Five Players Score as Gamblers Top Stars in Weekend Finale

A day after Marc Michaelis became just the fourth player in franchise regular-season history to score four goals in one game, the Green Bay Gamblers witnessed five different players tally a goal Saturday evening at the Resch Center en route to a 5-4 victory over the Lincoln Stars. With the win, the Gamblers improved to 18-30-8 (44 PTS) and completed the weekend sweep of their Western Conference opponent.

“I probably liked last night’s win more because we only had that one lull,” said Gamblers head coach and general manager Pat Mikesch. “When you go up on a team like that, you don’t want to let them back into it. We kind of let Kevin (Reich) out to dry, and that wasn’t fair to him. Our complacency maybe set in a little, but a real credit to our guys for coming back and making sure they secured the win.”

Vili Saarijarvi, Grant Frederic and Sam Kauppila each scored in the first period for the Gamblers against Stars goaltender Peyton Jones on Saturday, giving Green Bay an early 3-0 advantage. Lincoln responded with three consecutive scores in the second frame to knot things at 3-3, however, prompting Mikesch and his staff to pull Kevin Reich in favor for Jason Pawloski. Reich finished the game going 22-for-25 (.880%) in net.

After Jason Dhooghe goal with four minutes remaining in the second period, Ryan Tait converted with his fourteenth goal of the season to open the third, giving the Gamblers a 5-3 advantage. Cam Lee answered with a goal for the Stars, but Pawloski held Lincoln without a goal over the game’s final seven minutes, sealing Green Bay’s 5-4 victory. Pawloski finished going 11-for-12 (.917%) in his relief appearance.

With their first weekend sweep since mid-December in the books, the Gamblers will regroup in preparation for next Saturday’s contest against the Bloomington Thunder, with puck scheduled to drop at 7:05 p.m. CT from the Resch Center. Follow us on Twitter @GamblersHockey for continual news and updates throughout next Saturday’s matchup, and show your support using the #GoGamblers hashtag.

Michaelis’ Outburst Fuels Gamblers’ Win over Stars

First-year forward Marc Michaelis produced four goals and an assist Friday evening at the Resch Center, an offensive outburst that helped push the Green Bay Gamblers to a 5-3 regulation victory over the Lincoln Stars to open the weekend. With the win, Pat Mikesch’s roster improved to 17-30-8 (42 PTS) with five games remaining in the 2014-15 season.

Alongside Michaelis, forward Sam Saliba bagged two assists and scored a goal of his own, while Joey Marooney contributed with a goal and a helper of his own. Jason Pawloski saved 29 of 32 (.906%) shots in net, a performance that further solidified his .906 season save percentage. Green Bay went 2-for-2 in penalty kills and went 3-for-6 on the man advantage.

With the convincing victory in the books, Michaelis and the Gamblers will look to extend their momentum to the weekend finale against Lincoln. Puck is scheduled to drop at 7:05 p.m. CT Saturday evening at the Resch Center, which will be a Festival Foods Family Night at the Resch Center. Follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the contest.

Late Rally Proves Costly to Gamblers in Weekend Opener

Despite holding a 2-0 advantage late in the second period, the Green Bay Gamblers were eventually defeated by the Muskegon Lumberjacks (30-18-4) by a 3-2 overtime shootout mark Friday evening at the Resch Center. With the loss, the Gamblers fell to 16-29-6 (39 PTS) with eight games remaining in their 2014-15 United States Hockey League regular-season schedule.

Nick Poehling opened up Green Bay’s strong first period with his first career USHL goal, a power-play strike past the left-handed glove of Lumberjacks goaltender Eric Schierhorn just two minutes into regulation. Nick’s brother, Jack, was credited with his first career assist on the play, while first-year forward Sam Saliba also tabbed a helper on the man-advantage score.

Saliba’s night wasn’t over. After a first period that saw the Gamblers out-shoot Muskegon 13-11, Green Bay tallied its second goal of the evening less than one minute into the second frame thanks to Saliba’s fourteenth goal of the season, which was assisted by Luke Bafia. Saliba, a Lake Forest, Ill., native, now has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in his 10 most recent games.

At the 15:26 mark in the second period, Muskegon made its move. Matej Paulovic converted on the Lumberjacks’ first power-play of the evening, which narrowed Green Bay’s lead to 2-1 after two full frames. Despite a five-minute man advantage in the third, the Gamblers were unable to extend their lead. Then, with 1.4 seconds remaining, Muskegon knotted things up at 2-2.

Neither team managed to score in the game’s five minute 4-on-4 period, which sent the game to a three-man overtime shootout period. Juraj Mily converted Muskegon’s first attempt. Sam Miletic watched his shot sail wide right of the net. Griffen Molino pulled the Lumberjacks up 2-0 on his team’s third shot. Derek Barach’s miss sealed Muskegon’s late comeback effort.

