Lancers at Bucs
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Omaha makes their final trip of the season to Buccaneer Arena looking to play spoiler as the Bucs try and inch closer to clinching a playoff spot.
Close games have been the story of the series between the Bucs and Lancers this season. Des Moines has won seven of the first eight meetings, however Omaha has forced overtime in four of those games. Two of the initial eight games have gone past overtime, needing a shootout to be decided. Over the last five years the Lancers have won five of 11 contests played at Buccaneer Arena.
Julian Napravnik (6g, 3a), Kobe Roth (5g, 3a), and David Keefer (3g, 5a) have paced the Bucs offense against Omaha this season. Rookie Mario Ferraro has paced the team in assists with 6 over the eight games.
Since joining the Lancers Cole Gallant has skated in six games against the Bucs, and netted five points (4g, 1a). Defenseman Derek Hamelin is tied with Gallant for the team lead with five points (1g, 4a). Filip Suchy (2g, 2a) and Greg Printz (2g) are the only Lancers to have scored more than once against Des Moines.
Jan Ruzicka is a perfect 5-0-0 with a 2.74 goals against average and a .883 save percentage against the Lancers while Tommy Nappier is 1-2-2-1 with a 3.00 goals against average and a .878 save percentage.
Having an Impact:
Even though the Lancers have been eliminated from reaching the playoffs Omaha has an opportunity to alter the Clark Cup Playoffs in the final weeks of the season. All three of the teams remaining on the Lancers schedule are currently jockeying for playoff position in their respective conference. Heading into Friday’s game the Bucs need eight points in order to clinch a playoff spot outright. Des Moines is currently in the final playoff spot in the West, but is only three points ahead of Lincoln, and one back from Fargo.
Omaha’s opponent on Saturday, Dubuque, with a victory on Friday could be in a position to clinch a playoff spot Saturday night against Omaha.
As the Lancers prepare for the final four games of the regular season, six former Lancers are preparing to lace up the skates and play for a NCAA National Championship next weekend in Chicago. Three of the four teams that have played their way into the frozen four, Notre Dame, Minnesota-Duluth, Harvard, have former Lancers on the team. Harvard leads the way with four players (Tyler Moy, Nathan Krusko, Phil Zielonka, Ryan Donato), while Minnesota-Duluth (Kyle Osterberg) and Notre Dame (Ben Ostlie) each have one.
The Frozen Four takes place at Chicago’s United Center April 6 and 8. The national semi-finals will pit Notre Dame versus Denver, and Minnesota-Duluth versus Harvard.