GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN — Chicago netminder and reigning USHL Goalie of the Week Victor Ostman made 32 saves as the Chicago Steel (29-7-1-0, 59 pts) held off the Green Bay Gamblers (18-15-2-3, 41 pts) 2-1 Friday night at Resch Center in Wisconsin.
Ostman pushed his season total to 19 victories between the Steel pipes, the most wins of any USHL goaltender.
After recording his second shutout of the season in his last appearance, a 4-0 win against Madison on Jan. 31, the Danderyd, Sweden, native was perfect through 56 minutes of action before a late Green Bay goal ended his shutout streak totaling 117:51.
The night began with the Gamblers giving Chicago a scare just 22 seconds into the contest as a turnover in the Steel defensive zone led to a chance for Green Bay’s Ryan O’Reilly. The forward unleashed a wrister that appeared to give the Gamblers an early 1-0 lead but the play was reviewed and the goal overturned.
O’Reilly’s shot was the closest either team came to reaching the scoreboard in the first period. The Gamblers outshot the Steel by a 16-7 margin in the first period but the momentum began to shift Chicago’s way in the middle frame.
Steel forward Erik Middendorf broke in all alone after a takeaway in the neutral zone with a golden chance to take the lead, but the door was shut by Green Bay netminder Nicholas Grabko as Middendorf tried to beat the netminder five-hole.
The first marker of the game came in the blink of an eye after a faceoff win in the Chicago offensive zone.
Brendan Brisson won the draw back to defenseman Ryan Ufko who fed the puck back to Brisson, turning from the high slot and firing to beat Grabko glove side. The goal pushed Brisson’s point total to 40 (19G, 21A), the fifth Steel skater to reach the plateau this season.
After being heavily outshot in the opening frame, the Steel tallied a 13-7 edge in the shots on goal department during the second, taking the 1-0 lead into the final frame.
Chicago extended its lead thanks to Jack Babbage, a goal that would prove to be the eventual game-winner. The defenseman joined the rush and capitalized on a one-time feed from Sean Farrell at the top of the right circle. The bar-down snipe was Babbage’s fifth goal of the season, adding to his career-best total.
After five-plus periods of shutout hockey, Ostman’s streak came to an end with just under four minutes remaining in the game.
With Green Bay on a shorthanded rush, Jarrett Lee picked up a rebound for the Gamblers and stuffed it past Ostman to cut the lead to 2-1.
Following the goal, Chicago locked down defensively to hold on for a 2-1 victory, its third consecutive win over Green Bay.
The win pushed the Steel record to 29-7-1-0 (59 pts), giving the club a chance to become the first USHL team to reach 30 wins during the 2019-20 campaign when Chicago wraps up the two-game set in Green Bay on Sat., Jan. 9.
The Steel will return to Fox Valley Ice Arena on Sun., Feb. 9 for Daddy Daughter Princess Day featuring an appearance by Belle! Sunday’s 3:05 puck drop is a Topgolf Family Pack game.
Chicago Steel Upcoming Games:
Sat., Feb. 8 at Green Bay Gamblers 7:05 pm
Sun., Feb. 9 vs. Muskegon Lumberjacks 3:05 pm (Daddy Daughter Princess Day featuring an appearance by Belle!, Topgolf Family Pack)
Fri., Feb. 14 at Des Moines Buccaneers 7:05 pm
For more information and to purchase Steel tickets, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.