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Team USA Steals Momentum, Nips Dubuque

By Jordan Kuhns, 01/07/22, 9:30PM CST

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NTDP scores four unanswered goals to erase Fighting Saints’ early advantage

DUBUQUE, Iowa — The Dubuque Fighting Saints had a 2-0 lead with a pair of power play goals, but Team USA seized control of the momentum and never let go of it. The NTDP scored four unanswered goals to take a lead they would never let go of in a 4-2 win over the Fighting Saints on Friday night at the Mystique Community Ice Center.

Team USA scored three goals in the second period on 14 shots to take them from 2-0 down to 3-2 up. A turnover late in the period proved costly, as a 2-on-1 break came to fruition. Rutger McGroarty’s pass across ice found Marek Hejduk who batted the puck in to give the NTDP the lead.

Frank Nazar III and Ryan Leonard also added goals in the middle frame to give USA the steam they needed to overcome a first period deficit.

Paxton Geisel’s goaltending kept the game close while trailing. Team USA’s high-flying offense proved to be a strong test, but Geisel made several key stops, including two massive saves on Nazar breakaways in the second period alone. He made 27 saves on 31 shots in the game.

Dubuque’s first period set the tone with a first period in which they dominated every facet of the game. The Fighting Saints outshot the NTDP 15-5 in the first period and outscored them 2-0. Two of Team USA’s three penalties in the first period proved costly.

Nikita Borodayenko bashed in the rebound of an opportunity created by both Stephen Halliday and Connor Kurth for his ninth goal of the season at 9:10. Halliday’s secondary assist put him ahead of Seamus Malone for the second spot in the organization’s Tier I history in scoring.

The triumvirate mixed up the scoring for the team’s second goal of the night, also on the power play. Halliday filtered a puck to the blue paint, and Kurth notched his 18th goal of the season on the rebound at 17:05. The assist was Halliday’s 30th of the season.

Cole Spicer tacked on a goal early in the third period to put Team USA ahead comfortably in the third period. The Fighting Saints pulled Geisel for the extra attacker with two minutes to go in regulation but could not find the back of the net.

The Fighting Saints outshot the NTDP 32-31 for the game.

The Fighting Saints close out the weekend set with Team USA on Saturday, January 8 at the Mystique Community Ice Center. Tickets are available at DubuqueFightingSaints.com.