Eight players are back to help the Dubuque Fighting Saints attempt to defend their United States Hockey League title, but that journey will begin in a very unfamiliar environment.
The Fighting Saints, winners of the 2013 Clark Cup, will represent the USHL in the 2013 Junior Club World Cup in Omsk, Russia. The tournament features a junior team from eight countries, including Canada, the United States, Finland, Sweden and Belarus. Dubuque will play three games in four days of group play, starting Sunday against HC Riga of Latvia. If the Saints finish in the top two of a pool that includes Vitkovice Steel of the Czech Republic and the host Omsk Hawks, they will advance in the tournament to play two more games.
Dubuque arrived in Russia on Thursday and lost a 4-1 exhibition contest to CSKA Red Army in Moscow on Friday. Seamus Malone, a returnee from the title-winning squad and a University of Wisconsin commit, had the team's goal.