DUBUQUE, IA–For the second time this year, Dubuque Fighting Saints forward J.D. Dudek came up with a critical goal against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Dudek’s goal late in the second period helped Dubuque to a 3-2 win over the USHL’s top team in front of a 2,520 at the Mystique Community Ice Center Friday night. The goal, combined with a stingy defensive effort that saw the Fighting Saints allow only two shots in the third period, earned Dubuque a fourth straight win.
Cedar Rapids showed whey they are the league’s top club with a goal in the game’s opening minute. Erik Foley scored his 13th goal of the season just 30 seconds into the game to give Cedar Rapids a 1-0 lead. RoughRiders captain Andrew Oglevie found Foley streaking in down the right wing and the forward beat Dubuque goaltender Jacob Nehama glove side to make it 1-0.
Dubuque would respond with a pair of goals in the first period to take the lead through 20 minutes. Brett Boeing equaled Foley, scoring his 13th goal of the season for the Fighting Saints to tie the game. Blake Hillman’s shot was redirected by Boeing past Cedar Rapids goaltender Ryan Larkin’s blocker to make it 1-1.
Dubuque took the lead on an individual effort from Nathan Sucese. The forward picked off a pass in his own zone and was off to the races. With defenders on his tail, Sucese fired a wrist shot through Larkin’s five-hole to make it 2-1 Dubuque at 16:05.
Foley made a trend out of scoring early period goals, tying the game only 48 seconds into the second period. Dubuque had a key chance for defenseman Keegan Ford, but his stick shattered in two pieces, sending Cedar Rapids up ice on a 3-on-1 rush. Foley elected to take the puck on a breakaway himself, and he wired a wrist shot over Nehama’s glove for his second of the game.
Dubuque would retake the lead late in the middle frame on Dudek’s goal. Off a faceoff, the Fighting Saints setup a play that saw Dudek open in the slot. Trey Dodd found Dudek lost in coverage, and the New Jersey Devils draft choice walked into the slot and snapped a shot past Larkin’s glove for his 5th goal of the season at 16:40.
The goal was Dudek’s first since November 15 when he scored the deciding goal in a 2-1 win at Cedar Rapids.
The Fighting Saints are now within four points of the RoughRiders for the top spot in the USHL. Dubuque has two games in-hand on Cedar Rapids. The Fighting Saints outshot the RoughRiders 32-19.
Dubuque is back in action Saturday as the Fighting Saints host the Waterloo Black Hawks featuring a noise-maker giveaway courtesy of One Stop Tax and Accounting Service. Puck drop is 7:05 p.m. Tickets are available to both games by calling 563.583.6880 or online at DubuqueFightingSaints.com.