Backed by 27 saves from Hobie Hedquist and propelled by two goals from Matthew Kopperud, the Fighting Saints earned a series split with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in Saturday night’s 3-2 win. In his first USHL start, Hedquist was stellar for the Fighting Saints and gave the team a needed boost in the second game of the series. Kopperud’s two tallies included the game winner with under five minutes to play.
-The Saints bounced back from their fifth loss of the season with a gritty effort against a strong Cedar Rapids team. CR didn’t lose a step from the game last night and they were much more stingy on defense. Offensive chances were few and far between for the two teams in the game.
-CR got the scoring started in this game, as Bennett Zmolek scored his first USHL goal late in the first period off a broken play. Grant Silianoff, who had three points last night, assisted on the goal.
-Dubuque was able to answer quickly in the second period with not one, but two goals of their own. The first came from Kopperud on a pretty feed from Riese Gaber. Kopperud took a hard pass and deflected it through the five-hole of CR netminder Aidan Harper.
-Just a few minutes later, Ty and Dylan Jackson combined for a pretty goal. The two weaved over the blue line and Dylan threw a pass to Ty on the right dot. Ty rocketed the puck over Harper’s blocker side to give the Saints the lead.
-CR answered early in the third on a goal that was initially waved off. After review it was changed and the game was tied two minutes in.
-Kopperud and Gaber teamed up for their second goal of the game with 4:51 left in regulation a similar play to the one that was scored in the second. Gaber and Kopperud were the only two players in the game with multi-point efforts for Dubuque. Zmolek had two points for CR.
-The game was the second in a row that Dubuque was outshot in, making it the first time the Saints have been outshot in back to back games.
-Defensively the effort was much better for the Saints. They only allowed two goals and allowed 18 shots fewer in the contest as well.
-Next up for Dubuque they will finish off the weekend with a game against the U-17’s on their home ice. The Saints are 0-1 against the younger group of the NTDP this season, losing 5-4 in overtime on the road.