DUBUQUE, IA – After receiving a bronze medal in the World Junior Club Cup tournament held in Omsk, Russia the Saints took the ice in preseason action this past Sunday.
Back on US soil, the Saints took on their USHL East division rival the Green Bay Gamblers at the Mystique Community Ice Center.
The first period was filled with a lot of hard hitting and fast paced hockey, but it was also a little sloppy as no goals were scored. Jumping into the second period Green Bay switched their goalie with just over nine minutes remaining and the Fighting Saints took advantage. Right after the switch while the Gamblers were on the power play, Saints defensemen Jordan Klimek attempted to lob the puck from center ice down towards new goalie Cam Hackett. The shot happened to be on goal and took some funny bounces as it trickled past a confused Hackett.
Minutes later Max McHugh flew up the right side on an odd man rush and gave a beautiful cross ice pass to Shane Kavanagh who was able to put it in the back of the net and gave the Saints a 2-0 lead. With 1:06 remaining Shane Eiserman and Josh Betinol worked the puck to Joe Llaurado who beat Hackett with a terrific around the back shot between Hackett’s legs and gave the Saints a 3-0 lead.
Early in the third period Seamus Malone pushed the puck from behind the net to Jeff Alderfer who was at the blue line and fired a slap shot and kept it close to the ice where it glanced off a Green Bay defender into the net beating Hackett once again. Shortly after the puck was rolling towards Hackett when he came flying out of the net to stop it before the Saints got to it for an odd man rush. Eiserman was able to beat Hackett to the puck and Josh Betinol followed Eiserman and put the loose puck into the wide open net.
Saints goalie Hayden Stewart played solid all game and allowed the Saints to explode on offense in the second and third. Stewart was working on a shutout until late in the third when Austin O’Neill came up the left boards and fired a wrist shot past Stewart with four minutes remaining but the Saints would win with the final score 5-1.
Talking to New Saints Head Coach Matt Shaw, he said he was happy with his team’s performance, but acknowledged that the Saints should have played better than Green Bay after already playing five games in Russia. He said Stewart played a very strong game in net and made the tough saves early which allowed the offense time to warm up and take control of the game, that which they did, albeit with the assist from Hackett on some mistakes.
The Saints will continue preseason action at the USHL Fall Classic East in Indianapolis this Friday and open their regular season September 27th at Waterloo.
Joel is a senior at Loras College and a Dubuque native. Joel is the Producer for SportsZONE, as well as anchor, reporter and commentator for Live Sports. Joel has spent past summers as a sports intern for KCCI-TV in Des Moines and has also interned for the Iowa Cubs video team. Joel has a strong passion for sports and loves to be involved in the community.