MUSKEGON, MICH., – The Chicago Steel took the ice in Michigan for the first of a home-and-home set against the Eastern Conference foe, Muskegon Lumberjacks, at L.C. Walker Arena Friday night.
Chicago fell behind early in the first period when Alex Gaffney put the Jacks up by a goal just 6:27 into the contest. Muskegon’s highest-returning scorer from last season, Danil Gushchin, took advantage of an odd-man rush a few minutes later to extend the Lumberjack lead to 2-0.
The Steel started to heat up later in the opening frame when Josh Doan capitalized on a two-on-one chance, reaching the back of the net off an assist from defenseman Jimmy Dowd Jr., the tally coming at the 12:28 mark of the first.
First-year Steel forward Elis Hede cleaned up a rebound in front of the net at 16:05 of the first after Gunnarwolfe Fontaine put a shot on net. The marker tied up the contest at 2-2 as the final 3:55 of the frame was played out and the teams went into the first intermission. Both teams had power-play chances in the first but could not capitalize.
Brendan Brisson grabbed the lead for the Steel with another rebound goal in front of the Lumberjack crease with 16:55 to play in the second. The Chicago advantage was short-lived as Alex Konovalov and Tanner Edwards registered goals for Muskegon just 1:50 apart to take charge of the preseason contest. Chicago netminder Reilly Herbst was replaced about halfway through the contest in a planned goaltender switch. The Niwot, Colo., native stopped 16 shots in just over 30 minutes of play during his first exhibition action of the year. Through two frames, the Steel were out-shot 27-17 by the Lumberjacks.
The third period began with the Steel chasing a 4-3 Muskegon lead as the scoring slowed from both teams. No pucks found the twine until Gushchin tallied a power-play goal, his second marker of the night, at 7:36 of the final frame once again extending the Lumberjack lead to two goals. That’s how the contest wrapped up as Muskegon took a 5-3 preseason victory to open the two-game weekend set.
Jack Williams finished the game in the Steel crease, playing in 29:25 of game action and making 14 saves.
The teams travel to the Windy City to face off Saturday at Fox Valley Ice Arena, the first preseason contest at home for the Steel.
Upcoming Preseason Games
Sat., Sep. 14 vs. Muskegon Lumberjacks at 7:05 pm
Fri., Sep. 20 vs. Madison Capitols at 7:05 pm
Sat., Sep. 21 at Madison Capitols at 7:05 pm
For more information or to purchase tickets call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.