Isaac Howard scored a pair of goals Saturday night to lead USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program U17 squad to a 4-2 victory over the Dubuque Fighting Saints at Mystique Community Ice Center.
The Saints fell to 0-4 in a season significantly impacted by COVID-19 quarantines. They are the lone USHL team without a standings point and have had four games postponed because of either their own or their opponents’ quarantines.
Dubuque dominated play in the first 10 minutes of the game but had nothing to show for it. After weathering the early storm, the Americans got goals from Howard and Frank Nazar in a span of 57 seconds late in the first period to take a 2-0 lead. Howard’s opening goal came on Team USA’s second power play of the game.
The Americans stretched the lead to 4-0 in the middle period. Kaden Muir scored the eventual game-winning goal at the 6:12 mark, and Howard potted his second goal of the game at 14:32.
Daniyal Dzhaniyev, who spent the past two seasons with the NTDP, got Dubuque on the board with a power play goal just 1:53 later. Dzhaniyev scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season by converting a backdoor feed from Max Montes. Tristan Lemyre picked up a secondary assist.
Defenseman Evan Stella cut the Saints’ deficit in half 4:12 into the third period by converting a 2-on-1 with Connor Kurth. Stella buried a one-timer from the right faceoff circle for his second goal of the season.
Dubuque finished with a 33-18 advantage in shots on goal. Tyler Muszelik earned his first USHL victory, while Hobie Hedquist dropped to 0-2.
The Saints host Chicago on Friday and Waterloo on Saturday, then play two more at home against Muskegon before playing their final six games of December on the road.