GENEVA, ILL., — The Steel opened up the 2019-20 home slate in style after unveiling the 2018-19 USHL Eastern Conference Championship banner. Chicago beat the Green Bay Gamblers 3-1 in the first game at Fox Valley Ice Arena this season. The Steel were led to victory by another multi-point performance from Sean Farrell and netminder Victor Ostman, who made 24 saves in the win.
Gunnarwolfe Fontaine kicked off the scoring for the home team when he took a pass from Sam Colangelo all the way through the neutral zone, cutting to the left between two Gamblers and shooting to the right, beating Green Bay netminder Nicholas Grabko to take the lead.
Both teams got chances on the man advantage during the first period but neither club was able to capitalize.
Ostman kept the game scoreless when he was tested late in the opening frame, making a big chest save at the 17:30 mark, sending the teams to the intermission with the Steel holding a one-goal cushion, the third straight game the team has led 1-0 after one.
Grabko was the story of the middle frame, keeping the deficit at one goal for Green Bay. The Channahon, Ill., native was the last line of defense from the blueline in as Fontaine and Matty De St. Phalle gained the line with a shorthanded 2-on-0 chance. Grabko slid from right-to-left, making a toe save to get out of danger. Just a few minutes later the netminder went the other direction, this time making a left-to-right toe save, stopping Chicago defenseman Jimmy Dowd.
As the second period wound down, the action heated up. Steel forward Sean Farrell and Green Bay blueliner Brady Ziemer got tangled up and headed to the box with matching minor penalties. As soon as those penalties were over, Palatine native Tyler Carpenter and the Gamblers’ Benito Posa dropped the gloves in front of the Green Bay net, earning game misconducts.
Chicago head coach Greg Moore was proud of how the hometown product stepped up to meet the challenge.
“I think it’s important that teams respect us and don’t try and physically run us over. I was really proud of how young of a group we have and everyone kind of stepped up in that department. Carpenter will be an element of that for us during the season, I think he knows that. That’s probably why he did it at the time,” said Moore.
The scoring picked up in the final frame for Chicago thanks in large part to Farrell. The Harvard commit factored in on both goals scored for the Steel, first giving a cross-crease pass to De St.Phalle who finished the play for his second goal of the season. Farrell then took center stage as he roofed a rocket over Grabko’s glove securing a 3-0 margin for Chicago.
Green Bay took advantage of a 5-on-3 chance at the 19:10 mark of the final frame but it was not enough of a final push to complete the comeback.
Ostman picked up his second win between the Steel pipes, gaining confidence with every save thanks to help from the players in front of him.
“They played great tonight. They really made it easy for me and the shots that Green Bay had were mostly from the outside,” said Ostman.
The Steel travel to the Resch Center next Friday, Oct. 11 for a rematch with the Gamblers, the second of eight regular-season meetings between the clubs.
Fri., Oct. 11 at Green Bay Gamblers 7:05 pm
Sun., Oct. 13 at Youngstown Phantoms 4:05 pm CT
Mon., Oct. 14 at Youngstown Phantoms 6:05 pm CT
For more information and to purchase Steel tickets, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.