DES MOINES — With a regulation loss by the Chicago Steel and a regulation win by the Dubuque Fighting Saints, first place in the Eastern Conference was ripe for the taking. Those conditions were met perfectly, as the Saints took down the Des Moines Buccaneers 3-1 on Friday night at Buccaneer Arena.
Zach Solow and Patrick Kudla scored for the Fighting Saints in the third period to break a 1-1 tie. Solow scored on the power play at the 9:04 mark following a Cameron Orchard slashing minor penalty. A netmouth scramble ensued after a point shot, and Solow crashed the crease and buried a backhander by Jan Ruzicka to put the Saints up one.
Kudla followed up the goal three minutes later with a slap shot from the point that may have been redirected home by Regen Cavanagh. The goal proved to be the ultimate insurance tally which kept Des Moines at bay the rest of the way.
The Bucs pulled Ruzicka with four minutes left in regulation after Dallas Gerads got the gate for hooking. Des Moines outshot Dubuque 15-9 in the final frame, but could not beat Jaxon Castor, who was stellar throughout in his league-leading 22nd win of the year. He slammed the door shut on the 6-on-4 opportunity, and the following 6-on-5 stretch.
Tommy Parrottino started the scoring for Des Moines, which was their first goal in quite some time. The goal broke a two-game stretch where the Buccaneers were shut out over 150 minutes of action. A slap pass found Parrottino between the circles, and he lifted a shot short side to open the scoring.
The Saints responded within minutes, as Cole Guttman finished off a three-way passing play between Solow and Colin Theisen. The tic-tac-toe play found Guttman on the back post, and he stashed his 17th goal of the season through Ruzicka to tie the game at one.
Dubuque has taken the first two games of the three games in three nights stretch, and will conclude the stretch on Saturday, February 4 at Our House. Character Development Night, along with Two By Two Education, sponsored by Magoo’s Pizza, involves 20 items up for auction, and a 50/50 pot which will start at $3,000, all to benefit Two By Two. For tickets, call the box office at 563.583.6880, or go to DubuqueFightingSaints.com.