DUBUQUE, Iowa — Four different players scored, Cole Weaver made 19 saves and the Dubuque Fighting Saints earned a 4-1 win over the Central Illinois Flying Aces on Saturday night at Mystique Ice Center.
Calen Kiefiuk (University of Michigan) notched his 10th goal of the year in the first period, but the Flying Aces (12-24-4, 28 points) couldn’t solve Weaver the rest of the way in their third game in four days.
Dubuque (18-14-7, 43 points) took the first lead of the game in the first four minutes of the opening period. On a 2-on-1 rush into the offensive zone, Quinn Preston carried the puck down the right wing and fed Scott Corbett at the back post. Corbett quickly rid himself of the puck and lifted it past Central Illinois netminder Ryan Snowden (33 saves).
But the Flying Aces answered just 14 seconds later to tie the game at one. Off a feed from Steven Agriogianis (Penn State University), Kiefiuk beat Weaver with a shot from the left circle to knot the score. Kiefiuk’s tally put him at 25 points for the season, a figure more than double his rookie scoring output of 11 points from the 2016-17 season.
Later in the first, Dubuque pushed back ahead, and this time for good, on its first power-play opportunity of the night. Logan Pietila shoveled a rebound past Snowden from just to the right of the crease to give the Saints a 2-1 lead with seven minutes, 10 seconds gone in the opening frame.
In the middle stages of the second period, Josh Maniscalco padded the Dubuque lead with his sixth goal of the season. Santeri Virtanen posted an empty-net tally in the waning seconds of regulation for the Saints’ final margin of victory.
Central Illinois continues a grueling stretch of seven games in 12 days with a pair of midweek road contests this week. The Flying Aces face the Youngstown Phantoms on Tuesday night before a Wednesday matchup against the Muskegon Lumberjacks.
Known as the Bloomington Thunder from 2014-17, the newly-rebranded Central Illinois Flying Aces are a member of the top junior hockey league in the United States, the United States Hockey League (USHL). The only Tier I junior hockey league in the country, the USHL has become renowned for developing the next stars of both Division I college hockey and the NHL. At the start of the 2017-18 season, there were 128 active USHL alumni on NHL rosters, with at least one USHL alumnus playing for each of the 31 teams. In total, there have been 253 USHL players who have gone onto NHL careers, including Patrick Sharp, David Backes, Johnny Gaudreau, and Joe Pavelski, among others. The players in the USHL range in age from 16-20 years old, 95 percent of whom will go on to play college hockey at the Division I level. For more information, visit flyingaceshockey.com or ushl.com or download the USHL Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.