FRISCO, TEXAS — In the first game of the 2020 USHL Frosty Cup, the Chicago Steel (22-4-1-0, 45 pts) defeated the Green Bay Gamblers (12-12-1-3, 28 pts) by a 7-1 margin at Comerica Center in Frisco, Texas.
Defenseman Ryan Ufko set the defensive-minded tone for Chicago off the opening draw as he leveled Green Bay forward Nicholas Zabaneh who tried to enter the Gambler offensive zone.
Both clubs’ goaltenders withstood early chances as the game began but they could not hold the scoreless tie.
Noah Ganske was the first to light the lamp for Green Bay as he gathered the puck, coming down the right side to let go of a shot that changed direction and fluttered past Chicago netminder Victor Ostman. The deflected shot was the only blemish on Ostman’s evening as the Swedish netminder made 35 saves by the night’s end, his best single-game performance of the season.
Owen Power made sure the Gambler lead was short-lived when Mackie Samoskevich found the streaking defenseman all alone coming down the slot less than a minute after Green Bay took the lead. Power waited, then picked his spot high on the glove side of Gambler goaltender Nicholas Grabko, popping the water bottle as he tucked home his eighth goal of the season.
The momentum continued for the Steel as another blueliner jumped in on the goal-scoring fun. John Spetz caught a pass from Matty De St. Phalle and went forehand-backhand-forehand with an extremely patient move to put the Steel up 2-1, the first of two Spetz markers on the night.
With assists on the first two Chicago goals, De St. Phalle moved into a tie for 10th all-time on the franchise assist list with 55 helpers in a Steel sweater.
Chicago came out for the middle frame looking to put more distance between themselves and Green Bay and did just that.
After Ostman kept the Steel lead at 2-1 with a save on a rebound attempt, a pair of rookies extended Chicago’s edge in the second period.
Brendan Brisson tallied a power play goal from his favorite spot, the right circle, giving him nine markers on the man advantage this season and extending his points lead among rookies this year with 14 markers and 15 helpers.
After Tyler Carpenter and Erik Middendorf powered the puck to the Green Bay crease late in the period, Matt Coronato jumped on a loose puck, tucking home the fourth Chicago goal on the night and sending the teams to a 4-1 Steel margin at the end of the middle frame.
Coronato wasn’t finished as the Chicago shorthanded unit took the ice almost halfway through the final frame. The Harvard-bound forward picked off a pass in the Chicago defensive zone and flew through the neutral zone joined by Gunnarwolfe Fontaine. The duo shared the puck on a 2-on-0 rush as Fontaine assisted Coronato’s ninth goal of the year.
A penalty shot from Mackie Samoskevich’s backhand found the top shelf to extend the lead to 6-1 and Spetz closed the night’s scoring with a beautiful backhand-forehand move, sealing the 7-1 decision.
The Steel win pushed their current win streak to eight games as the club has now won 15 of their last 16 outings. Since taking over as Head Coach, Brock Sheahan has posted a perfect 7-0-0-0 mark.
Chicago and Green Bay head outdoors to the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Tex., for a 5:00 pm puck drop on Friday, the HockeyTV FREE Game of the Week.
The Steel return 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:
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)
Sat., Jan. 11 at Dubuque Fighting Saints 7:05 pm
For more information and to purchase Steel tickets, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.