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.

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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.

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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.

Gamblers Drop Weekend Opener to Team USA

The Green Bay Gamblers were defeated by the US National Team Development Program’s U18 squad by a 5-2 regulation mark Friday evening on Coors Light Night at the Resch Center. With the loss, head coach Pat Mikesch and company fell to 14-26-5 over their first 45 contests of the 2014-15 regular season.

Adam Huska received his third start of the season in net for Green Bay, successfully saving 26 of 31 (.839%) shots on goal against him while limiting Team USA 1-for-4 on power plays. Sam Saliba and Vili Saarijarvi each scored in the losing effort, though the Gamblers went 0-for-5 on power plays.

With the loss behind them, the Gamblers will turn their collective attention toward Saturday night’s weekend finale with Team USA. Puck is scheduled to drop at 7:05 p.m. CT at the Resch Center.  Follow us on Twitter @GamblersHockey and show your support using #GoGamblers throughout the contest.

Marooney Shines, but Gamblers Drop Finale against Youngstown

In the finale of a two-game weekend home-stand against the Youngstown Phantoms, the Green Bay Gamblers were defeated by a 8-5 score Sunday afternoon on ‘School is Cool’ day at the Resch Center. With the loss, head coach Pat Mikesch and company dropped to 14-25-5 over their first 44 games of the 2014-15 United States Hockey League regular season.

First-year forward Joey Marooney tallied two goals and an assist in the losing effort for the Gamblers, while fellow forward Marc Michaelis also scored twice. Sam Saliba notched his second goal since joining the roster via trade last month to, while Chris Brown tallied a team-high two helpers. Adam Huska and Jason Pawloski combined to go 25-for-33 in net for Green Bay.

With the loss behind them, the Gamblers will direct their attention toward next weekend’s home-stand against the Team USA’s U18 squad at the Resch Center. Game-time for both Friday and Saturday’s contests are scheduled for 7:05pm. Follow us on Twitter @GamblersHockey for notes and updates throughout the week leading up to puck drop Friday evening.

Gamblers Defeated by Phantoms in Series Opener

On Saturday evening, the Green Bay Gamblers were defeated by the Youngstown Phantoms by a 5-1 regulation mark at the Resch Center. The loss sent head coach Pat Mikesch and company to 14-24-5 over their first 43 regular-season contests of the 2014-15 regular season.

Jason Pawloski received his twenty-fifth start of the season in net for the Gamblers, saving 31 of 35 shots on goal against him. Sam Miletic tallied his eighth goal of the season on Green Bay’s third power play opportunity of the evening, with Vili Saarijarvi and Marc Michaelis tabbing assists on the score.

With the loss behind them, the Gamblers will now turn their collective attention toward the finale of their weekend home-stand against Youngstown, which is scheduled to start at 3:05pm CT Sunday afternoon. Follow us on Twitter @GamblersHockey for notes and updates.

Gamblers Edged in Chicago to Begin Weekend

The Green Bay Gamblers were defeated by the Chicago Steel (20-19-3) by a 3-2 regulation mark Friday evening at the Edge Ice Arena in Chicago, Ill. With the loss, the Gamblers fell to 14-23-5 (33 PTS) through their first 42 regular-season contests of the 2014-15 season.

Kevin Reich received the start in net for head coach Pat Mikesch, successfully saving 35 of 38 (.921%) shots on goal against him while holding Chicago 0-for-3 on power plays. Sam Kauppila and Grant Frederic each scored in the losing effort, their second and fourth goals of the season, respectively.

With their fourth consecutive loss now behind them, the Gamblers will make a quick turnaround from Chicago to the Resch Center for their scheduled Saturday evening matchup with the Youngstown Phantoms (25-13-5). Puck is scheduled to drop at 7:05 p.m. CT.