DUBUQUE, Iowa — Whether it was blocking shots, or scoring at opportune times, the Dubuque Fighting Saints rode Jeff Baum’s first USHL goal to victory. The Saints topped the Green Bay Gamblers 3-2 on Friday night at the Mystique Community Ice Center.
Baum capitalized on a broken play just seconds into the third period, and his goal chased Gamblers goaltender Maksim Zhukov from the crease. Colin Theisen and Zach Solow notched assists on the play at the 0:29 mark, as Baum’s shot floated through a maze of traffic and found a way through Zhukov who was screened on the play.
Brody Stevens, playing in his 170th career USHL game, was rewarded with a goal to cut the Fighting Saints’ 3-1 lead to 3-2 at 18:09. But the Gamblers, if not for Jaxon Castor in net, could have tied it. First, Castor stonewalled Josh Dunne on a penalty shot early in the third period to keep it 3-1 at the time.
He also got a blocker on Nolan Moyle’s shot attempt on the feed from Casey Mittelstadt to keep the lead secure. It was just a few of his 16 saves on the night en route to his sixth win of the season.
Veli-Matti Tiuraniemi got the scoring started for the Fighting Saints early in the first period. Following consecutive tripping penalties by the Gamblers, Solow set up Tiuraniemi in the high slot, and his shot found a way through traffic and through the frame of the net surrounding the crossbar to open the scoring. It was the Finnish defenseman’s second goal of the season.
The Fighting Saints also got a critical goal in the latter stages of the second period from Austin Rueschhoff, his third goal of the season, to put them up 2-1. Tiuraniemi and Alex Steeves picked up helpers on the play, in which Tiuraniemi jumped on a missed chance out of the corner, and found Rueschhoff on the doorstep.
The Saints clocked the Gamblers on the shot count, outshooting them 28-18 during Military Appreciation Night, including 10-3 in the opening frame. Green Bay’s potent, top-ranked power play was also completely held off of the board, going 0-for-4. The Fighting Saints’ penalty kill is now 36 for its last 37, dating back several weeks.
These two teams will go at it again, but this time at the Resch Center, at 7:05 p.m. Saturday. Catch all of the action on Dubuque’s Super Hits 106.1 FM, or on the USHL’s streaming video provider, HockeyTV, starting at 6:50 p.m. for the pregame show.