Will have more on this later, but the Indiana Ice had a resounding 6-1 victory Friday night over the second-place Dubuque Fighting Saints in the first meeting of two this weekend at the Pepsi Coliseum.
The same two teams will match up at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Christian Hilbrich scored his fifth and sixth goals of the year for the Ice -- a power play and a shorthanded goal -- and Jon Gillies was strong in net for the Ice, who pulled away.
Daniil Tarasov, Ryan Cole and Robbie Baillargeon each had a goal and an assist, and Jacob Fallon had three assists in the game.
The victory notched the Ice's biggest goal total since a 6-2 win over Tri-City on Oct. 21, and was a big statement as the season heads toward the midpoint, with Dubuque the defending Clark Cup champions and two spots ahead of the Ice in the USHL Eastern Conference standings.
The Ice remain in fourth place in the loaded Eastern Conference, with a 12-7-2 record and 26 points, but are now three points clear of fifth-place Cedar Rapids. The Ice are one point back of third-place Youngstown and three back of Dubuque.
After Dubuque's Teddy Doherty scored early, Gillies was a wall, stopping 26 Dubuque shots. Andrew Mayer knotted the game up with 2:07 left in the first with his first goal of the season, and the Ice were off.
Tarasov scored his 13th goal of the year at 2:07 of the second, netting the eventual game-winner, assisted by Fallon and R.J. Boyd. His two-point night puts him five back of the league lead, with 28 points for the season. He now has points in five of his last six games.
Hilbrich's power play goal at 9:42 of the second -- assisted by Drew Smolcynski and Cole -- gave the Ice a two-goal lead and chased starter Collin LeMay. Baillageon and Hilbrich had goals in the first five minutes of the third against backup Gabe Antoni to put it away, before Cole sealed it with an unassisted goal in the final 45 seconds.
For Cole, it was his second goal and fourth point in five games since coming to the Ice.
Fallon's two assists give him 25 points for the season, good enough for third in the USHL points race and second in the league in assists. Baillargeon now has 17 points in 19 games for the Ice.
The Ice were 1-for-3 on the power play. Dubuque was 0-for-3.
Also of note were Fallon and Tarasov were +3 and Baillargeon was a +2 on the night. Boyd, Alexander Kuqali and Smolcynski were also both +2.
Defensively, the Ice kept 20-point men Zemgus Girgensons and Shane Sooth off the scoreboard.
Cody Bradley returned to Indianapolis for the Fighting Saints and was scoreless, going a minus-1 with two shots, as was the Ice's John Doherty, the player he was traded for.
1. Christian Hilbrich (Ice), 2 goals, 2 shots, +1, PPG, SHG
2. Jacob Fallon (Ice), 3 assists, +3, 2 shots
3. Jon Gillies (Ice), 26 saves, 1GA, win