SIOUX CITY, IOWA — The Chicago Steel picked up a dominant 5-1 victory Saturday night in Game 2 of the 2017 USHL Clark Cup Final at Tyson Events Center, tying the best-of-five championship series at one game apiece. Ales Stezka made 38 saves on 39 shots, while Brannon McManus notched a pair of goals, and Jake Jaremko recorded a three-point (1+2) night.
After splitting the first two games of the best-of-five series, the Steel have stolen home ice advantage, as the next two games take place May 19-20 at Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva, Ill.
The Steel soared to a 3-0 lead in the first period. Johnny Walker jammed a rebound through the five hole of Sioux City goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks at 11:03, then Brannon McManus scored two consecutive tallies. The first came 46 seconds after Walker’s goal, as Jaremko connected a pass to McManus at the bottom of the right circle, firing a quick release past Kivlenieks. Then, at the 16:12 mark, McManus struck on the power play, sending a one-timer from the left faceoff dot into the back of the net.
The second period saw 27 combined shots from the two teams, but no goals, as the Steel brought the 3-0 lead into the third period.
Chicago extended its lead in the third period thanks to a power play goal from Jaremko, who patiently circled the zone and fired a wrist shot over the glove at 7:47.
Jaremko’s goal was Chicago’s fourth on 22 shots, ending the night for Kivlenieks, the reigning USHL Player and Goaltender of the Year, who was pulled in favor of backup netminder Todd Scott.
Scott faced five shots from the Steel. One of the five got past him, as Eduards Tralmaks extended his league lead in postseason goals to eight, deflecting a feed from Jack Badini at 13:13. The assist from Badini marked the 10th consecutive game in which Badini has registered at least one point.
Before the game ended, Musketeers forward Aapeli Rasanen ended Stezka’s bid for a third postseason shutout, sending a shot past the blocker on the power play at 15:14. The goal was recorded on Sioux City’s 36th shot of the game.
Game 3 takes place Friday, May 19. Game 4 is Saturday, May 20. Both games at Fox Valley Ice Arena will start at 7:05 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. and parking is always free. If a Game 5 is needed, the series will shift back to Tyson Events Center on Tuesday, May 23 at 7:05 p.m.
All Steel games are broadcast live on HockeyTV (video) and mixlr.com/chicago-steel (free audio). For tickets or more information, call 855-51-STEEL, stop by the Box Office at Fox Valley Ice Arena or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.