GENEVA, Ill. — The Dubuque Fighting Saints tied the game at one, and cut the Chicago Steel’s lead to one, but were unable to break through. Chicago rode two goals from Jack Dugan, and two goals on the power play, to a 3-2 win over the Saints on Friday night at the Fox Valley Ice Arena.
Aaro Vidgren poked home the rebound from a point shot taken by captain Derek Daschke at the 6:43 mark of the third period on the power play. That goal broke the 1-1 tie, and was the first goal of the season for Vidgren. It responded to the Saints’ tying marker just minutes earlier.
While the two teams struck for two goals apiece, including a late empty-netter by Dugan, and the first USHL goal for Jan Kern with less than a minute to go in the third, the Saints dominated play, outshooting the Steel 18-7.
The best chance came when, on a breakaway, Chayse Primeau was disrupted from behind, leading to a penalty shot. Primeau’s bid was denied by Autio to keep the game at a 2-1 score at the time. Jaxon Castor denied an earlier penalty shot chance taken by Samuel Bucek back in the first period.
Santeri Virtanen fired a one-timer from the right circle on the feed from Jonatan Asplund through Oskar Autio to tie the game. It was Virtanen’s first USHL goal, and it came at a critical time for the Saints, whose power play has struck for the second consecutive game.
Dugan got the scoring started for the Chicago Steel following a late first period penalty taken by the Fighting Saints. Baker Shore’s initial shot was blocked in front of Castor, but Dugan followed up the play with a shot that found a way through the traffic and opened the scoring.
Dugan now leads the USHL with five goals, and seven points after his multi-goal game. Additionally, with the two power play goals scored by the Steel, their power play has struck on four out of six opportunities against the Fighting Saints.
The Saints outshot the Steel 35-25 for the game, as Castor stopped 22 of 24 opportunities fired his way. Autio denied 33 of 35 for his third win of the season.
The Fighting Saints return to action next Friday at Our House, as host to the Central Illinois Flying Aces. The Saints welcome rising country star Jessie Chris as a special guest, thanks to 97 Seven Country WGLR. For tickets, call the box office at 563.583.6880, or go to DubuqueFightingSaints.com.