GENEVA, ILLINOIS — The Steel put together a complete game as Chicago (21-4-1-0, 43 pts) took down the Youngstown Phantoms (11-12-4-0, 26 pts) by a 7-1 score in the second half of a back-to-back set. The top-scoring team in the USHL, the Steel amassed a total of 16 goals in the two contests while matching the longest winning streak of the season to date.
After finishing November with the best monthly record in team history, the Steel completed a perfect 6-0-0-0 December with the Sunday afternoon victory.
The Steel enjoyed goals from six different skaters and netminder Victor Ostman turned away 19 shots. Ostman allowed just one goal for the fifth time this season and pushed his record to 14-3-0-0 on the year.
Youngstown looked to put a stop to its five-game skid, taking the lead early in the contest. Jacob Felker let go a wrister from the right circle, beating Ostman and putting the Phantoms in front 1-0. Youngstown couldn’t solve the Swedish goaltender the rest of the afternoon.
The visitors’ lead was short-lived as it was all Steel from that point on. Chicago Defenseman Uula Ruikka evened the score for his club just 40 seconds later.
After drop passes from Matty De St. Phalle and Brendan Brisson, Ruikka picked up the puck above the left circle and picked the high blocker side on Phantom netminder Colin Purcell. With the goal, Ruikka matched his season total from the 2018-19 campaign with four markers this year.
The home squad broke the 1-1 deadlock with a pair of nice passing plays, starting with Sam Colangelo and Owen Power. Colangelo found Power on the right side of the crease, then streaked to the goal where he got the puck back and finished with a tap-in tally.
To close out the scoring in the opening frame, Gunnarwolfe Fontaine was the recipient of a feed from Colangelo as the pair broke in on an odd-man rush. Colangelo took the right side as Fontaine took the left and tucked home his first of the night to make it 3-1 Steel.
Fontaine and Colangelo are both committed to Northeastern University and have been teammates with each other prior to joining the Steel. Fontaine noted the chemistry between the two forwards.
“We’ve been playing with each other for the last three years now,” said Fontaine. “Over the summer, we play with each other in tournaments and we’re really good friends. It just seems like we know where each other is on the ice at all times.”
After a scoreless start to the middle frame, the Steel broke the game open with three goals in just over two minutes. After a diving shot attempt from Matty De St. Phalle, Brendan Brisson picked up the rebound and tapped in his fourth marker in the last two games.
Shortly after, Fontaine rocketed home a shot, beating Purcell to his blocker side and pushing the Steel edge to 5-1. With his second tally of the game, the East Greenwich, R.I., native charted his ninth multi-point outing this season.
Less than a minute later, Grinnell, Iowa, native John Jaworski fought to the front of the net to clean up a rebound on a shot from Tyler Carpenter. Jaworski netted his first USHL goal to push the Steel lead to 6-1.
“It was an awesome feeling,” said Jaworski. “Carp shot it, it went double posts and out and just landed there. It was kind of a mad scramble until I saw it cross the goal line.”
Erik Middendorf capped the Chicago scoring when he ripped home a wrister from just above the left circle. Since his first game for the Steel on Nov. 16, Middendorf has notched 11 points (5G, 6A) in 12 contests.
Head Coach Brock Sheahan was looking for a better defensive performance than he saw in Saturday night’s 9-5 win and enjoyed what he watched on Sunday.
“We were much improved,” said Sheahan. “I think we played more to our style of play in general. We had the puck a lot but when we didn’t, we had really good structure. Our guys worked without it to get it back and when we do that, I think we’re a really good team.”
Following the two-game sweep of the Phantoms, Chicago takes to the road for the inaugural Frosty Cup in Texas.
The Steel will play a pair of games against the Green Bay Gamblers at neutral sites. Thurs., Jan. 2 will be a 7:30 pm CT puck drop from Comerica Center in Frisco, Tex., and Fri., Jan. 3 is a 5:00 pm CT puck drop from the Cotton Bowl, the site of the 2020 NHL Winter Classic between the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars.
The club returns to home ice for Superheroes Night on Fri., Jan. 10 against the Dubuque Fighting Saints. The contest is a Raising Cane’s Kids Day, a special $10 ticket deal for kids ages 12 and under.
Chicago Steel Upcoming Games:
Thurs., Jan. 2 at Green Bay Gamblers (Dallas, TX) 7:30 pm
Fri., Jan. 3 vs. Green Bay Gamblers (Dallas, TX) 5:00 pm
Fri., Jan. 10 vs. Dubuque Fighting Saints 7:05 pm (Superheroes Night, Raising Cane’s Kids Day)
For more information and to purchase Steel tickets, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.