GENEVA, Ill., - In an early-season battle of two closely-matched United States Hockey League teams, the Chicago Steel (8-3-1-0, 17 pts.) prevailed, beating the Waterloo Black Hawks (7-2-1-0, 15 pts.) by a 5-3 score.
The first period had the feeling of a heavyweight title fight with both teams feeling each other out as Chicago and Waterloo exchanged scoring chances.
Waterloo came into the game with a perfect 100% penalty kill success rate going 41-for-41 in their past nine outings. After cancelling their first penalty of the game, the Black Hawks took an interference infraction with less than two minutes remaining in the first, once again putting that perfect streak on the line.
Tyler Carpenter worked his way to the front of the net, getting his stick on a shot from John Spetz and popping the net. The marker broke Waterloo’s impressive penalty kill stretch and sent the teams to the first intermission with a 1-0 Steel lead.
The big-game feel continued through the second as both teams picked up the pace but it was the Steel who jumped out to a two-goal lead shortly into the middle frame. Sam Colangelo found Brendan Brisson near the goal line in the offensive zone before Brisson got his head up and snapped a pass to a cutting Spetz who came down the slot and lit the lamp for his second point of the evening.
Chicago netminder Victor Ostman was up to the challenge when he was tested in a one-on-one situation just three minutes later. The Swedish netminder fought off a breakaway chance from the blueline in for Griffin Ness, preserving the 2-0 lead.
Patrick Guzzo was able to solve Ostman for the Black Hawks’ first goal of the night. The forward scooped up a loose puck in the crease for his second goal of the season, cutting the visitors’ deficit in half.
Not to be outdone, Ostman got another chance to shine with a breakaway from Waterloo’s top scorer, Connor Caponi. Once again, it was Ostman who prevailed and kept the lead for his club, turning away Caponi’s wrister.
Early on in the final frame, the hero of the night, Sam Colangelo, took a stretch pass from Luke Reid down the right side, picked his spot on Waterloo netminder Logan Stein and pushed the Steel lead to 3-1 with his first tuck of the night.
The Black Hawks fought back almost immediately, not going quietly into the night. Waterloo controlled an offensive zone draw and Dane Montgomery picked up his second goal on the year, cutting the deficit to one goal just 30 seconds after Colangelo’s marker.
The Northeastern commit came right back, this time showcasing his power. Brisson found Colangelo cutting to the net and hit him with a cross-ice pass as Colangelo fought a defender off his back and buried his second goal of the evening.
Once again, the Black Hawks. Spetz was called for roughing and headed to the box with less than five minutes to play in the game, sending Waterloo to their first man-advantage opportunity of the night. The Black Hawks capitalized in a hurry, as Griffin Ness reached the back of the net pulling the club to within one goal of the Steel yet again.
The Steel held tough in the final five minutes, keeping the Black Hawks from tallying the game-tying goal with help form Ostman, who made 28 saves in the win.
Blueliner Owen Power put the icing on the cake as he flipped a puck from the shadow of the Steel crease all the way into the empty Waterloo net, sealing the 5-3 final score.
Chicago hits the road for their next game, the first of a home-and-home set against the Madison Capitols on Friday, Nov. 8 before returning home for 80s Night against the Capitols at Fox Valley Ice Arena on Saturday, Nov. 9.
Fri., Nov. 8 at Madison Capitols 7:05 pm
Sat., Nov. 9 vs. Madison Capitols 7:05 pm (80s Night)
Sat., Nov. 16 at Sioux City Musketeers 7:05 pm
For more information and to purchase Steel tickets, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.