GENEVA, ILLINOIS — The Chicago Steel look to turn the tide in their best-of-five Clark Cup Final series against the Sioux Falls Stampede after losing a pair of close battles and facing a 2-0 Clark Cup Final series deficit as they prepare to host Game 3 on Friday, May 17 and Game 4 on Saturday, May 18, if necessary. For the Steel to win their second Clark Cup Championship they would need to close the series in Game 5 on Tuesday, May 21 in Sioux Falls.
Clark Cup Final (Best-of-Five Series, Sioux Falls Leads Series 2-0)
Game 1: Sioux Falls 3-2 Chicago RECAP / STATS
Game 2: Sioux Falls 3-2 Chicago (2 OT) RECAP / STATS
Game 3: Sioux Falls at Chicago – Friday, May 17 at 7:05 p.m. (Fox Valley Ice Arena)
Game 4*: Sioux Falls at Chicago – Saturday, May 18 at 7:05 p.m. (Fox Valley Ice Arena)
Game 5*: Chicago at Sioux Falls – Tuesday, May 21 at 7:05 p.m. (Denny Sanford PREMIER Center)
The Steel announced Tuesday that Chicago Blackhawks National Anthem performer Jim Cornelison will perform the National Anthem at Game 3 on Friday. This is the fourth time Cornelison has performed for the Steel at Fox Valley Ice Arena and second time prior to a Clark Cup Final game (May 20, 2017 – Game 3). Fans are encouraged to arrive early for Friday’s game to be in their seats for the anthem prior to the 7:05 p.m. game. The first 1,500 fans at Game 3 and Game 4 will receive a Chicago Steel Clark Cup Final rally towel.
Chicago showed its resilience in Game 1, battling back to tie the game 2-2 early in the third after Sioux Falls scored twice in the second period to open up a 2-0 lead. Forward Josiah Slavin scored midway through the second and defenseman John Spetz knotted things up 2:32 into the third, but Stampede forward Jared Westcott found the game-winning goal with 5:01 to play.
The Steel drew first blood in Game 2 as forward Gunnarwolfe Fontaine picked up his sixth goal of the postseason to give Chicago its first lead of the series. Stampede defenseman Max Crozier tied things up towards the end of the second period before Chicago forward Robert Mastrosimone put his team back ahead midway through the third on the powerplay. But with 2:50 to play in the third period, Sioux Falls forward Sam Stevens scored on a shot off the faceoff to send the game to overtime. The first extra frame wasn’t enough and it took 96:05 of game time before Stampede forward Andre Lee scored the double-overtime game winner with 3:55 to play. The game marked the longest Chicago Steel game in the team’s 19-year history and first to enter double overtime.
The last team to come back from a 2-0 deficit to win the best-of-five Clark Cup Final was Green Bay in 2010. After losing the first two games at home, Green Bay rallied for a pair of road wins at Fargo before winning Game 5 at home.
The series shifts to Fox Valley Ice Arena where the Steel are 3-1 in the postseason after recording a 19-9-2-0 mark during the regular season. Sioux Falls has played just four of its 11 playoff games on the road, going 3-1 away from home after a 15-11-4-0 mark in true road games during the regular season.
While the vast majority of the series to this point has been played 5-on-5, the Steel have the only powerplay goal between the teams, though Sioux Falls scored its first goal in Game 2 with an extra attacker on for a delayed penalty call. Chicago is 1-for-6 on the powerplay with Sioux Falls 0-for-2.
Mastrosimone (6-7-13) currently leads the USHL with 15 points in 10 postseason games. Nick Abruzzese is second in league scoring with 13 points (7-6-13) in 10 games while Fontaine and Crozier are tied with 11 points this postseason. Lee is the only other skater with a double-digit point total (6-4-10).
Both starting goaltenders have been stellar in the postseason. Justin Robbins has backstopped the Steel with a 6-4 record, 2.31 goals against average and .916 save percentage. Sioux Falls netminder Jaxson Stauber is 10-1 with a league-best 1.50 goals against average and .940 save percentage.
Sioux Falls took both meetings during the regular season as each of the offenses exploded for a combined 25 goals in two games. The Stampede won 8-6 at home on February 8 before coming to Fox Valley Ice Arena for a 7-4 win exactly one month later.
Tickets for Games 3 and 4 are on sale now and may be purchased in person at the Steel Box Office, by phone at 855-51-STEEL or online at ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com. Tickets start at just $10 and fans can catch the action up close with seats on the glass available for just $20. The group ticket minimum for Clark Cup Final home games is just 10 people, and the Budweiser Lounge and Steel Suites are available for Clark Cup Final games by calling 855-51-STEEL.
All Steel games are broadcast live on HockeyTV (video) and mixlr.com/chicago-steel (free audio).
For more information, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.