Despite the outcome, Green Bay goaltender Jason Pawloski performed admirably in his twenty-ninth start of the season on Friday. Overall, he warded off 42 of 44 (.955%) shots on goal against him, an effort that raised his season save percentage to .904%. Muskegon, arguably the best man-advantage unit (.234 season PP%) in the league, went 1-for-3 in power plays against Pawloski.

With the loss behind them, the Gamblers will regroup and prepare for Saturday evening’s weekend finale against the Lumberjacks, which is scheduled for Saturday evening at 7:05 p.m. CT from the Resch Center. Saturday evening will be Bud Night at the arena and will feature the ‘Weiner Dog Races’ after the second period. Follow us on Twitter for updates during Saturday’s game.

Gamblers Edged 4-3 in Weekend Opener at Dubuque

The Green Bay Gamblers were defeated by the Dubuque Fighting Saints (29-17-4) by a slim 4-3 regulation mark Saturday evening at the Mystique Ice Arena. With the loss, the Gamblers dropped to 15-28-6 (36 PTS) with 11 regular-season contests remaining in their 2014-15 schedule.

Sam Saliba and Marc Michaelis led the way for Green Bay offensively, each scoring once while assisting on two other scores. Derek Barach chipped in with his tenth goal with an extra attacker in the waning moments of regulation, while Jack Poehling recorded a helper in his United States Hockey League debut.

Kevin Reich received his sixteenth start of the season in net for the Gamblers on Saturday, but was pulled after allowing two goals in the first 6:11 of regulation. Jason Pawloski played the final 53:07 minutes in net for Green Bay, successfully saving 29 of 31 (.936%) shots on goal against him.

Head coach Pat Mikesch and company will return to the Resch Center on Sunday afternoon, playing host to the same Dubuque squad. Puck is scheduled to drop at 3:05 p.m. CT. Follow us on Twitter @GamblersHockey and show your support using #GoGamblers for a re-tweet.

Despite Reich’s Effort, Gamblers Drop Weekend Opener

Green Bay Gamblers goaltender Kevin Reich recorded a career-high 51 saves in net, Jason Dhooghe and Derek Barach bagged their second and ninth goals of the season, respectively, but the Dubuque Fighting Saints ultimately prevailed Friday evening at the Mystique Ice Arena by a 3-2 overtime shootout mark.

With the loss, head coach Pat Mikesch and company dropped to 15-16-6 through their first 47 games of the 2014-15 United States Hockey League regular season. The Gamblers will travel to Cedar Rapids Saturday night to cap the weekend against the RoughRiders, whose 66 PTS leads the Eastern Division.

Follow us on Twitter @GamblersHockey for continual notes and updates and show your support using the #GoGamblers hashtag throughout Saturday evening’s contest at The Stable.

Weekend Preview: Gamblers Carry Momentum to Northern Iowa Road Trip

Snapshot from Saturday's 3-1 victory over Team USA
Snapshot from Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Team USA

GREEN BAY, Wisc. The Green Bay Gamblers will soon depart to northern Iowa for a two-game road trip this weekend, one that will begin with a Friday-evening matchup with the Dubuque Fighting Saints (27-14-4) at the Mystique Ice Arena and wrap up with a visit to The Stable in Cedar Rapids against the Eastern-Conference-leading RoughRiders (32-16-0).

Friday and Saturday’s games are scheduled for 7:35 p.m. and 7:05 p.m. CT, respectively, and can be viewed on FastHockey.

Green Bay’s second-to-last road swing of 2014-15 comes on the heels of perhaps its biggest victory of the season. After trading forward Chris Brown to Tri-City last Monday, the Gamblers capped last weekend with a 3-1 victory over Team USA’s U-18 National Development Program squad on Saturday at the Resch Center, a win fueled by Jason Pawloski’s 32-for-33 saves performance and game-winning goal from defenseman Grant Frederic.

“It’s been good,” said Gamblers head coach and general manager Pat Mikesch of his team’s mood in the locker room this week. “I think it’s been that way for a stretch now. We know we’re playing good hockey, and it was good to get the result we got on Saturday night. We’ve had spirited practices in a nice environment for a good stretch now. I think our team defense along with our goaltending was obviously very strong in that game.”

As two of the top squads in the United States Hockey League’s Eastern Conference this season, Cedar Rapids and Dubuque present a tough challenge for a young and refurbished Green Bay roster. But Mikesch has been pleased with the way his club has competed with both teams in previous meetings, and remains confident that with the right amount of puck control and defensive discipline, this weekend will turn out to be a successful one.

“On the road, you can’t take lapses of time off,” Mikesch said. “You have to understand the momentum changes in an away rink, and we don’t get to choose the matchups. It’s nothing that we haven’t seen all year long. We’ve played well against both; we beat Dubuque the last time we played them. We’re a confident group against them; they’ve made some upgrades for the playoffs, but at the same time, I really like the way we’re playing.”

