GENEVA, ILLINOIS — In the final meeting of the regular season between the Chicago Steel and Youngstown Phantoms, two third period goals led the Phantoms to a 4-3 road victory Friday night at Fox Valley Ice Arena. It was the top guns who scored for Chicago (30-19-2-0, 62 pts.) as left wing Robert Mastrosimone scored twice and center Nick Abruzzese tallied, but it wasn’t enough for the Steel as Youngstown (28-18-1-4, 61 pts.) earned the hard-fought victory.
Chicago opened the scoring just two minutes into the game as Mastrosimone finished off a broken play to extend his team lead in goals. Steel defenseman Uula Ruikka started the play with a deke attempt that got away but landed on Mastrosimone’s stick where he chipped a one-time shot from the slot past Phantoms goaltender Chad Veltri. The play extended Mastrosimone’s scoring streak to five games (5-2-7) and ended a scoring drought for Ruikka.
It was Youngstown who would grab the next two goals of the game as Phantoms forwards Craig Needham and Jack Malone each struck for a goal in the first six minutes of the second. Between the goals, Robbins came up big with another point blank save and Steel left wing Josh Groll was sprung on a breakaway where he beat Veltri through the five hole but the shot found the post instead of twine.
The Phantoms would have made it 3-1 if not for a breakaway save from Robbins, this time denying Youngstown forward, and USHL leading scorer Brett Murray.
The save swung the momentum as Mastrosimone tapped home his second of the game moments later on the power play. Mastrosimone’s team-leading 26th goal of the year was set up by a point shot from defenseman John Spetz that Mastrosimone slid home while falling to the ice. Spetz now has 12 points (2-10-12) in the last 15 games.
Chicago could have regained its lead with less than a minute to play in the middle frame but a Youngstown skater broke up a two-on-one chance for Chicago as he stripped the puck off the stick of Abruzzese. The Harvard commit would not be denied, however, as he made moves through the offensive zone before beating Veltri just 3:42 into the third period. With the goal, Abruzzese picked up his 67th point of the season, passing Jack Dugan for the second-most points in a single season in Steel franchise history. Dugan, a Vegas Golden Knights prospect playing for Providence University, recorded 66 points last season.
Youngstown again scored back-to-back goals, this time less than five minutes apart in the third period. Off a defensive zone draw, a long outlet pass found Malone on a breakaway who put away his second of the night, tucking a shot through the five-hole midway through the frame. Phantoms defenseman Aiden Gallacher then put his team ahead for good with his first goal of the season on a screened shot from the point with less than five minutes to play.
Chicago went to the powerplay with 2:13 to play in the game but couldn’t find the equalizer.
Chicago is back in action Saturday for GAF Powerplay for Students: A Night to Benefit Geneva Schools presented by FONA International. The Steel will wear custom black and silver jerseys during the contest that will be bid on while Chicago and the Dubuque Fighting Saints square off on the ice. Auction proceeds will benefit the Geneva Academic Foundation.
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.