OMAHA, Neb. — The Omaha Lancers erased an early Dubuque Fighting Saints lead in the first period, and outlasted a comeback attempt in the third period to hold on for the win. The Lancers defeated the Fighting Saints 3-2 on Friday night at Ralston Arena.
Jack Randl converted on the rebound of a missed opportunity early in the third period to stoke the hometown Lancers to a decisive 3-1 lead at the time. Randl’s goal came at the 4:56 mark of the third period, giving the Saints plenty of time to mount a comeback, and mount it, they did.
Dubuque outshot Omaha 17-12 in the third period, with shift after shift of pressure. The pressure finally came through for the Saints, as Tyce Thompson drove the center lane and tried to split the defense. After that attempt failed, Logan Pietila picked up the miss and lifted a backhander over a sprawled Zach Driscoll to cut the Lancers’ lead to one.
Omaha originally had to fight back from behind, and rather early, at that. Jan Kern spotted Matias Maccelli breaking for the back post, and the pinpoint pass found the Finn for his second goal of the season at the 1:53 mark of the opening period. It was the 21st time that the Saints had struck first in a game this season.
The lead stood for ten minutes, until a set faceoff play and a perfectly played forechecking scheme came through for Omaha. Mathieu de St. Phalle collected a faceoff win from Aleksi Peltonen and ripped a shot over the shoulder of James Durham to tie the game at one at 11:45.
Cole Gallant gave the Lancers the lead—one they would not relinquish—with just a minute to go in the first period. Filip Suchy and Noah Cates forced a Fighting Saints turnover and Cates fired a pass cross crease to Gallant for his tenth of the season, becoming the seventh Lancers player in double digits in scoring.
The Saints had an opportunity to tie the game at two intervals, but both opportunities were washed out. A potential goal was waved off in the second period which would have tied the game at two, and a massive scramble with seconds later was blown dead due a quick whistle on a puck that was lost in the scrum.
The game was largely played at even strength, with just one power play all night. Maccelli was flagged down for high sticking midway through the second period, but to no result.
The Saints are back in action on Saturday night at the Mystique Community Ice Center against the Central Illinois Flying Aces for Olympics Night, a celebration of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. The first 1,000 fans will receive an Olympic Bernie bobblehead. For tickets, go to DubuqueFightingSaints.com.