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Saints Fall in Regular Season Opener

By Jordan Kuhns, 09/23/21, 4:45PM CDT


CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. — The Dubuque Fighting Saints held the lead on two separate occasions, but the wave of offense from the Tri-City Storm became too much to bear. Tri-City forced overtime with a late power play goal, and scored on the man advantage 52 seconds into the extra session to defeat Dubuque 3-2 on Thursday afternoon at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.

Victor Czerneckianair deflected a shot from Cole O’Hara past goaltender Philip Svedebäck to give the Storm the win in overtime. Dubuque was nearing the end of the kill, but Tri-City set up in the attacking zone, and with Zane Demsey hobbled after blocking a shot, the Storm took advantage of the extra space by setting up the play to end the game.

Svedebäck kept the Fighting Saints in it throughout. He made 32 saves in his Fighting Saints debut, including all 17 in the first period in which the Saints were besieged 17-5 on the shot count in the opening 20 minutes.

The Fighting Saints held the lead at two points throughout, including in the first period where one opportunity was enough. Sent on his way by Lucas Ölvestad, Stephen Halliday rumbled into the attacking zone and ripped a wrist shot that beat Storm goaltender Arsenii Sergeev to the short side to open the scoring at 8:17.

Dubuque cleaned up its act in the second period, but gave up the tying goal to Gavin Brindley, who collected a rebound off of Svedebäck’s pads to tie the game at one.

The Saints’ second lead came on the power play. Axel Kumlin wired a pinpoint pass to the back door where Kenny Connors awaited it, and tipped the puck into the open cage to give Dubuque the lead. However, Cole O’Hara, who put up three points for the Storm in the season opener, scored the tying goal in the midst of a mad scramble while the Fighting Saints were on the penalty kill.

The Fighting Saints went 1-for-4 on the man advantage in the losing effort.

The Fighting Saints pick up a point in the standings as a result of the overtime loss, and will take on the Omaha Lancers on Friday, September 24 at 2:00 p.m. central at the USHL Fall Classic. Catch the action on the Fighting Saints Broadcast Network, or on HockeyTV.