DUBUQUE, IOWA — The Chicago Steel (11-2-2-0; 24 pts.) pushed the Dubuque Fighting Saints (5-11-0-0; 10 pts.) to overtime but could not reach the back of the net in the extra frame as the Fighting Saints came away with a 2-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at Mystique Community Ice Center in Iowa.
Matt Coronato, Erik Middendorf and Sean Farrell extended their lengthy point streaks when Coronato tied the game late in the third and Ian Shane made 22 saves through regulation and overtime between the Steel pipes.
It was the first time this season that Chicago, the highest-scoring team in the USHL, had been held to less than four goals in a contest.
The Sunday afternoon tilt began with a delay due to an equipment issue for Dubuque netminder Hobie Hedquist. Although he was scheduled to get the start, he didn’t appear in the game until halfway through the first period. Before the puck was dropped, Hedquists’s skate was in need of repair forcing Aidan McCarthy to take the crease.
The Fighting Saints were able to put the clamps down on the high-scoring Steel through the first 20 minutes of action. Chicago was only credited with five shots on net in the opening frame, tied for their lowest total in any period this season.
Primo Self reached the scoreboard for the first time in his USHL career, giving the Saints an early 1-0 edge. The first year forward took a feed from Riley Stuart along the right wing boards in the Dubuque offensive zone and was able to get a shot off before his angle ran out.
The Saints held Chicago off the scoreboard in the second period, though the Steel registered 11 shots on goal.
Not to be outdone, Steel netminder Ian Shane turned away all 12 shots he faced in the middle frame. Through the first 40 minutes of play, Shane made 19 stops on 20 shots faced.
Steel forward Matthew Gleason was inches away from getting the Steel on the board with a highlight-worthy individual effort as time ticked down in the second. The forward stickhandled his way through three Dubuque defenders on his way to the left side of the offensive zone. Falling to the ice, the Colorado College commit managed a shot on net that was barely covered by Hedquist in his crease.
The Steel went to the third chasing a goal in danger of being shut out for the first time this season.
Chicago went to the power play early in the final frame, its third opportunity with the man advantage.
Steel forward Sean Farrell barely missed on back-to-back chances as he put a shot off the side of the net then gathered the puck again, putting a shot off the crossbar on the same shift.
Dubuque withstood the minor penalty and was sent back to the penalty kill midway through the third when a five-minute major was called on Tristan Lemyre for boarding. The penalty gave Chicago another chance to add to its league lead in power play goals.
The Saints were equal to the task once again, holding the Steel power play unit scoreless in a game for just the second time this season.
Just as Dubuque was closing in on a shutout, the USHL’s leading scorer, Matt Coronato, flexed his offensive muscle.
Erik Middendorf and Sean Farrell combined on the right-wing boards to get the puck to Coronato who lasered a shot with one touch. With the goal, Coronato and Middendorf extended their point streaks to 15 games and Farrell pushed his current streak to 11 games. The trio of skaters own the top three spots in the USHL scoring race.
The game-tying goal sent the contest into overtime, but Chicago could not keep their momentum as Andrei Bujalski scored his first goal of the season on a rush to the net-front, winning the game and earning the extra point in the standings for the Fighting Saints.
The Steel continue a string of four straight road games with three games in as many days starting on Jan. 8 & 9 with matchups against Team USA (U17) followed by a Sunday afternoon contest against the Youngstown Phantoms on Jan. 10.
Chicago Steel Upcoming Games:
Friday, January 8 @ Team USA (U17) (6:00 pm CT)
Saturday, January 9 @ Team USA (U17) (6:00 pm CT)
Sunday, January 10 @ Youngstown Phantoms (3:05 pm CT)
For more information, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.