Powerplay Comes to Life to Give Dubuque 4-2 WinOctober 26, 2012 - United States Hockey League (USHL) Dubuque Fighting Saints
The Fighting Saints came from behind in the victory, trailing 2-1 to Des Moines with less than eight minutes to play in the third period when forward Danial Elser of the Buccaneers was called for a five-minute major penalty for spearing. The Fighting Saints scored twice on the major powerplay to take the lead and never looked back.
Connor Girard started his first game of the season at home for the Fighting Saints but it wasn't the Dubuque goalie making headlines in the first period. Des Moines starting goalie Nick Ellis was spectacular in the first period, stopping a barrage of 23 shots from the Fighting Saints.
The Buccaneers might have been outplayed in the first period, but Ellis' work was rewarded when Des Moines found themselves with the game's first goal on a fluke play in the second period. Ryan Galt rushed the puck into the Fighting Saints zone, and was knocked to the ice as he was poke-checked by Dubuque goalie Connor Girard. The puck fluttered up into the air, hit a maze of bodies in front of the net, and popped up over Girard to make it 1-0 Dubuque. Galt got credit for the unassisted goal at 3:08 of the second period.
Ellis continued to deny the Fighting Saints, making numerous stops until the Fighting Saints were finally able to get one past the Des Moines goalie. On the powerplay with under a minute left in the second period, Mike Szmatula scored to tie the game. Szmatula walked out from behind the goal and banked a backhander off the far post on Ellis' glove side for the goal. Peter Quenneville added an assist along with Jeff Taylor as the Fighting Saints evened the game at 19:20.
Dubuque had not allowed a powerplay goal all season until mid-way through the third period when Nolan Valleau scored on a beautiful wrist shot from the slot to give Des Moines a 2-1 lead at 11:11 of the third. While the penalty kill faltered for the first time, the powerplay caught fire.
Niklas Nevalainen tallied his first USHL goal to tie the game less than 45 seconds into the powerplay to tie the game at 13:03. Shane Sooth and Peter Quenneville added assists. Nevalainen snuck in on the backdoor on the left side of the ice and knocked in a rebound pass Ellis to tie the game. With the crowd on the Fighting Saints side, after a fantastic shift, the Fighting Saints powerplay converted again. Frankie DiChiara redirected a Matt Benning shot from the blueline at 15:58 for the eventual game-winning goal.
Quenneville added an additional powerplay goal at 18:07 of the third period, sniping a beautiful wrist shot from the left side off the post and in to continue his hot hand. Quenneville is on a four-game point streak and tallied a goal and two assists and was named the game's first star. The Fighting Saints fired 48 shots in the victory.
The Fighting Saints moved to a perfect 8-0-0 on the season and jumped ahead of Muskegon for first place in the Eastern Conference with 16 points on the season. Tomorrow the Fighting Saints take on the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in the first Prairie Farms Cowbell Cup Game of the season. Tomorrow night's game is Pink the Rink presented by Finley Hospital, as the Fighting Saints will help fight breast cancer. Dubuque will wear special pink accented uniforms that will be auctioned off following the game. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 p.m. Tickets are available by calling 563.583.6680 or by visiting DubuqueFightingSaints.com. The game will also be televised on KCRG 9.2.
United States Hockey League Stories from October 26, 2012
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