DUBUQUE, Iowa — The Dubuque Fighting Saints held a 3-2 lead heading into the third period, but a momentum-driven surge by the Muskegon Lumberjacks put them in the lead multiple times late, and eventually put them ahead for good in a 7-5 win over the Saints on Friday night at the Mystique Community Ice Center.
Stephen Halliday’s goal on a power move to the net at 17:57 of the second period gave the Fighting Saints a 3-2 cushion heading into the third period. The goal gave Halliday 108 points as a Saint, which tied him with alum Dylan Gambrell for third all-time in Saints Tier I history in scoring. However, the time to celebrate was short.
Muskegon started their five-goal assault at the 4:24 mark. Joey Larson converted on the Jacks’ second power play of the night with a one-timer from the left circle, which tied the game at three apiece. It was Larson’s first of the night.
It took an eventful power play to shake the balance a little further. With Noah Ellis in the box for hooking, both teams struck. Quinn Hutson made a defensive play at the blue line and walked in on a breakaway and scored to put Muskegon ahead 4-3. It took until the final second of the power play for the Fighting Saints to get the goal back. Kenny Connors kicked a pass across the crease for an easy tap-in by Max Montes to even the score at 4 apiece.
Larson scored his second of the night at 16:09, only to be answered 44 seconds by Riley Stuart. It was the Jacks’ decisive scoring late that turned the tide. Ethan Whitcomb scored from an odd-man rush at 18:04 to put them ahead 6-5, and Jack Williams added an empty net goal with less than a minute to go to put the game away.
Dubuque had to work from behind twice to tie the game on two occasions. Philip Tresca gave Muskegon its first two goals of the game, only to be answered twice. Connors posted one of his three points on the night with a goal at 1:29 of the second period on a set-up from Ryan Beck. His high rising shot bested Platon Zadorozhny high to the short side.
Samuel Sjölund added a goal to tie the game for the second time midway through regulation time.
Paxton Geisel made 28 saves on 34 shots in the losing effort. His work early in the third period kept the game within reach, but multiple odd-man rushes sealed the Saints’ fate on Friday night.
The Dubuque Fighting Saints are back in action Saturday night at the Mystique Community Ice Center in a rematch with the Lumberjacks. Tickets are available at DubuqueFightingSaints.com.