URBANDALE, IOWA — In a Valentine’s Day showdown that demonstrated very little love between two non-conference opponents, the Chicago Steel (32-7-1-0, 65 pts) defeated the Des Moines Buccaneers (19-20-1-2, 41 pts) by a 4-2 score on Friday night at Buccaneer Arena in Iowa. The clubs combined for 60 penalty minutes as the Steel got their first win against the Bucs since March 25, 2017.
Aside from a Michael Mancinelli power-play goal for Des Moines two minutes into the game, the Steel controlled the opening frame, putting 17 shots on goal in the first period compared to just seven from the Buccaneers. Chicago totaled 33 shots on goal through the first two periods and outshot Des Moines 42-33 by the end of the night.
With a plethora of chances but nothing yet to show for it on the scoreboard, Chicago was able to solve Des Moines netminder Cameron Rowe for the first time with five minutes left in the first.
Mackie Samoskevich found fellow rookie Brendan Brisson, threading the needle between two Buccaneer defenders to find his teammate on the back doorstep as Brisson tucked home his 22nd goal of the season to even the game at one goal apiece. Brisson extended his current goal streak to four consecutive games with the first-period marker.
Neither team was able to crack the scoreboard in the middle frame until a pair of Steel skaters netted markers halfway through the period.
After a mad scramble in front of the Chicago crease, a puck bounced off Steel netminder Ian Shane’s right post. Forward Matty De St. Phalle picked up the puck and fed an outlet pass to Gunnarwolfe Fontaine who streaked coast-to-coast, snapping a wrister by Rowe’s glove side to take a 2-1 edge.
Less than a minute after Chicago jumped in front, the Steel doubled their lead.
A beautiful pass from Elis Hede found Matt Coronato exiting the Chicago defensive zone, as Coronato picked up speed to gain the line at the other end. Before Coronato could reach Rowe, the forward turned and left a behind-the-back drop pass for Erik Middendorf who tapped home his 10th of the year.
After the Steel stretched the lead, the physicality picked up. Coronato and John Driscoll got tangled up with Driscoll earning a double minor for roughing.
With just under four minutes to go in the second, Buccaneer defenseman Frederick Paine collided with Steel blueliner Jimmy Dowd Jr., sending Dowd into the end board head-first. Sam Colangelo grabbed Paine and the pair dropped the gloves before being escorted off the ice for the remainder of the middle frame.
The Bucs had a chance to cut into the lead just before the horn but Kristoff Papp was turned away by a sliding Shane who trapped the puck beneath him going from left to right in the crease.
Shane kept the game at 3-1 in favor of the Steel as the teams began the third and final period of action between the two clubs for the regular season.
With heavy pressure on the forecheck from Brisson and Dawson Pasternak, it was the Grinnell, Iowa, native, John Jaworski, who tallied his second goal of the season off a Des Moines turnover. The forward flipped a wrister past Rowe’s glove side to push the Steel lead to 4-1.
The Buccaneers pulled the contest to a two-goal deficit with a power-play goal from Kristoff Papp with just three minutes gone in the third but could not keep the momentum.
Shane turned away 13 shots in the final 20 minutes, including a final sequence of 6-on-4 action with an empty net on the Buccaneer end of the ice and a man advantage for the home team. In the wining effort, the Manhattan Beach, Calif., native made 31 saves to earn his 12th win of the year.
With the 4-2 victory, the Steel have reeled off four straight wins and are now 14-2-0-0 on the road this season.
Following the one-game trip, the USA Hockey National Team Development Program comes to Fox Valley Ice Arena on Sat., Feb. 15 for Chicago Blackhawks Night featuring appearances by Stanley Cup Champion Bryan Bickell and Tommy Hawk, and Sun., Feb. 16 for LEGOLAND Day presented by LEGOLAND Schaumburg and a Topgolf Family Pack game.
Chicago Steel Upcoming Games:
Sat., Feb. 15 vs. Team USA (U17) 7:05 pm (Chicago Blackhawks Night featuring Stanley Cup Champion Bryan Bickell and Tommy Hawk)
Sun., Feb. 16 vs. Team USA (U17) 3:05 pm (LEGOLAND Day presented by LEGOLAND Schaumburg, Topgolf Family Pack)
Sat., Feb. 22 at Waterloo Black Hawks 7:05 pm
For more information and to purchase Steel tickets, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.