MUSKEGON, Mich. — He was pulled just after four minutes of action the night before, but bounced back with authority on Saturday. Jaxon Castor made 27 saves throughout regulation and overtime, and added two more stops in the shootout, leading the Dubuque Fighting Saints to a 2-1 victory over the Muskegon Lumberjacks at L.C. Walker Arena.
Castor stopped Andrei Svechnikov with a stretched out stop on a nifty deke in the first round of the shootout, and forced Collin Adams to fire the puck wide of the net to keep the Jacks’ top two scorers off the sheet. Colin Theisen started the shootout with a pinpoint shot over Adam Brizgala’s shoulder, and Cole Guttman, whose point streak officially ended on Saturday, ended things with a dagger goal in the second round.
Castor’s only blemish was a Svechnikov one-timer on a 5-on-3 power play late in the third period. The league’s leading defensive scorer, Bo Hanson, slid the puck to the Russian forward, who powered a slap shot inside the bar to tie the score at one.
Regen Cavanagh scored in his return to the lineup on Saturday. Patrick Kudla and Jacob Semik executed a set play off of a faceoff, and Semik slipped the puck to Cavanagh on the back door to start the scoring at the 11:54 mark of the first period. It was the exclamation point on a first period that went Dubuque’s way, to the tune of a 15-4 shot advantage.
Muskegon controlled the play for the rest of the way, as they outshot the Fighting Saints 22-6 for the rest of regulation. The two teams finished overtime tied with two shots.
Adams came close to ending the game in overtime with a clean shot off the goal post on a Svechnikov wraparound. Castor also denied Adams with a point-blank stop late in regulation to keep Muskegon at one goal.
Brizgala’s personal four-game winning streak came to a close, and the Muskegon Lumberjacks fell one game short of a new franchise mark for wins in a row. Castor notched his 21st win of the season, which continues to lead the league.
The Fighting Saints will play three games in three nights this upcoming week. The road trip continues in Sioux Falls on Thursday, and in Des Moines on Friday. The Saints will return home to take on the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders on Saturday night for Character Development Night, along with Two By Two Education, sponsored by Magoo’s Pizza, at 7:05 p.m. The 50/50 pot will start at $2,000, and NHL and Dubuque Fighting Saints jerseys will be up for auction. For tickets, call the box office at 563.583.6880, or DubuqueFightingSaints.com.