FARGO, N.D., - Special teams made the difference on Saturday night as the Chicago Steel fought off two separate two-goal deficits to beat the Fargo Force 7-4 and take home the weekend sweep.
The Steel took advantage of a 5-minute major in the third period, scoring three goals with the man advantage to help complete the comeback victory.
It was the home team that struck first in the contest as Fargo entered the matchup hoping for a weekend split with Chicago.
Tristan Broz lit the lamp at the 5:07 mark of the first period and Aaron Grounds notched his second goal in as many nights against the Steel just three minutes later, giving the Force a 2-0 cushion to begin the game.
The Steel started to fight their way back led by forward Tyler Carpenter. The Palatine, Ill., native registered the first goal for Chicago as he picked the top right corner and beat Fargo’s Cole Brady for his first marker of the night.
The visitors picked up some momentum towards the end of the opening frame when the Steel went on their first power play of the night. It took 1:58 of the two-minute minor but Chicago took advantage, tying the game at 2-2. Brendan Brisson, who drew the call to send the Steel to the power play, worked his way to the hash mark on the right circle, clapping home a one-time chance on a dish from Chicago’s leading scorer, Matty De St. Phalle, with just 1:35 left on the clock in the first.
That’s how the period ended, as the teams went to the dressing room all even at two goals apiece.
The second period began almost the exact same way as the fist, with Fargo registering two quick tallies. Mason Salquist got Fargo’s third goal at the 6:12 mark of the middle frame and Ondrej Pavel extended the lead to 4-2 with a marker of his own just short of two minutes later.
Chicago netminder Victor Ostman replaced Ian Shane at the 7:54 mark of the middle frame.
Brendan Brisson registered his second tally of the night in almost the exact same fashion as his first, another shot from the right hash mark as a power play expired, pulling the Steel to within a goal.
Chicago fell down a man late in the middle frame on a sequence when two Chicago skaters were whistled for infractions. Defenseman Ryan Ufko collided with Fargo’s Adam Gajarsky, resulting in Ufko being assessed with a 5-minute major and game misconduct for contact to the head. A few moments after Ufko collided with Gajarsky, Steel forward Liam Devlin was assessed a two-minute minor and 10-minute misconduct for checking from behind. The sequence resulted in a 5-on-3 man advantage for Fargo for a full two minutes, with an additional three minutes of a 5-on-4 advantage after the minor penalty expired.
The Steel penalty kill went to work as they cancelled the minor, getting to the one-man advantage, sending the teams to the second intermission with the score standing at 4-3 in favor of the home squad.
Special teams were the deciding factor in the final frame as the Steel still had 1:26 of short-handed time to kill as the puck dropped in the third.
Chicago’s PK unit stood tall once again as the clock ran out on the Fargo man advantage.
At the 2:34 mark of the final frame, Fargo’s Zach Faremouth was sent off with a game misconduct for checking from behind and from there, Chicago’s floodgates opened.
The game-tying goal came from the stick of Sam Colangelo as he flipped a loose puck past Brady from right in front of the crease on the power play at 4:27 of the third, the second time the Steel tied the game after being down by two goals.
The Chicago power play caught fire shortly after Colangelo’s goal as Owen Power unleashed a rocket of a one-timer on a setup from De St. Phalle, taking the first lead in the game for Chicago, 5-4
Carpenter found the back of the net for the second time in the game as his skate re-directed a wrist shot from the stick of Uula Ruikka at the point, extending the Chicago lead to 6-4.
All three goals on the power play came within three minutes of each other, a lightning-quick turn of events that saw the Steel go from trailing by a goal to up by two with 12 minutes to play in the game.
Sean Farrell capped the night on special teams by netting the visitors’ fifth goal with the man advantage, snapping home a wrister for his fifth goal on the season.
The Steel hung on for the final nine minutes of action, sealing the win and the two-game weekend sweep of the Force.
Chicago returns to Fox Valley Ice Arena for two games next weekend. The homestand starts with a Friday night matchup against the Youngstown Phantoms on Nov. 1, featuring Second Chance Halloween with Candy Exchange. The showdown on Sat., Nov. 2 against the Waterloo Black Hawks includes The Simpsons on Ice presented by the Entrepreneur’s Source as well as the first Topgolf Family Pack game and the chance to Skate with the Steel following the matchup.
Fri., Nov. 1 vs. Youngstown Phantoms 7:05 pm (Second Chance Halloween with Candy Exchange)
Sat., Nov. 2 vs. Waterloo Black Hawks 7:05 pm (The Simpsons on Ice presented by The Entrepreneur’s Source)
Fri., Nov. 8 at Madison Capitols 7:05 pm
For more information and to purchase Steel tickets, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.