January 18, 2013 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - Dubuque Fighting Saints
DUBUQUE, Iowa- The Dubuque Fighting Saints took the theme of repeating in honor of the movie Groundhog Day quite literally Friday night. The Fighting Saints repeatedly lit the lamp over and over again in the first period, scoring four times en route to a 4-1 win over the Chicago Steel in front of 2,933 fans at the Mystique Community Ice Center. The evening was the Fighting Saints' Groundhog Game. Groundhog Game. presented by media partner KDTH as the Fighting Saints toasted the 20th anniversary of the movie Groundhog Day, in which star Bill Murray's character is stuck in a time loop and has his day constantly repeat.
Dubuque got goals in the first frame from four different players and dominated the Steel, outshooting Chicago 12-2. Peter Quenneville, Brandon Carlson, Keegan Ford, and Mike Szmatula all struck for goals in the first period to propel the Fighting Saints to a league leading 26th victory.
Quenneville got the Fighting Saints on the board at the 13:39 mark of the first period, scoring his 19th goal of the season. Niklas Nevalainen collected the puck on the left point and fired a pass to Quenneville in the low slot. The forward danced around Chicago goalie Alex Sakellaropoulos and tucked the puck in on a backhander to make it 1-0 Fighting Saints.
Carlson added to the lead with his third goal of the season two minutes later at 15:45. John Stevens accepted a Dylan Gambrell pass and blasted a shot from the right wing that Sakellaropolos kicked out, but Carlson, named an Alternate Captain this week, crashed the net and slid the rebound into an open net to extend Dubuque's lead to a pair.
Ford and Szmatula doubled the Fighting Saints lead with goals at 16:52 and 19:36 of the first period. Ford's goal came on the powerplay as the blueliner unloaded a powerful slapshot that found its way top corner. Assists went to Seamus Malone and John Stevens. Szmatula scored just before the period ended, tipping a beautiful Mike Downing pass from the left point into the goal for his team leading 24th goal of the season. Frankie DiChiara also assisted on the goal to end the first period that also featured a marathon fight between Dubuque's A.J. Fossen and Chicago's Michael Holland.
Much like the goals, in-game promotions also repeated throughout the evening, with fans rubbing their eyes, thinking, "Haven't we already lived through this - A contestant played Jeopardy during the first intermission and that same contestant was called back in the second intermission to compete in the repeating event, with the same questions and answers repeated once more. Additionally, the Fischer Lanes Slingshot Bowling intermission game saw the same contestant get to repeat their first attempt again, getting two cracks at being propelled across the ice in hopes of a bowling a strike.
Other inÃ¢=80=90game entertainment included music from the film, featuring the song "I Got You Babe," by Sonny and Cher, which Murray's character constantly wakes up to as the day repeats over and over. This song played prior to the start of each period. Promotions also included tidbits from the movie such as announcements for the insurance agency featured in the film, as well as fun with the word Punxsutawney, the town where the Groundhog Day festivities are being held in the movie.
On the ice, the two teams failed to score until there was 1:20 remaining in the third period when Chicago finally got on the scoreboard on Sam Piazza's goal from the blueline that tucked in glove side. Despite that shot, Dubuque's Connor Girard was perfect in goal, registering his third straight win and stopping 16 shots in the victory. Girard was named the game's first star.
The Fighting Saints were 1-for-4 on the powerplay and held Chicago to 0-for-4 on the man advantage. Stevens was the only multi-point scorer for the Fighting Saints, tallying two assists. The Fighting Saints outshot the Steel 27-17. Head Coach Jim Montgomery collected his 99th win behind the bench for the Fighting Saints.
The Fighting Saints start seven straight games away from Dubuque tomorrow with a key Prairie Farms Cowbell Cup matchup in Waterloo versus the Black Hawks. The Fighting Saints are 0-2-0 this season versus Waterloo and are 3-2-0 overall in Prairie Farms Cowbell Cup play. Dubuque is in Michigan next weekend for three games and then head to Indiana to battle with the Ice for the first time this season to start February. The Fighting Saints play at Cedar Rapids February 8, then return home on February 9 for a Prairie Farms matchup with the Waterlooo Black Hawks at 7:05 p.m. It is Las Vegas Night, and the game will be televised on KCRG 9.2. Tickets are available by calling 563.583.6880 or online at DubuqueFightingSaints.