GENEVA, ILLINOIS — Sioux Falls scored five goals in the second period to take control of another high-scoring game with the Steel en route to a 7-4 win Friday night at Fox Valley Ice Arena. The two teams have now scored a combined 25 goals in two games with Sioux Falls (32-13-3-1, 68 pts.) sweeping the season series. The Steel (30-18-1-0, 61 pts.) had a pair of career moments as center Nick Abruzzese picked up his 100th career USHL regular season point and defenseman Ville Rasanen scored his first career USHL goal.
The Steel got off to a great start, dominating the first 15 minutes of play. Chicago defensemen John Spetz opened the scoring on the powerplay as he sent a low point shot through a bevy of traffic and sliding past the glove side of Sioux Falls goaltender Jaxson Stauber. Spetz’s goal gives him eight for the season and 12 points (3-9-12) over the last 12 games.
The Steel defensive corps continued to pitch in offensively as fellow blueliner Ville Rasanen scored just 2:13 later. The Carolina Hurricanes prospect received a pass along the blueline from right wing Christian Sarlo and skated towards the net before rifling a heavy wrist shot past the glove of Stauber.
Despite Chicago opening up a 16-3 lead in the shot category, Sioux Falls cut the deficit late in the first as a pass towards the front of the net bounced off a Chicago skate and over the goal line. The lucky bounce was all the Stampede needed to change the course of the game. Sioux Falls went on to score five goals in the second period top open up a 6-2 advantage.
The five-goal period began with a powerplay goal on the first shot of the period for Sioux Falls as the team capitalized on all three of its powerplay opportunities in the middle frame.
Chicago answered back with its second powerplay goal of the game early in the third period as left wing Robert Mastrosimone finished off a rebound at the front of the net. Stauber made the initial save on left wing Gunnarwolfe Fontaine’s shot from the point that was set up by a pass from right wing Josiah Slavin.
The Steel then pulled within two with their third powerplay goal of the game as defenseman Matteo Pietroniro blasted a one-time slap shot from the top of the circle for his 16th goal of the season. With an assist on the play, Abruzzese became just the fourth player in Steel franchise history to hit the 100-point mark in his career.
Chicago called its timeout with 2:20 to play and trailing by a pair, but Sioux Falls struck for an empty net goal with just over a minute to play to cap the scoring.
The Steel are back in action Saturday night for The Pajama Game in a 7:05 p.m. puck drop against Team USA U-17.
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.