The Jackson twins couldn’t wait to jump over the boards in overtime.
By the time they did, the three Sioux Falls defenders still on the ice didn’t stand a chance.
Dylan Jackson set up Ty Jackson just 61 seconds into overtime to lift the Dubuque Fighting Saints to a 3-2 victory Saturday night at the Denny Sanford Premier Center. Dubuque wrapped up a 4-1 road trip to improve to 14-3-1 and maintain the USHL’s best winning percentage at .806.
“They say great teams usually have a .500 record on the road, so for us to stay above .500 and actually have an awesome record is huge,” Ty Jackson said of his team’s 8-1-1 mark away from Mystique Community Ice Center. “It takes a lot of pressure off us, especially at home. It’s awesome to have that kind of success on the road.”
The Saints controlled the puck for the entire 61 seconds in overtime, thanks in large part to brilliant puck movement by Mark Cheremeta, Jimmy Glynn and Aidan Fulp. When they changed lines on the fly, Dylan Jackson made a deft stick lift of defender Chase Foley behind the Stampede net, circled around in front and fed Ty Jackson for a one-timer from the right face-off circle.
“That was a great start to overtime by Mark and Jimmy and how they kind of grinded them down,” Ty Jackson said. “They made a real unselfish (line) change to set up Dylan and I in a really good spot to capitalize on a couple of tired guys. It makes it that much easier to win puck battles when guys are tired. Then you have to get all over them and keep pressuring them. Dylan put in all the work there and found me in a perfect spot.”
Dubuque won despite surrendering a pair of one-goal leads and being outshot, 29-25. The Saints played their third game in four days and had their trip to Sioux Falls slowed by about an hour Friday night because of a snow storm.
“I was really proud of our late-game execution, despite the fact we were playing in our third different city in four days,” Saints coach Oliver David said. “That’s so hard to do. But it was nice to see, instead of letting the fatigue factor take over.”
Saints goaltender Aidan McCarty kicked aside 27 shots while improving to 4-1 with a 1.78 goals against average and .921 save percentage. Erik Portillo played the first two games of the trip.
“We all kind of felt it. We weren’t exactly at our best, playing our third game in four days,” McCarthy said. “With me being a little rested, I wanted to step up and do whatever I could to help the team win.”
Riese Gaber opened the scoring at 10:29 of the first period. Goalie Grant Adams got a piece of his shot from the wing, but it caromed off the end glass and then his body before crossing the goal line. Matthew Kopperud and Braden Doyle assisted.
The Stampede tied the game 12:37 into the middle period on Garrett Pinoniemi’s first goal of the year to trigger the team’s Teddy Bear Toss.
Dubuque regained the lead while killing a five-minute major penalty to Gaber for checking from behind on Connor McGinnis. Antonio Venuto broke the puck out of his own zone on a 2-on-1 and played catch with Robert Cronin before ripping a shot into an open net for his sixth goal of the season.
“It definitely gave us a shot of momentum going into the third period,” Venuto said. “We kind of needed that one. When you’re out there killing a penalty and score a goal, it can be pretty deflating to the other team.”
Sioux Falls forced overtime on Brian Carrabes’ goal 9:50 into the third.
He skated around a Dubuque defender before flipping a shot inside the right goal post behind goalie Aidan McCarthy.
The Saints return home Friday and Saturday to face the Muskegon Lumberjacks.