Saints Stun Gamblers, Take Game 1
GREEN BAY - Down 1-0 just past the opening minute of the first period, the Dubuque Fighting Saints never deterred. The Saints rattled off three unanswered goals as they defeated the Green Bay Gamblers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round Series 3-1 at the Resch Center on Monday night. Dubuque leads the best-of-three series 1-0.
Taylor Schneider scored his first goal in 18 games to snap a personal goal drought, but to put the Fighting Saints on top early in the third period, and for good. Quinn Preston won a race to a loose puck following the conclusion of an early power play in the third period, and fired a pinpoint pass directly to Schneider's tape, as he redirected the pass past Gamblers goaltender Maksim Zhukov to give the Saints the 2-1 lead, which they would not relinquish.
Preston added an empty net goal with 10 seconds remaining in the third period to ice the game, and give the Saints the 1-0 series lead, as he blocked a shot coming out of his own zone, and connected uncontested into the offensive zone for his fourth career playoff goal.
Tyce Thompson got the ball rolling in the positive direction for the Fighting Saints after trailing for 38 minutes of the game. Logan Pietila kept the puck around the perimeter and found Aidan Fulp at the blue line. His wrist shot bounded off the side of the net, but Thompson was there to bank the shot off of Zhukov and clean up the loose crumbs for his first playoff goal, which brought the Saints even.
Green Bay started the game off without a hitch with a goal from Nolan Moyle at the 1:19 mark of the first period, on the game's first shot. Moyle raced into the offensive zone, wrapped the puck all the way around and into the net past Cole Weaver to get the scoring started. But it was succeeded by 58 minutes and 41 seconds of offensive silence.
Weaver settled down after that point and made 23 crucial saves, including many on the Gamblers' three power play opportunities of the night. It was his first playoff win in a place where he had picked up two wins prior, including his first career USHL shutout.
The Saints lead the best-of-three series 1-0 and can wrap up the First Round series with a win tomorrow night at the Resch Center at 7:05 p.m. Catch all of the action on Dubuque's Super Hits 106.1 FM, or on the USHL's streaming video provider, HockeyTV.
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