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Lumberjacks Cut Through Early Deficit, Top Saints

By Jordan Kuhns, 11/05/16, 10:15PM CDT


Saints take 2-0 lead, and on a late goal, the lead falls

DUBUQUE, Iowa — The Muskegon Lumberjacks, on their third game in as many nights, found a way to dig deep in the third period of play to overtake a 2-0 Dubuque Fighting Saints lead. A late third-period goal by Will Smith stood as the game-winning goal for the visiting Jacks in a 3-2 defeat at the Mystique Community Ice Center on Saturday night.

Smith collected the rebound of a point shot with two minutes left in the final frame, and bashed the puck past a sprawled Jaxon Castor to put the Jacks on top 3-2. The Fighting Saints pulled Castor for the extra attacker, but the final foray fell short in a period in which the home team outshot the visitors 11-5.

The Fighting Saints scrambled out of the gate to a sizable lead. Defenseman Taylor Brierley took a late pass from Patrick Kudla at 4-on-4 just 90 seconds into the game, and whistled a high-rising shot past the shoulder of Muskegon goaltender Keith Petruzzelli to put the Saints up early.

Quinn Preston followed up that tally with one of his own—his first in the USHL—to put the Saints up two. On the penalty kill, Zach Solow faked a clearing attempt, and caught the Muskegon defense flat-footed. Preston rushed past the standstill defense and powered a shot through Petruzzelli to extend the lead to two goals.

That lead did not last, specifically after a rash of penalties taken by the home team in the second period. Dubuque took three consecutive minor penalties to put Muskegon on the power play for six of the first twelve minutes of the middle frame. The two goals scored by Muskegon followed that extended time on the power play.

First, it was New York Islanders prospect Collin Adams, who extended his road goal-scoring streak to six games, with eight goals in that span, his ninth of the season, to cut the Saints’ lead to one. Then, Marc Del Gaizo notched his first USHL goal in tight on a netmouth scramble in front of Castor with just minutes remaining in the second period.

Smith added the dagger, and the Jacks held on to take two out of three games on a busy weekend. The Fighting Saints split with the Jacks, and after Saturday night’s action, remain two points behind the fourth-place Youngstown Phantoms with a game in hand.

The Fighting Saints remain home on Friday, November 11 for Military Appreciation Night, sponsored by Kwik Stop, Dairy Queen and Fazoli’s. The Dubuque County Department of Veterans Affairs is sponsoring brand-new camouflage-themed jerseys to be auctioned off after the game to benefit the Veterans Freedom Center.

For tickets, call the box office at 563.583.6880, or go to today.