DUBUQUE, Iowa — The Dubuque Fighting Saints started Friday’s game on fire with two consecutive goals, and went into the third period tied with the league-leading Chicago Steel. However, it was the visitors who scored four goals on eight shots in the third period, broke the tie, and defeated the Saints 7-3 at the Mystique Community Ice Center.
Matt Coronato, the league’s leading goal scorer, added a hat trick to go along with two assists, to lead the Steel attack. His shorthanded goal one minute into the third period turned the momentum of the game completely, as Chicago kept the Saints out of their zone from then on, and added even more.
Coronato’s 39th goal of the season came on a snap shot from the circle on the power play at the 8:20 mark, followed by a goal from Sam Lipkin. Ryan Ufko added another tally late to cap Chicago’s scoring.
The Fighting Saints jumped to an early 2-0 lead to start the game. Hobie Hedquist made a dynamite save on Coronato, which led to a chance the other direction. Daniyal Dzhaniyev carved down the left wing and buried a shot top shelf at the 4:01 mark of the first period to open the scoring. Just three minutes later, Ian Pierce found a lane to beat Jack Stark to double the lead.
It was, however, a goal in the final 15 seconds of the first period that turned things around quickly. Josh Doan tipped a pinballing pass upstairs past Hedquist to cut the lead in half. It was Coronato who started the second period in Chicago’s favor by tying the game three and a half minutes into the middle frame.
Dubuque re-took the lead late in the second period, and that power play goal looked to set the tone. After Robert Cronin barely missed batting home a rebound, Matt Savoie and Stephen Halliday played catch across the seam, and Halliday spotted Andrei Buyalsky cruising through the slot and deflected the puck into the back of the net to make it 3-2 home team. The celebration did not last long, as Ian Moore capitalized on the back end of two consecutive penalties to tie the game once again for Chicago.
The Saints controlled the game for the first 40 minutes of action. They outshot the Steel 17-8 in the first period, and 11-7 in the second period. It was Chicago’s performance in the third period that turned the game around and ultimately led to the victory.
The Saints will look to pick up a measure of revenge against the Chicago Steel on Saturday, March 20 at 7:05 p.m. at the Fox Valley Ice Arena. Catch the action on the Fighting Saints Radio Network or on HockeyTV.