CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Down twice, the Dubuque Fighting Saints never faltered. Paxton Geisel made 31 saves, and the Fighting Saints scored three unanswered goals in the third period to erase a one-goal deficit in the third period to defeat the Omaha Lancers 4-2 on Friday afternoon at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. Greg Brown’s first win as head coach of the Fighting Saints gave the club three out of a possible four points at the USHL Fall Classic to start the regular season.
Hunter McDonald erased the momentum of a period in which the Fighting Saints poured 20 shots on goal and tied the game at one. At the 1:36 mark, the Lancers took the lead, but it did not last long.
Max Burkholder came to Dubuque’s rescue with his third career USHL goal. Set up in the high slot, he wired a puck past goaltender Kevin Pasche to tie the game at two. After that, there was no looking back for the Fighting Saints.
In his homecoming to Pittsburgh, in the rink he played at growing up, and with his family in attendance, Shawn O’Donnell seized the moment. Riley Stuart got the puck to the netmouth, and O’Donnell bashed in the rebound to give the Fighting Saints the lead. It was his first USHL goal, and it served as the game-winning goal in Friday’s affair.
Tristan Lemyre added an empty netter to put the game away.
Geisel weathered an early storm in net and picked up his first USHL win. The Saints were outshot 12-7, and Geisel made all 12 saves. He made 31 in his Fighting Saints debut. He helped the penalty kill put up a perfect four-for-four performance.
Pasche appeared to steal the show in the second period with save after save, as the Saints dumped shot after shot on the Swiss netminder, but it took a goal against and a perfectly executed play to make it happen. Ryan Gillespie opened the scoring at 9:32 with a rebound goal, but it was that inciting incident that got the train rolling the other direction.
Lucas Ölvestad knocked down an Omaha clearing attempt and found Austin Oravetz, who feathered a pass through a tight seam to Ryan Beck, who wired a puck past Pasche to tie the game at one after two periods of play. The goal occurred at the 18:05 mark of the second.
Dubuque outshot Omaha 39-33 in the game.
The Saints are back in action on Saturday, October 2 against the Green Bay Gamblers at the Resch Center at 7:05 p.m.. Catch the action on the Fighting Saints Broadcast Network, or on HockeyTV.