GENEVA, ILLINOIS — The Chicago Steel (1-1-0-0, 2 pts.) captured their first victory while handing the Green Bay Gamblers (3-1-0-0, 6 pts.) their first defeat of the 2020-2021 season with a 7-3 win at Fox Valley Ice Arena on Friday night.
Visions of déjà vu from Nov. 14’s season-opening offensive shootout against the Muskegon Lumberjacks flashed for a moment before Chicago took charge of the contest with a stretch of six consecutive goals.
The Gamblers jumped in front early on a power play when Camden Theising registered the first of his two goals on the night. The Franklin, Tenn., native poked home a puck after a scramble in front of the Steel net to take a 1-0 lead.
Rookie forward Matthew Gleason made his season debut on Friday and tallied the first goal of the contest for the home team. The St. Paul, Minn., native won a board battle and fed the puck to Jackson Blake who hovered near the goal line, feeding Gleason for the game-tying goal.
The Steel jumped in front when Erik Middendorf tapped home another battle in front of the crease, this time outside the Gamblers cage. Matt Coronato carried the puck from the left-wing boards to the front of the net where Middendorf picked up the loose rebound for his second goal of the season.
Chicago didn’t look back after it claimed the lead, controlling the rest of the contest after a hectic start to the game.
Coronato notched a goal of his own with just under two minutes left in the opening frame. A Middendorf shot from the point bounced off Gamblers netminder Matthew Davis and Coronato pounced on the rebound, wrapping it behind the right pad.
Defenseman Jack Babbage set the tone for a three-goal second when Mackie Samoskevich found him on the back door just 50 seconds into the period. Babbage has two goals through two games after netting a career-best five markers last season.
With the offense heating up, Steel netminder Ian Shane held his net to keep the lead at a comfortable distance throughout the night. The Manhattan Beach, Calif., native came up clutch when Jake Schmaltz charged in shorthanded, only to be turned away by a stick save from Shane, one of 25 stops in earning the win in net.
Steel rookie forward Jackson Blake scored a goal for the second time in as many games when Adam Robbins picked off an errant Gamblers pass in the Steel offensive zone. The turnover flipped to an abbreviated 2-on-1 rush with Robbins feeding Blake to extend the advantage to 5-1.
Coronato wasn’t done as the Harvard University commit added a second goal and now shares the league lead with seven points (4G, 3A) through two games. A lightning-quick move from the left-wing boards to the slot opened up a window that Coronato found for a sixth straight Steel goal.
Green Bay was able to stop the momentum when Camden Theising pressured hard on a forecheck, forcing a Chicago turnover that ended up at his feet. The Ohio State Univeristy commit was able to kick the puck to his stick and lift it past Shane for his second goal of the night.
A late comeback attempt was snuffed out by Steel forward Sean Farrell as he netted his third goal of the season. Gambler goaltender Aaron Randazzo, who came on in relief of Davis, played a puck that came across the crease right to Steel defenseman Anthony Dowd. Dowd flipped an assist to Farrell waiting on the other side of the cage to make it a 7-2 game.
Green Bay got a late goal from Kyler Grundy, capping the scoring.
Chicago will travel to Wisconsin for its next two contests, both at Resch Center, on Saturday, Nov. 21 and Wednesday, Nov. 25. Both games are slated for 7:05 pm CT puck drops.
Chicago Steel Upcoming Games:
Saturday, November 21 @ Green Bay Gamblers (7:05 pm CT)
Wednesday, November 25 @ Green Bay Gamblers (7:05 pm CT)
Friday, November 27 vs. Team USA (U17) (7:05 pm CT)
For more information, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.