GENEVA, ILLINOIS — Jake Jaremko buried a backhanded five-hole shot to cap a three-point (2+1) night as the Chicago Steel defeated the Sioux Falls Stampede in overtime, 4-3, Friday at Fox Valley Ice Arena. Chicago (34-12-3-3) set a new franchise record for points in a single season, reaching 73 following the win, while also tying the team record for wins in a season (34). Both records were previously set in the 2003-2004 season.
Chicago’s magic number to clinch its first playoff berth in nine years dropped to one point with nine games now remaining in the regular season.
Sioux Falls (17-28-2-5, 41 pts.) battled back from a 3-0 deficit with three goals in the final nine minutes of regulation to force a second overtime game between the two teams this season.
Chicago opened the scoring during a busy first period. On the power play, Jaremko sent a one-timer from the top of the right circle at 5:20. Jaremko extended his goal-scoring streak to four games with his 15th tally of the season. The Steel had a second power play chance less than three minutes later and took advantage. Eduards Tralmaks sent a centering pass from the right wing to Mitch Lewandowski in the middle of the slot who sent the puck past Sioux Falls goaltender Jeremy Swayman at 9:37. Chicago scored one last time in the frame when Brannon McManus buried the puck past the stick side of Swayman. The Stampede had three power play chances during the period, but the top penalty killing unit in the USHL shut them down. Chicago led in shots 18-12 heading into the intermission.
In the third period, Sioux Falls got on the board on its 25th shot of the game when Jack Becker put the puck in the back of the net to complete a tic-tac-toe sequence created by Khristian Acosta and Josh Passolt at 11:12. The Stampede picked up momentum, and at the 14:31 mark, 2016 USHL Phase I Draft first-overall pick Gavin Hain found the puck in front and tipped it past Chicago goaltender Dayton Rasmussen.
The Stampede pressured in the game’s closing minutes by pulling Swayman in favor of an extra attacker. With just 8.4 seconds remaining, Passolt’s shot from the left wing ricocheted off Steel defenseman Adam Karashik’s stick, bouncing past Rasmussen on the blocker side to force overtime.
Sioux Falls controlled the puck early in overtime, but Chicago earned earn the game’s extra point when Derek Daschke passed ahead to Jaremko, whose backhanded shot snuck through Swayman’s five-hole at 2:59.
Jaremko’s final tally of the night was his fourth game-winning goal of the season. Rasmussen made 30 saves in the win, while Tralmaks (0+2), Ben Mirageas (0+2), and Graham Lillibridge (0+2) each tallied multi-point nights.
The Steel hit the road Saturday for a 7:05 p.m. game against the Waterloo Black Hawks at Young Arena in Waterloo, IA. Audio and video broadcast details are available at ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com/broadcast.
Next weekend, the Steel play three games in three days. The Steel will play Friday and Saturday night in Iowa, visiting Dubuque on Friday (7:35 p.m.), and Des Moines (7:05 p.m.) on Saturday before returning home on Sunday, March 26 for a 3:05 p.m. matinee against the Youngstown Phantoms. It’s a Steel Family Pack game – purchase 4 tickets, 4 hot dogs, 4 sodas and 4 chuck-a-pucks starting at just $48. Fans are invited to join the entire team on the ice for a post-game Skate with the Steel. For tickets or more information, call 855-51-STEEL, stop by the Box Office at Fox Valley Ice Arena or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.