GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Dubuque Fighting Saints’ four-game skid is over. On the back of seven goals and key late saves from goaltender Paxton Geisel, the Saints overpowered the Green Bay Gamblers in a Thanksgiving Eve showdown 7-4 on Wednesday night at the Resch Center.
Dubuque’s high-powered offense needed three goals in the third period to pull away from the Gamblers. Stephen Halliday converted on the rebound of a Connor Kurth shot from the wing that slung off the pad of Aaron Randazzo to give the Fighting Saints a 5-2 lead. That goal would stand as the game-winner, as Green Bay did not go away quietly.
Alex Servagno’s pair of goals got Green Bay closer. His goal at 4:30 immediately responded to Halliday’s goal, and his second at 11:20 got the Gamblers within one. However, Kenny Connors converted on a late power play, and wired a 170-foot goal into an empty net to put the Gamblers away for good.
The top line set the tone early for the Saints, who were searching for their first win since the beginning of the month. A 3-on-2 rush led to Dubuque’s opening goal at 8:47. Kurth’s initial shot bounced off a Gamblers defender and Gabriel Lundberg stashed in the second chance opportunity, which was his first USHL goal, to open the scoring. Halliday would add his own at 4-on-4 on a fantastic individual effort late in the first period to make it 2-0 after one period of play.
The fourth line set the tone in the second period. Textbook forechecking led to Dubuque’s third goal, as a simple dump-and-chase play led to Shawn O’Donnell and Riley Stuart teaming up on Max Burkholder’s first goal of the night. O’Donnell added a helper on a clear-cut giveaway by the Gamblers, and Burkholder dangled around Green Bay goaltender Aaron Randazzo to extend the lead to 4-0.
The Gamblers gained some life though when a power play was headed their way. Matt DeBoer redirected a slap pass in the slot past Geisel to open Green Bay’s scoring. John Mittelstadt added another five minutes later with an unassisted individual effort to get Green Bay within two heading into the third period.
Geisel saved the day in the closing moments. Brody Lamb seized an opportunity as defenseman Austin Oravetz lost an edge, and the centering pass back door was denied by a lunging Geisel in the closing minutes of play. It was just one of 27 saves made by Geisel in his third win of the season.
The Fighting Saints outshot the Gamblers 35-31 for the game, including a 16-12 mark alone in the first period.
Dubuque is back in action on Friday, November 26 against the Des Moines Buccaneers at Buccaneer Arena at 7:05 p.m. The Fighting Saints return home on Saturday, November 27 against the Buccaneers at 7:05 p.m. Tickets are available at DubuqueFightingSaints.com.