Team Season Stats
Green Bay: 15-26-5 record | .380 WPCT | 35 PTS (eighth in Eastern Conf.)
Dubuque: 27-14-4 record | .644 WPCT | 58 PTS (third in East)
Cedar Rapids: 32-16-0 record | .667 WPCT | 64 PTS (first in East)

Team Home/Road Splits
Green Bay (road): 8-14-3 record | 2.76 GPG | 3.40 GAA | .148 PP%
Dubuque (home): 16-6-1 record | 3.91 GPG | 2.30 GAA | .212 PP%
Cedar Rapids (home): 14-9-0 record | 3.61 GPG | 2.65 GAA | .118 PP%

Categorical Leaders
Points: CR Jiri Fronk (46) | DUB Seamus Malone (43) | GB Ryan Tait (23)
Goals: CR Fronk (23) |  DUB Brett Boeing (24) | GB Tait (12)
Assists: CR Andrew Oglevie (27) | DUB Malone (28) | GB Vili Saarijarvi (16)
Plus/minus: CR Oglevie (+25) |  DUB Malone (+23) | GB Joey Marooney (+3)

Goaltender Comparison
GB Jason Pawloski: 7-16-4 | 3.36 GAA | .900 save% | 9.6 SV per 20 mins
GB Kevin Reich: 6-7-1 | 2.87 GAA | .916 save% | 10.2 SV per 20 mins
DUB Jacob Nehama: 20-9-4 | 2.32 GAA | .914 save% | 7.9 SV per 20 mins
CR Ben Blacker: 18-8-0 | 2.74 GAA | .916 save% | 9.8 SV per 20 mins

Special Teams Comparison
Green Bay: .138 PP% (eighth in East) | .783 PK% (fourth in East)
Dubuque: .192 PP% (sixth in East) | .839 PK% (third in East)
Cedar Rapids: .161 PP% (seventh in East) | .839 PK% (second in East)

Led by Jiri Fronk, Andrew Oglevie and Erik Foley, Cedar Rapids’ forward lines have grown to become arguably the USHL’s most lethal, averaging a league-high 3.56 goals per game this season. With former Gamblers forward Joe Wegwerth in the mix as of last month, the RoughRiders have brought in additional depth to their forward lines down the stretch, something that presents a problems for any amateur hockey defensive line.

“I think Joe’s a nice piece to their puzzle, but they’ve got some very special guys who are all having great years,” said Mikesch. “They’ve become a team who can potentially make a deep run in the playoffs. For us, it won’t be anything tactical (against them). Coach Carlsson keeps them very well coached and a team that will be very well on their special teams play. We need to make sure we’re well aware of those aspects this weekend.”

Two players the Gamblers will lean heavily on this weekend to produce at the top of their forward lines will be Sam Saliba and Joey Marooney. Acquired from Sioux City and Cedar Rapids, respectively, in the past month, the two have combined for 12 points in nine games and have seen action on the same line in three of those contests. Mikesch said the duo have looked in sync on the ice, which is encouraging for he and his coaching staff.

“Shift after shift, you can see a little chemistry starting,” said Mikesch. “They play with a good pace and they raise our level of practice, as well. I like the way they played, but I thought we were three lines strong the other night with even missing an extra forward. I’ve been happy with the combinations as of late; we’re playing a quicker game to create chances. But we’re going to need to have strong team defense going into this weekend.”

As of Wednesday evening, Mikesch and his staff have decided on Friday’s starting goaltender, which we will announce about an hour or so prior to the 7:05 p.m. puck drop time in Dubuque. Follow myself at @AlecDopp and the Gamblers at @GamblersHockey on Twitter for comprehensive coverage of both contests this weekend, and don’t forget to show your support using the #GoGamblers hashtag.

-AD

Frederic, Pawloski Power Gamblers to Win over Team USA

In the finale of a two-game weekend home series, the Green Bay Gamblers defeated the U.S. National Team Development Program’s U18 squad by a 3-1 mark Saturday at the Resch Center. With the win, the Gamblers ended their seven-game losing streak and improved to 15-26-5 through 46 contests.

Miami (OH) commit Grant Frederic scored the game-winning goal on the power play for Green Bay in the second period, his fifth of the season. Michigan Tech recruit Jake Kauppila chipped in with his eighth goal of 2014-15 in the winning effort, while Jason Pawloski went 31-of-32 (.969) in net for the Gamblers.

With the victory in the books, the young roster of head coach Pat Mikesch will turn its attention toward next weekend’s road trip to northern Iowa. Friday night’s contest in Dubuque is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. CT at the Mystique Ice Center. Follow us on Twitter @GamblersHockey throughout the contest.