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By Chicago Steel, 04/17/18, 9:00AM CDT


Here’s what you need to know about the Clark Cup Playoff Format, the teams in the playoffs, playoff dates and more!


(1) Waterloo Black Hawks
(2) Omaha Lancers
(3) Fargo Force
(4) Sioux Falls Stampede
(5) Lincoln Stars
(6) Tri-City Storm

Eastern Conference

(1) Team USA
(2) Youngstown Phantoms
(3) Muskegon Lumberjacks
(4) Green Bay Gamblers

(5) Dubuque Fighting Saints
(6) Chicago Steel



Eastern Conference Final

(2) Youngstown Phantoms vs. Team USA/Chicago Steel


Western Conference Final



Eastern Conference Semifinals

(1) Team USA vs. (6) Chicago Steel (Series tied 1-1)

Game 1: Team USA [3], Chicago [0]

Game 2: Chicago [6], Team USA [2]

Game 3: Thursday, 4/26/18 at 7:05 PM CT at Fox Valley Ice Arena

Game 4: Friday, 4/27/18 at 7:05 PM CT at Fox Valley Ice Arena

Game 5 (if necessary): Sunday, 4/29/18 at 3:05 PM ET at USA Hockey Arena


(2) Youngstown Phantoms vs. (5) Dubuque Fighting Saints (YNG wins series 3-0)

Game 1: Youngstown [3], Dubuque [1]

Game 2: Youngstown [3], Dubuque [2]

Game 3: Youngstown [3], Dubuque [0]


Western Conference Semifinals

(1) Waterloo Black Hawks vs. (5) Lincoln Stars (Series tied 1-1)

Game 1: Lincoln [3], Waterloo [2] (OT)

Game 2: Waterloo [3], Lincoln [0]

Game 3: Wednesday, 4/25/18 at 7:05 PM CT at Ice Box

Game 4: Thursday, 4/26/18 at 7:05 PM CT at Ice Box

Game 5 (if necessary): Saturday, 4/28/18 at 7:05 PM CT at Young Arena 


(2) Omaha Lancers vs. (3) Fargo Force (FGO leads series 2-1)

Game 1: Fargo [2], Omaha [1]

Game 2: Omaha [6], Fargo [3]

Game 3: Fargo [6], Omaha [5]

Game 4: Wednesday, 4/25/18 at 7:05 PM CT at Scheels Arena

Game 5 (if necessary): Friday, 4/27/18 at 7:05 PM CT at Ralston Arena


Eastern Conference First Round

(3) Muskegon Lumberjacks vs. (6) Chicago Steel (CHI wins series 2-1)

Game 1: Muskegon [3], Chicago [2]

Game 2: Chicago [6], Muskegon [2]

Game 3: Chicago [5], Muskegon [4] (OT)


(4) Green Bay Gamblers vs. (5) Dubuque Fighting Saints (DBQ wins series 2-0)

Game 1: Dubuque [3], Green Bay [1]

Game 2: Dubuque [5], Green Bay [1]


Western Conference First Round

(3) Fargo Force vs. (6) Tri-City Storm (FGO wins series 2-0)

Game 1: Fargo [5], Tri-City [1]

Game 2: Fargo [3], Tri-City [0]


(4) Sioux Falls Stampede vs. (5) Lincoln Stars (LIN wins series 2-1)

Game 1: Sioux Falls [5], Lincoln [3]

Game 2: Lincoln [6], Sioux Falls [3]

Game 3: Lincoln [5], Sioux Falls [4] (OT)



1. How many teams qualify for the Clark Cup Playoffs? 

The top six teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs.

2. What is the playoff format?

The 2018 Clark Cup Playoffs consist of four rounds. The first round is a best-of-three series played at the higher seed. The three remaining rounds are best-of-five series with the higher seed having home ice advantage. There is no shootout in playoff games; if tied after regulation, the game will advance to sudden-death overtime periods of 20 minutes each until a winner is determined. Here is the format:

First Round (best-of-three) - within each conference, #3 vs. #6, #4 vs. #5

Conference Semifinals (best-of-five) – within each conference, #1 vs. lowest remaining seed, #2 vs. second-lowest remaining seed

Conference Finals (best-of-five) – within each conference, the winners of the Conference Semifinals meet

Clark Cup Final – winners of each Conference Finals series

3. When will the playoff games be played?

Playoff dates are announced prior to the start of each series, once the matchup is officially determined. Here are probable dates for each series:

First Round – Monday, April 16 through Thursday, April 19

Conference Semifinals – Friday, April 20 through Saturday, April 28

Conference Finals – Friday, April 27 through Tuesday, May 8

Clark Cup Final – Friday, May 11 through Wednesday, May 23

Please note that this is subject to change due to building availability and travel, so make sure to check for the schedule for each playoff series which will be announced when the matchup is officially determined.

4. When will playoff tickets go on sale?

Playoff ticket packages are on sale now through the Steel Pay As We Play program. This ensures the same seat to every Clark Cup Playoff Home Game. The Steel also offer a March Madness package that guarantees FREE playoff games with the purchase of a new season ticket plan (starting at just 5 games) for next season.

Single-game playoff tickets will be on sale prior to each series. Please continue to check for announcements on playoff ticket on-sale dates for each round.

5.  What is the Clark Cup?

The Clark Cup is symbolic of supremacy in American junior hockey, presented annually to the playoff champions of the nation’s only Tier 1 circuit, the USHL. It is named in honor of Don Clark, the long-time registrar of the Minnesota Amateur Hockey Association.

The Steel won the Clark Cup for the first time in 2017, defeating the Sioux City Musketeers in Game 5, 2-1 in overtime, May 23 at Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa. Tyler Gratton scored the Cup-clinching goal 11:30 into overtime.

Clark Cup Champions

2016-17 Chicago Steel
2015-16 Tri-City Storm
2014-15 Sioux Falls Stampede
2013-14 Indiana Ice
2012-13 Dubuque Fighting Saints
2011-12 Green Bay Gamblers
2010-11 Dubuque Fighting Saints
2009-10 Green Bay Gamblers
2008-09 Indiana Ice
2007-08 Omaha Lancers
2006-07 Sioux Falls Stampede
2005-06 Des Moines Buccaneers
2004-05 Cedar Rapids RoughRiders
2003-04 Waterloo Black Hawks
2002-03 Lincoln Stars
2001-02 Sioux City Musketeers
2000-01 Omaha Lancers
1999-00 Green Bay Gamblers
1998-99 Des Moines Buccaneers
1997-98 Sioux City Musketeers
1996-97 Omaha Lancers
1995-96 Green Bay Gamblers
1994-95 Des Moines Buccaneers
1993-94 Omaha Lancers
1992-93 Omaha Lancers
1991-92 Des Moines Buccaneers
1990-91 Omaha Lancers
1989-90 Omaha Lancers
1988-89 Thunder Bay Flyers
1987-88 Thunder Bay Flyers
1986-87 Rochester Mustangs
1985-86 Sioux City Musketeers
1984-85 Dubuque Fighting Saints
1983-84 St. Paul Vulcans
1982-83 Dubuque Fighting Saints
1981-82 Sioux City Musketeers
1980-81 Dubuque Fighting Saints
1979-80 Hennepin Nordiques