Propelled by two Riese Gaber goals, the Fighting Saints came away with a hard-fought 4-3 victory over Cedar Rapids on Friday night. The Saints beat the RoughRiders for the third time this season and finished their regular season series on a good note. Dubuque never trailed against the RoughRiders and a Matias Maccelli empty-netter with just over a minute to play turned out to be the game winner for the Saints.
-Gaber was a monster all game for the Fighting Saints as he peppered Blake Pietila throughout. Gaber scored twice, including a highlight reel goal where he circled the entire zone before wrapping it around and in. The first-year USHL winger now has 22 goals this season.
-Willie Knierim recorded his 100th career point as a Fighting Saint with a goal and an assist in the game. Knierim became just the 5th player in the Saints Tier-1 history with 100 career points for Dubuque. Knierim played a physical game as well for Dubuque.
-The Saints scored the first goal of the game and the winner of every game in the season series between the RoughRiders and Dubuque ended up scoring the first goal during this season’s games. Dubuque scored twice in the second period to jump out to their lead.
-Cedar Rapids closed the game to 2-1, then 3-2 and ultimately fell 4-3. The RoughRiders did not make it easy on the Saints, but Dubuque’s defensive effort was up to the push.
-Aaron Randazzo recorded his 10th win of the season in his first full game against Cedar Rapids. Randazzo had played just over 65 minutes previously between two games this season against CR. He made a few key saves for Dubuque in the game.
-The physicality in this game was lesser than in previous contests between the two, but there was still some pushing and shoving and after whistle altercations. The Fighting Saints matched both the grit and defense of the RoughRiders, another key to their win.
-It was the first time this season that Dubuque has beaten CR on home ice. The RoughRiders were a perfect 3-0 in Dubuque before the game tonight.
-It was also the first loss of the season for Blake Pietila in a game he has started against Dubuque. Pietila was 6-0 against Dubuque in his starts this season. The RoughRider netminder wasn’t as sharp as he usually is between the pipes.
-With the loss Cedar Rapids failed to gain ground on the teams ahead of them and will remain in fourth for the time being. Chicago was a winner Friday and Youngstown lost. CR still has a game in hand, but now do not control their destiny when it comes to clinching second in the East.
-Dubuque will tussle with Chicago tomorrow in what could also be a first-round preview.