BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — In the Dubuque Fighting Saints’ only trip to Bloomington this season, the Saints withstood a last-ditch offensive push by the homestanding Thunder, and got the win, 3-2, on Friday night at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum.
Colin Theisen notched a goal 46 seconds into the third period, the game-winner, off of a set faceoff play to the top of the right circle. His shot evaded traffic and eluded the reach of Bloomington goaltender Gabriel Mollot-Hill, and put Dubuque up 3-0. The seemingly safe lead did not go without its challenges.
Mired in an 11-game goalless drought, pesty Thunder forward Jake Durflinger scored not once, but twice, to lead the charge. His goal at 13:46, a deflection of a point shot from Wyatt Kalynuk, found a way through traffic and ended Jaxon Castor’s shutout bid. Mollot-Hill had scampered to the bench for the extra attacker, but had immediately returned as soon as the puck went into the net.
Durflinger followed up his first goal with one more out of a netmouth scramble at 18:15. Tarek Baker’s initial shot was stopped by Castor, but the rebound found Durflinger open on the back door, and his second goal put the Thunder within a goal. The Saints held on in the final minute to close out the game.
What has been termed the #SolowStreak proved to live on another night, as Zach Solow scored the second Dubuque goal of the night midway through regulation. Dallas Gerads stashed the puck to the net, and Solow followed up the play off the bench and wired a shot from the slot into the goal to make it 2-0 Fighting Saints.
Solow’s point streak now stands at 17 games, dating all the way back to October 29 against the Waterloo Black Hawks. The point streak includes 27 total points in that span.
Austin Rueschhoff started the scoring for Dubuque with a goal resulting from forechecking pressure. Regen Cavanagh picked a Bloomington defender’s pocket, and sent a pass through the blue paint right to Rueschhoff, who had an open four-by-six to deposit his seventh goal of the season into.
Castor made 32 saves in the win for Dubuque. He has now won four of his last five starts, and remains tied with Sioux City’s Matiss Kivlenieks for tops in goalie wins (17).
Both teams went without a power play goal on the night.
The Fighting Saints return to action Saturday, January 7 against the Madison Capitols at Our House starting at 7:05 p.m. Join the action by calling the box office at 563.583.6880, or by going to DubuqueFightingSaints.com to be part of the home ice advantage.