ICE, TARASOV DECONSTRUCT SAINTS IN GAME TWO, WIN 6-3
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Dubuque Fighting Saints played Russian Roulette one too many times with Indiana Ice leading goal-scorer Daniil Tarasov.
After the “Saints” held the Ice’s star forward to a single assist Friday night in Indiana’s 5-2 victory, Tarasov unloaded a five-point explosion on Dubuque in a 6-3 victory Saturday evening at Pepsi Coliseum. The win gave the Ice a 2-0 advantage in the best-of-five second round playoff series.
His hat trick (three goals) and two assists was the first five-point game in Ice playoff history.
Robbie Baillargeon, Sean Kuraly and Christian Hilbrich added goals to the winning effort and Jake Fallon contributed three assists.
“Tarasov makes it easy because you know he is going to bury the puck,” Fallon said. “The goal scored by Hilbrich was a pass that went off his head and into the net. You have to take it any way you can get it.”
For the second-consecutive night, the Ice nursed a one-goal lead heading into the final period, but the team scored three unanswered goals to blow the game wide open.
Jon Gillies was the winner in net, stopping 34-of-37 Dubuque shots, and for the second-consecutive game, held the visitors scoreless in the final 20 minutes.
“I was not worried about not having a goal in game one, I just wanted to play smart tonight,” Tarasov said. “My teammates did well in setting me up and I have been working hard to improve my positioning on the ice.”
In the third period, Hilbrich scored for the second-consecutive game, extending Indiana’s lead to 5-3 at the 4:50 mark, as the puck deflected off his helmet and into the cage. Less than 30 seconds later, Kuraly redirected a Jose Delgadillo shot into the twine at the 5:14 mark. Tarasov also assisted on the scoring play, which set the franchise record for points in a playoff game.
In the second period, the teams traded power play goals and even-strength goals. Former Iceman Cody Bradley lit the lamp for Dubuque, stuffing the puck just past Gillies at the :17 mark after the second-period face-off.
Indiana would then rebuild a two-goal lead with a power play goal at the 12:30 mark as Tarasov beat the Dubuque goaltender after receiving assists from Fallon and Ryan Obuchowski.
After the Ice gave up a power play goal at the 19:16 mark, Indy answered with Tarasov’s eventual game-winning lamplighter with :38 seconds remaining. Joe Fiala and Fallon handed out assists on the tally which gave the hosts a 4-3 lead at the second intermission.
The opening period was scoreless until Baillargeon put Indiana on the board late at the 13:58 mark, scoring his second goal of the playoffs after receiving a pass from Tarasov.
The Russian forward scored his first of the evening after “Saints’” netminder Matt Morris stopped him at close-range, but the goalie but could not stop Tarasov on a breakaway less than a minute later.
The Icemen’s leading scorer put on a series of “dekes” and beat Morris to give the hosts a 2-0 advantage at the 16:33 mark of the opening frame.
The series shifts to Dubuque, Iowa Wednesday at the Mystique Ice Center for game three.