Saints Open Playoffs with 6-3 Win

Courtesy: Dubuque Fightning Saints


By Aaron Hepker

DUBUQUE, Iowa - Tyler Lundey scored a hat trick for the Fighting Saints as the veterans of the 2011 Clark Cup championship led the Fighting Saints to victory in Game 1 of the First Round of the Clark Cup Playoffs. Zemgus Girgensons and Shane Sooth also added three points for the Fighting Saints in the victory, which put the Fighting Saints within a win of advancing to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

With just under four minutes to play in the first period, Kevin Morris provided the Fighting Saints with a powerplay goal. Jono Davis worked the puck to Girgensons, who shot the puck, missing the net, but hitting the glass. The rebound from the shot popped out in front to Morris, who jammed it past Hunter Miska for the 1-0 lead. Despite being outshot 10-7 in the opening frame, the Fighting Saints took the 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

Tyler Kelleher capitalized on a misplayed and bouncing puck in front of Matt Morris to tie the game for Team USA early in the second period. When Team USA went on the powerplay late in the period, it was the Fighting Saints who took advantage first. Shane Sooth carried the puck ahead on a shorthanded breakaway, and while his shot was stopped, the rebound hit Tyler Lundey and came to rest in the back of the net. On the ensuing faceoff, however, Team USA tied the game on a goal mouth scramble with Tyler Motte poking the puck into the net. Just over a minute later, Zemgus Girgensons made a strong move from the right half wall into the slot, snapping a shot into the goal to give the Fighting Saints a 3-2 lead. Davis and Max Gardiner assisted on the goal.

Seven minutes into the third period, Hudson Fasching wristed a shot from the left circle past Morris to tie the game once again. From that point, the Fighting Saints offense was too much for Team USA. Girgensons fired a long wrist shot just over two minutes later to put the Fighting Saints back in the lead for good. When a Dubuque penalty opened the door for Team USA, however, the Fighting Saints stepped up shorthanded once again. Tyler Amburgey corralled the puck in his own zone, passing it ahead to Sooth. Sooth beat his man in the neutral zone to spring a 2-on-none break with Lundey. Sooth dished to Lundey, who buried the chance for his second goal of the game. With about two minutes to play, Mike Downing and Gardiner found Lundey free in the neutral zone, and Lundey slipped the puck into the net as Team USA was attempting to pull Miska for the extra attacker. The goal gave Lundey the hat trick and sealed the game for the Fighting Saints.

The First Round series will continue Tuesday night at 7:05, and will wrap up with Game 3 on Wednesday at 7:05, if necessary. Should the Fighting Saints advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, they will play at Indiana on Friday and Saturday for Games 1 and 2 of that series.

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