Ford's OT Goal Gives Fighting Saints Win Over Muskegon
By The Dubuque Fighting Saints
DUBUQUE, IADylan Gambrell tied the game with under a minute to play in the third period, and Keegan Ford scored with 3:57 in overtime to give the Dubuque Fighting Saints a dramatic 5-4 comeback victory over the Muskegon Lumberjacks Friday night at the Mystique Community Ice Center. Trailing 3-2 heading into the third period, Muskegon scored two goals to take a 4-3 lead, but a goalmouth scramble with the extra attacker on the ice saw Gambrell punch in a loose puck from the right wing to send the game to overtime where the Ford played hero.
A back and forth game saw Dubuque dominate the first period. The Fighting Saints outshot Muskegon 20-4 and led 2-0 after one period. Joe Llaurado scored his first USHL goal at the 12:09 mark of the first period. Alexx Privitera took a shot from the right point the puck bounced around in front of the goal. Llaurado pounced on the loose puck and slid it through the five-hole of Lumberjacks' netminder Jordan Uhelski to make it 1-0.
Dubuque would double its lead four minutes later. Keegan Ford made a beautiful cross-ice pass to his older brother Jason with Dubuque on a powerplay. Jason fired a one-timer from the right side past a diving Uhelski to make it 2-0 Dubuque at 12:06.
The Muskegon netminder stood on his head all night long making numerous fantastic saves. He kicked aside 33 shots in the losing effort.
In the second period, the Lumberjacks would turn the tide. Muskegon cut Dubuque's lead in half on a goal by Matt Iacopelli at the 4:22 mark. Dubuque's Ryan Chiasson crashed into his own goaltender Christian Frey, knocking him to the ice and allowing Iacopelli to score an easy goal.
Three minutes later Matt Mendelson scored his first of two goals for Muskegon on a breakaway. Llaurado turned the puck over and Mendelson skated in alone on Frey, deking around the netminder to tie the game at two.
Dubuque would retake the lead late in the second period. Robby Darrar put Dubuque back on top with a powerplay goal at 16:17. Jarrid Privitera put a bouncing puck towards the net and Darrar collected it on the backhand, lifting a shot over Uhleski to give Dubuque a 3-2 lead.
For the third straight game the Fighting Saints led 3-2 heading into the game's final frame, but Muskegon found a way to not only tie the game, but take the lead. The Lumberjacks scored to tie the game 4:02 into the period on a Robby DeMontis goal. At the 6:45 mark with a penalty to Dubuque just expiring, Mendelson added his second goal of the game to give Muskegon a 4-3 lead.
Dubuque, with their backs against the wall, pulled Frey late for an extra attacker. The Fighting Saints peppered pucks towards Uhelski, and finally struck with only 38 seconds to play. Jason Ford put a bouncing puck towards the goal and it popped free to Gambrell on the right wing where he tucked it into the open goal to tie the game.
In overtime, Dubuque only fired one shot on Uhelski, but it was all they needed. Max McHugh found a wide-open Keegan Ford coming off the bench. The blueliner skated in alone on Uhelski and snapped a shot low-blocker side to give the Fighting Saints the win and send the crowd into frenzy. The goal was Keegan's first goal of the season and gave Dubuque its first overtime regular season win since April 14, 2012 when they beat Muskegon 7-6 in Dubuque.
Dubuque went 2-for-4 on the powerplay while Muskegon was 0-for-4. The Fighting Saints outshot Muskegon 38-25. Frey stopped 21 shots to earn the win in goal.
Tomorrow Dubuque travels to Waterloo for a Prairie Farms Cowbell Cup game with the Waterloo Black Hawks. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 p.m. at the Young Arena. Dubuque then travels to Muskegon for two games next weekend before returning home for Military Appreciation Night, presented by Kwik Stop and Dairy Queen on Friday, November 15 versus Tri-City at 7:35 p.m.