GENEVA, Ill. — Against the USHL’s best, the Dubuque Fighting Saints stayed right with them. The Fighting Saints will exit the weekend against the Western Conference’s and Eastern Conference’s best with three out of a possible four standings points, as the Saints fell 3-2 to the Chicago Steel in the shootout on Saturday night at Fox Valley Ice Arena.
Ryan Beck’s goal continued the shootout in the third round, answering Joe Miller’s tally in round one. However, Adam Fantilli outwaited goaltender Paxton Geisel in the sudden-death round and gave the home team the victory. Both teams, however, remain undefeated in regulation time in the early going this season.
Both teams traded leads throughout regulation. The Fighting Saints had the stranglehold late in regulation time with a goal by Nikita Borodayenko, the first in his USHL career. Ryan Beck picked off a puck high in the zone, and feathered a puck on net. The Russian stashed in the rebound past Steel netminder Nick Haas to give the Saints a 2-1 lead.
However, it never comes easy. Chicago’s Jayden Perron answered three minutes later to tie the game. And, with time ticking down, Geisel was forced to make a magnificent blocker save to preserve the 2-2 tie.
Overtime solved nothing, even as the Saints outshot the Steel 3-0 in overtime, and 34-25 for the game.
Chicago opened the scoring on their second power play of the game. Joe Miller took a cross-ice feed from Jake Livanavage at the 17:57 mark of the first period. It was the man advantage who took, and took away from Chicago as well. Stephen Halliday converted on a cross-ice dish from Connor Kurth on the man advantage at 10:42 of the second period to even the score at one.
Geisel made 22 saves in the shootout loss, and remained poised throughout. He was forced to make his best stop in the third period on a giveaway in front of the net, and while lying prone in the oblique-crunch position, made a goal-line stand to keep the game tied at two.
Dubuque went 1-for-4 on the power play. Chicago went 1-for-5.
The Fighting Saints will carry their eight-game standings points streak to Muskegon as they take on the Lumberjacks next Friday and Saturday.