USHL Notebook: Dubuque earns big win, Lincoln's Mangan extends streak and teams battle for playoff spots
With just two weekends remaining in the regular season, points are at a premium as teams battle for playoff spots and positioning
With the Clark Cup Playoffs right around the corner, USHL writer Jordan McAlpine gets you caught up on what’s happening around the USHL.
Dubuque wins Tuesday night tilt over Green Bay
In a game that was initially supposed to be played on March 31, the Dubuque Fighting Saints earned a huge two points Tuesday night (April 11) in a 4-2 win over Green Bay.
Jake Sondreal scored a pair of goals — his 12th and 13th of the season — while Brayden Morrison and Caelum Dick also both found the back of the net. Dubuque goaltender Marcus Brännman made 34 saves and picked up his 22nd win of the season.
Jake Sondreal scored twice and Marcus Brännman turned aside 36 shots to help propel us to a 4-2 win tonight over Green Bay!#HailToTheHalo #StarsRise pic.twitter.com/lJBqdw12CG— x - Dubuque Fighting Saints (@fightingsaints) April 12, 2023
The Gamblers and Fighting Saints are now tied for fourth in the Eastern Conference with 66 points each. Both teams have four games remaining and a top-four finish will earn home ice in the opening round of the playoffs.
“This group has had such a good mindset and they’ve just worked all year,” Dubuque head coach Kirk MacDonald told The Rink Live earlier this week. “Every day they show up and put the work in, and they really pride themselves on that hard work. It’s been a fun group to be around.”
Lincoln’s Mangan goes streaking
Jared Mangan owns the USHL’s longest active point streak at nine games. Mangan has 10 points (2-8-10) in that stretch and 20 points (8-12-20) over his last 20 games.
The Clarkson commit has 13 goals and 35 points in 56 games this season. This is his second USHL season as Mangan played 26 games for the Madison Capitols last season. He had just three points – all assists – last season.
Lincoln head coach Rocky Russo said Mangan is having a "great second half" during his weekly press conference.
The Clark Cup playoffs begin on April 24. The top six teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs and nine teams have already clinched their spots – four in the West Conference and five in the Eastern Conference. A couple others could join them this weekend.
Magic Numbers (in points): Sioux City (1), Cedar Rapids (2).
THE FINAL COUNTDOWN ⏳#clarkcupplayoffs2023 pic.twitter.com/b4RdbRilEG— USHL (@USHL) April 10, 2023
- Cedar Rapids can clinch the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a win or a Muskegon loss. The RoughRiders are sixth with 62 points, seven up on Muskegon. Cedar Rapids has also played one fewer game.
- Chicago, Youngstown and the NTDP are guaranteed to finish as the top three teams in the Eastern Conference. Chicago can clinch the conference title with four more points. Youngstown and the NTDP are currently tied for second with 75 points while Chicago leads the way with 79.
- It’ll likely be a battle between Green Bay and Dubuque for home ice in the first round, although Cedar Rapids can still catch both teams.
- Fargo needs one point to clinch the Western Conference title. The Force lead the way with 83 points.
- Waterloo (75 pts.), Lincoln (74 pts.) and Tri-City (71 pts.) are currently second, third and fourth in the west. The second-place team will get a bye while the next two will host the opening round of the playoffs.
- Sioux City can clinch a playoff spot with one point or a Sioux Falls loss. The Musketeers can finish no higher than fifth.
- Sioux Falls currently holds the final spot in the Western Conference with 51 points. Des Moines is right behind with 50 and the Buccaneers have played one fewer game. The Buccaneers have a three-in-three this weekend, starting with a pair of games at Tri-City.
- Although the Lancers are at the bottom of the Western Conference, Omaha is technically still alive. Omaha has 41 points but would have to win out and see Des Moines and Sioux Falls lose the rest of their games in regulation.
- Madison is the only team mathematically eliminated.
- Dubuque forward Ryan St. Louis, Green Bay defenseman Bodie Nobes and Waterloo goaltender Emmett Croteau were named the USHL Players of the Week. For more on each player and their recent play, click here.
- As the regular season winds down, it’s another busy weekend as Friday and Saturday both feature a full slate of eight games, followed by one on Sunday. Des Moines will visit Omaha Sunday at 4:05 p.m.
- The USHL Phase II combine is taking place this weekend in Orland Park, Ill. The combine begins on April 13 and will feature testing and scrimmages throughout the weekend. To view the schedule and rosters for the event, click here.
- Madison defenseman
has set the USHL record for the most points by a 16-year-old defenseman with 28. Felicio has four goals and 24 assists this season.
- Lincoln’s Mason Marcellus and Chicago’s Jayden Perron are tied on the USHL’s assist leaderboard with 47 each. Perron is also tied for fourth with 69 points.
leads the league in wins (25), save percentage (.919), GAA (2.31) and shutouts (5). Fowler has won seven of his last eight starts and 18 of 21 going back to the start of the new year.
- Since the turn of the century, only five USHL players have scored more than
46 goals this year: Kevin Roy (54, 2011-12, Lincoln), Matt Coronato (48, Chicago, 2020-21), Daniil Tarasov (47, Indiana, 2011-12) and Brandon Bochenski (47, Lincoln, 2000-01). Two others also reached 46 — Rem Pitlick (46, Muskegon, 2015-16) and Thomas Vanek (46, Sioux Falls, 2001-02). The USHL record for goals in a season is 67 (Rod Taylor, Sioux City, 1986-87).
- After this weekend every team will have played 60 games, except for Madison and Cedar Rapids. The RoughRiders and Capitols still have to play their make-up game next Tuesday (April 11) which was also postponed on March 31 due to severe weather in eastern Iowa.