Gamblers Pregame Primer: Jan. 28, Dubuque Fighting Saints

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With two victories and four points added to their 2013-2014 resume last weekend, the Gamblers (18-12-5) will look to pull closer to the Eastern Conference’s top spot with a victory over the Dubuque Fighting Saints (23-10-1) Tuesday night at the Resch Center. It will be the fifth meeting between the two clubs this season, with each holding true to 2-2-0 records in the four previous meetings.

Before the puck drops at 7:05pm CT, let’s get a look at the matchup.

Starters for Green Bay: Evan Tironese, Matt Weis, Kevin Irwin, Matthew Purmal, Colin Sullivan, Jared Rutledge.

Starters for Dubuque: Robby Darrar, Seamus Malone, Jacob Benson, Jordan Klimer, Alexx Privitera, Ben Johansson.

Season Series: Green Bay 2-2-0, Dubuque 2-2-0
2012-2013 Series: Green Bay 2-3-1, Dubuque 4-2-0
Record vs. Dubuque under Derek Lalonde: 9-6-1
Record @ home vs. Dubuque since 2011: 5-3-0
Average score over 16 games since 2011: Green Bay 2.94, Dubuque 3.06

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Team Season Stats
Green Bay: 18-12-5 (.586 WPCT) | 41 team PTS (T-third in Eastern Conference)
Dubuque: 23-10-1 (.691 WPCT) | 47 team PTS (second in Eastern Conference)

Individual Season Leaders
Points: GB Nick Schmaltz (36), DUB Alexx Privitera (27)
Goals: GB Kevin Irwin (14), DUB Seamus Malone (13)
Assists: GB Nick Schmaltz (26), DUB Alex Privitera (21)

Goaltender Comparison
Jared Rutledge (GB): 18-9-3 record | 2.73 GAA | 91.3% save rate | 28.6 SV/G (30 GP)
Cam Hackett (GB): 0-3-2 record | 3.03 GAA | 89.1% save rate | 21.8 SV/G (6 GP)
Hayden Stewart (DUB): 6-6-1 record | 3.10 GAA | 89.6% save rate | 25.1 SV/G (13 GP)
Benjamin Johansson (DUB): 4-0-0 record | 1.67 GAA | 94.1% save rate | 25.6 SV/G (5 GP)

Storylines to Watch For

  • Road Woes — While Dubuque has proven to be one of the most complete teams in the league this season, its offense remains suspect away from the Mystique Ice Arena. In 17 road contests, the Fighting Saints have scored just 2.59 goals on average compared to an impressive 4.70 at home.
  • Clutch When it Counts — Connor Hurley’s overtime goal against Team USA Saturday night was his third game-winning goal since joining the roster from Muskegon via trade in late December. In 10 games with Green Bay, the Buffalo Sabres second-round draft pick has posted a .217 shot% to go with 11 points — second only to Matt Weis’ 13 in that span.

Game Briefs

10/4/13 — Dubuque 4, Green Bay 0 – Outshot in each period by Dubuque, the Gamblers were able to stymie the Fighting Saints’ offense through the first period. The last two frames were much different, however, as Dubuque out-shot Green Bay 21 to 10 and converted on four of those shots — eventually giving the Fighting Saints the 4-0 victory.

12/27/13 — Green Bay 7, Dubuque 5 – Faced with a 1-0 deficit just 37 seconds in, the Gamblers went on to score a season-high seven goals on the road against Dubuque goaltender Hayden Stewart, sealing their first victory against the Fighting Saints in 2013-2014. Dawson Cook notched two goals in the contest while Jared Rutledge saved 26 of 31 shots.

12/28/13 — Green Bay 2, Dubuque 1 – While Rutledge successfully saved each of Dubuque’s 27 shots in the first two periods, Sebastian Weberg and Ryan Lough shouldered the Gamblers’ offensive load with goals to give Green Bay a 2-0 advantage heading into the final period. The Fighting Saints got on the board with a score late, but were unable to even the score — giving the Gamblers a 2-1 victory.

1/11/14 — Dubuque 5, Green Bay 2 — Drew Best’s power play goal gave Green Bay a 1-0 lead early in the second period, but Dubuque quickly responded with two goals of its own to close out the half with a 2-1 lead. Kevin Irwin’s fourteenth goal of the season tied the game to begin the final frame, but three consecutive goals against Jared Rutledge were enough to give the Fighting Saints the 5-2 victory.

Other news 

In other news, the Gamblers completed their third trade of the season on Friday, dealing Fredrik Olofsson (F) to Chicago in return for Patrick Polino (F). Through 94 USHL games, the 18-year-old Buffalo, New York native has scored 37 points (15 goals, 22 assists).

“I like the acquisition,” head coach Derek Lalonde said. “We didn’t want to see Freddy (Olofsson) go. We were really excited about what Freddy would be for us next year. But he wanted a little more playing time, and we certainly understand having such a good relationship with the family and having his brother here last year. But it was very important that we got a nice piece back. Patrick, we expect to be a two-year player. He’s got some veteran presence, he plays fast like we do, and he’s hard — he’s got “sandpaper” that we need a little bit. He’s going to give us some depth, and I’m very happy the way that all worked out.”

-Alec Dopp

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