GENEVA, Ill. — Down twice throughout regulation, the Dubuque Fighting Saints retaliated to force overtime. However, Erik Middendorf scored at the 3:51 mark of the extra session to earn the extra standings point and defeat the Fighting Saints 3-2 at Fox Valley Ice Arena.
Matt Coronato, the league’s leading goal scorer, jumped on a turnover and put the puck into Middendorf’s wheelhouse in front of the net, and he pitchforked the puck past a sprawled out Hobie Hedquist to put the home team ahead for good.
Hedquist made a career-high 33 saves, and kept the highest-powered offense in the USHL humble on the evening. He made his best sequence of saves in the first period as he stopped Jack Harvey and Josh Doan within back-to-back scoring opportunities, and then Sean Farrell, the league’s leading overall scorer 15 seconds later.
The Minnesotan was most tested in the second period, where he stopped all 15 shots fired his way.
Chicago opened the scoring after Hedquist kept the game scoreless throughout the first period. Ian Moore took a pass from Farrell after he danced around the zone and spotted Moore off of a pick to tap the puck into an open cage late in the first period. It was his third goal in as many games.
The Saints would respond in the second period with a defenseman who also scored his third goal in as many games. Ian Pierce picked up the rebound of an Andrei Buyalsky chance out in front of the goal and snapped a shot from high in the zone that beat Steel goaltender Simon Latkoczy to even the score. It was Pierce’s seventh goal of the season.
Chicago struck back early in the third period after the Fighting Saints killed off a carryover penalty. Harvey converted on a pass from Doan right down the middle of the ice and tucked the puck past Hedquist in tight to give Chicago the lead. It took until the midway point of the third period for the Saints to respond, but they responded in kind.
Stonewalled just moments before, Matt Savoie would not be denied a second time. A misfired pass turned into a broken play, as Robert Cronin and Stephen Halliday set up Savoie, whose rocket from the right circle found a way into the back of the net to tie the score. It was Savoie’s 11th tally of the year.
Neither team converted on special teams.
The Fighting Saints are back in action to face off against the Green Bay Gamblers at 3:05 p.m. on Sunday, March 21. Catch the action and get your tickets at DubuqueFightingSaints.com.