DUBUQUE, IOWA — The Chicago Steel jumped out to a 2-0 lead Friday night, but the Dubuque Fighting Saints answered back with four unanswered goals and held on for a 5-3 win at Mystique Community Ice Center. A pair of multi-point games from Chicago (29-17-1-0, 59 pts.) forwards Robert Mastrosimone and Nick Abruzzese was only outdone by a three-point night from Dubuque (22-18-3-4, 46 pts.) forward Riese Gaber while both goaltenders, Justin Robbins for Chicago and Matthew Thiessen for Dubuque, made 24 saves including big saves to keep their respective teams in the game.
It was Chicago who struck first on the powerplay as defenseman Matteo Pietroniro sent home his 15th of the season. The Steel captain faked a slap shot from the point and moved in closer to rifle a wrist shot over the glove of the Fighting Saints goaltender as Steel right wing Josiah Slavin provided the screen in the slot. Abruzzese picked up his first assist of the night as he fed Pietroniro the setup pass.
Chicago doubled its lead early in the second period as left wing Gunnarwolfe Fontaine scored his 18th goal of the season on a delayed penalty call. The RPI commit beat Dubuque goaltender Matthew Thiessen from in tight as Fontaine and linemate Neil Shea made multiple plays to keep the puck in Chicago’s possession.
Fighting Saints forward Riese Gaber singlehandedly tied the game as he scored a pair of goals four minutes apart midway through the second period.
Dubuque added another pair early in the third to take control of the game. Defenseman J.D. Greenway put the Fighting Saints ahead with some creative stickhandling as he took the puck into the Steel zone before beating Robbins with a wrister up high. Just over four minutes later, Ty Jackson found the back of the net to increase the lead to 4-2.
Dubuque called its timeout with 5:25 to play in the contest as Chicago was set up for an offensive zone faceoff but it didn’t stop the Steel. It was déjà vu for Mastrosimone as he deflected a pair of shots from defenseman John Spetz in an offensive flurry. While the first nearly snuck past Thiessen, the second did beat him, pulling the Steel within one goal.
The Steel pulled Robbins for the extra attacker in an attempt to tie the game but Fighting Saints forward Matias Maccelli scored on the empty net with 70 seconds to play to close things out.
The Steel have a chance for redemption Saturday night as the teams meet again in the back half of a home-and-home weekend. Saturday’s tilt is set for a 7:05 p.m. faceoff on a night that includes the team’s second annual Wiener Dog Races as well as a postgame Skate with the Steel.
Tickets for all Steel home games are on sale now starting at just $10 and stadium seating on the glass is available for just $20. Parking is always free.
For more information, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.