GENEVA, Ill. — The Dubuque Fighting Saints hit the road on Friday, and came away with two points. Robert Cronin’s shorthanded goal at the 12:52 mark of the third period was the go-ahead goal that ended the Chicago Steel’s comeback bid, as the Fighting Saints picked up the win 5-4 at the Fox Valley Ice Arena.
Cronin weaved his way through two defenders in the neutral zone, and uncorked a wrist shot from just inside the line that beat a stunned Jack Stark to give the Saints their final lead of the night. It answered two consecutive goals by Chicago to tie the game within a 1:40 span. The goal was Cronin’s 23rd of the season, and his second goal of the night.
Erik Middendorf and Sean Farrell, part of Chicago’s five-headed monster, both tallied to begin the third period and erase the Fighting Saints’ two-goal advantage heading into the third. The Steel had killed off the remainder of a Fighting Saints power play, and scored on consecutive shots to pull even.
The tone of the game was set almost immediately with a wild first period of play.
Five goals on 20 shots happened in the first period, with the Fighting Saints in the lead at 3-2 when the first twenty minutes came to a close. Jack Harvey started the scoring on a breakaway just under four minutes into the action to give Chicago the early lead.
Dubuque retaliated in kind. Cronin stashed home the rebound of a Henry Thrun shot to tie the game at 6:34, and Ryan Alexander helped Primo Self give the Saints their first lead of the night at 12:30 with a shot from distance. It was Self’s second goal in as many games.
Chicago’s Adam Fantilli tied the game momentarily, but a faceoff win by the Saints led to the go-ahead goal in the closing act. Henry Thrun’s wrist shot from the high slot beat Stark to give the Saints a 3-2 lead after one period of play.
Alexander added to the Saints’ advantage with a wrap-around tally early in the second period after strong forechecking from Riley Stuart. Lukas Parik slammed the door shut with nine saves in the middle frame to silence the talented Steel attack.
The Saints outshot the Steel 34-25 for the game. It was just Chicago’s fifth regulation loss on home ice this season in 22 tries. The Saints have hit the traditional .500 mark for the first time this season with a 19-19-4 mark after a tough start to the 2020–21 campaign.
Dubuque and Chicago will see each other once again on Saturday, April 3 at the Mystique Community Ice Center. Tickets are available at DubuqueFightingSaints.com.