MUSKEGON, MICH — In a back-and-forth conference battle that saw three total game-tying goals and three lead changes, the Chicago Steel (15-4-1-0, 31 pts) captured a 4-3 victory in overtime on Saturday night against the Muskegon Lumberjacks (9-9-2-0, 20 pts) at L.C. Walker Arena in Muskegon to split the weekend series.
The win sealed an 8-2-0-0 record during the month of November for the Steel, the highest number of victories during the month in franchise history.
Saturday’s game featured the same netminders between the pipes from just 24 hours prior. Jack Williams took the crease for the home team while Victor Ostman strapped up the pads for the Steel.
Williams came into Saturday’s matchup with a 2-0-0-0 record against the Steel this season and he and Ostman kept their respective teams alive with stellar goaltending performances at both ends throughout the night.
It was a Chicago defenseman who was first to reach the back of the net as Sean Farrell gained the offensive zone for the Steel on the left boards then stopped and found a trailing Owen Power who snapped home his sixth marker of the season, putting the Steel on top 1-0.
Power’s tally was the only goal of the first 20 minutes as Williams stopped 14 shots and Ostman turned away five in the opening frame.
After being held off the scoresheet on Friday, Muskegon’s Danil Gushchin would not be denied on Saturday. The Russian forward, a ‘B’- rated prospect by NHL Central Scouting, beat Ostman on his blocker side shortly into the middle frame as teddy bears came raining onto the ice for Teddy Bear Toss Night in Muskegon.
Tanner Kelly was able to tuck home a puck on a rebound just four minutes after the Teddy Bear Toss goal, sending the Lumberjacks to a 2-1 edge with back-to-back markers.
The Steel earned a power play when Rhett Pitlick was called for hooking halfway through the second frame and the USHL-leading power play unit showed its skill.
Gunnarwolfe Fontaine picked up a long rebound off a shot from Power and in a split-second, got off a wrister that popped the back of the net to tie the game at 2-2 as the teams carried that score into the final frame.
After Gushchin picked up his second goal of the contest, putting the Lumberjacks in front 3-2, the physicality between the conference rivals intensified. A minute after Gushchin’s goal, Farrell was given a 10-minute misconduct and 2-minute minor for checking behind and after the whistle, Ryan Poorman was served with a game misconduct and 5-minute major for cross-checking Brendan Brisson up high.
The teams traded chances as the third period went on before Sam Colangelo and Oliver MacDonald got tangled up in front of the Muskegon net, resulting in both players getting hit with two-minute minors for roughing.
Colangelo made his impact felt with more than just his physical presence as the 6-foot-2, 205-pound forward powered his way to the net and stuffed home the game-tying goal with just over three minutes to play in regulation.
Both teams earned a point as the clock ticked down with Williams making 37 saves and Ostman turning away 23 shots in regulation for their clubs.
A minute into the extra frame, Pitlick got in all alone on Ostman but was turned away by the Swedish netminder’s right pad. Fontaine picked up the loose puck and went stride-for-stride with Matt Coronato down the right side, crossing with his teammate from right to left and beating Williams to his glove side, winning the game for the Steel.
Following the two-game series split with Muskegon, Chicago returns to action on Dec. 6 at Fox Valley Ice Arena for Steel in Space Night against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, an evening of out-of-this-world family entertainment!
Chicago Steel Upcoming Games:
Friday, December 6 vs. Cedar Rapids RoughRiders 7:05 pm (Steel in Space)
Saturday, December 7 at Cedar Rapids RoughRiders 7:05 pm
Friday, December 13 vs. Tri-City Storm 7:05 pm (Superstition Night)
For more information and to purchase Steel tickets, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.