The Indiana Ice guaranteed a new sheriff in town as they swept the reigning Clark Cup Champion Dubuque Fighting Saints 3-0 Wednesday night with a 3-1 win at the Mystique Community Ice Center.
Sean Kuraly logged a goal and an assist in the contest while Jake Fallon and Robbie Baillargeon met twine for Indy. Goaltender Jon Gillies was equal to 34 of 35 Dubuque shots.
The “Saints” controlled the pace of the first period, harboring a 14-6 shot advantage, including a 6-1 barrage on Gillies during the five-minute major assessed to the Ice for head contact.
The goal lamps fired up several times during the first period at the Mystique Community Ice Center, but only one counted as a rebounded puck went into the cage off the tape of Baillargeon with 6:16 left on the clock. Woody Hudson notched his first postseason point with an assist on the play.
A penalty to Dubuque’s Tyler Lundey spelled disaster for the “Saints” when Jake Fallon grabbed a loose puck in the crease and slipped it past Matt Morris to give Indy a 2-0 lead 37 ticks into the middle frame. The game-winner was his fifth point (2G, 3A) in three postseason games and extends his point streak to four games dating back to the regular season.
Kuraly and Daniil Tarasov also extended point streaks with the assist on Fallon’s goal. Kuraly’s tear stretches back eight games and compiles 11 points (5G, 6A) while Tarasov has at least one point in the past 16 games with an impressive 33 points (17G, 16A).
Indy maintained a comfortable 2-0 lead on the wings of a steady defense and solid play in net by Gillies. The veteran netminder allowed a lone goal by Dubuque’s Tyler Lundey with 7:12 left in the third period, despite facing a 35 shots throughout the night and several power play attempts by the “Saints.”
Kuraly’s empty netter with 43 seconds remaining in the contest secured the Ice’s trip to the Eastern Conference finals.
For the third time in four years, Indy will meet up with the Green Bay Gamblers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Green Bay owns home-ice advantage, finishing first in the league. Game dates and times TBD.