The Green Bay Gamblers knocked off the Dubuque Fighting Saints in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series with an exciting 3-2 win at Resch Center on Sunday to take a 1-0 series lead.
After a scoreless opening frame, Joey Marooney scored the first goal of the series just 12 seconds into the middle frame. The Gamblers doubled their lead 3:24 into the third period thanks to a Ryan Blankemeier tally, but then the Fighting Saints responded quickly. Petter Makitalo scored 24 seconds later to cut the Green Bay lead in half, and Mitchell Smith tied the game at 2 after being set up by his brother Evan Smith. Green Bay picked up the game winner on the power play with just under six minutes to play in regulation, as Gamblers captain Sam Saliba took a pass from Marc Michaelis and fired it into the back of the net put Green Bay up 3-2, and the Gamblers hung on for the victory.
League-leading goaltender Adam Huska had another solid performance in net, stopping 29 of 31 Dubuque shots for his first career Clark Cup Playoffs victory. The Gamblers will look to take their first two home games of the series and double their series lead to 2-0 on Monday night.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 14th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2015-16. A record 37 players were chosen in the 2015 NHL Draft and more than 375 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.
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