CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, PENNSYLVANIA — In a matchup of the last two Clark Cup champions, the Steel and Sioux Falls Stampede faced off in the final contest of the weekend at the Dick’s Sporting Goods USHL Fall Classic. Chicago got another multi-goal performance as Sean Farrell tallied his first two markers in a Steel sweater.
Chicago had a power-play opportunity just over two minutes into the action, but the Stampede penalty kill stood tall and cancelled the man advantage to keep the game scoreless.
Chicago alternate captain Matty De St. Phalle made sure the zeros on the scoreboard didn’t last long, however. Defenseman Jack Babbage filtered a puck down to Sean Farrell in the left circle who dropped it to De St. Phalle. The Glencoe, Ill., native ripped home a wrister from the top of the circle, snatching the lead for the Steel just over six minutes into the game.
Special teams took center stage in the middle frame as seven total infractions were called during the period. Sioux Falls capitalized on the first man advantage of the frame, with Jakub Lewandowski finding the back of the net for the Stampede to tie the game at one goal apiece.
The Steel returned the favor, capitalizing on their own power play halfway through the second. Farrell took a pass from De St. Phalle almost to the goal line and beat the Sioux Falls netminder, Grant Adams, to re-take the lead for Chicago by a 2-1 margin.
Sam Colangelo added to the cushion when he was the recipient of a dish from Gunnarwolfe Fontaine on an odd-man rush, tucking home his first marker of the year. Fontaine reached the scoresheet for the second consecutive night with the helper, as the Steel went to the dressing room with a two-goal advantage before the final period of play.
Similar to the previous night, Chicago’s opponent provided some drama in the third as Isaac Hankmeyer-Howe cut the Stampede deficit to one goal with just under 17 minutes remaining as Sioux City tried to mount a comeback.
Chicago was able to protect the lead through the rest of the frame, thanks in large part to fantastic defensive efforts from Babbage and Owen Power. Babbage prevented a scoring opportunity with seven minutes left when he slid in front of the net, breaking up a chance and keeping the one-goal lead safe. Five minutes later, Power stood his ground during a 3-on-2 rush, blocking a shot and leading to a zone clear for the Steel.
The Steel were able to breathe a sigh of relief after Sioux Falls took their timeout with 32 seconds left. Even though the Stampede won the offensive zone faceoff, Chicago gained control of the puck with Farrell streaking up the left side and burying an empty-net goal.
Chicago netminder Ian Shane was able to withstand a final rush from Sioux Falls and made 20 saves to pick up a victory in his first USHL action.
The 4-2 win was Chicago’s second victory in as many games, securing the team’s first 2-0-0-0 start to the season since the 2016-17 season.
Sat., Oct. 5 vs. Green Bay Gamblers 7:05 pm (Home Opener)
Fri., Oct. 11 at Green Bay Gamblers 7:05 pm
Sun., Oct. 13 at Youngstown Phantoms 4:05 pm CT
For more information and to purchase Steel tickets, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.