PLYMOUTH, MICHIGAN — For the first time since Nov. 25, 2020, the Chicago Steel (11-3-2-0; 24 pts.) lost a game in regulation as they fell 6-4 against Team USA (6-5-1-1; 13 pts.) at USA Hockey Arena on Friday night.
Chicago Steel forward Matt Coronato scored a historic goal late in the first period, his 15th marker of the year. Dating back to the 2019-2020 season, Coronato now has a 25-game point streak spanning two seasons which matches the all-time USHL overall point streak record. The Huntington, N.Y., native leads the league with 34 points (15G, 19A) in 16 games this season.
Team USA scored three of the last four goals in a back-and-forth affair to put a stop to the Chicago point streak at 11 games.
Devin Kaplan led Team USA with two goals and two helpers while Marek Hejduk added a marker and an assist. Team USA netminder Dylan Silverstein made 11 stops before leaving the game due to injury. Tyler Muszelik turned away 18 Steel shots in relief to earn the win.
The seesaw scoring battle began with Team USA. They kicked off the scoring with a goal from Logan Cooley after a gorgeous passing play from Lane Hutson and Cruz Lucius to beat Steel netminder Nick Haas. Lucius gained the offensive zone on the left side as the puck worked left to right from Lucius to Hutson to Cooley who finished off his third marker of the season.
Steel forward Adam Fantilli got to a greasy area to tie the game with his second goal of his rookie season. After a faceoff in the offensive zone, Fantilli pressured the puck behind the USA end line. The puck popped over the net to Josh Doan who tried to get a shot on net. Fantilli, parked in front of the net, was there to finish off the play that he started with defensive pressure.
Seamus Casey, celebrating his birthday on Friday night, celebrated in style with a goal to take the lead late in the first for Team USA.
Coronato made history with just under two minutes to go in the first. The Harvard-bound forward followed up a rush from Jack Harvey and buried a goal to tie the game at 2-2.
Less than a minute after Coronato’s marker, Steel defenseman Colton Huard ripped home his second goal of the season as Josh Doan found the blueliner cutting to the net and fed a perfect cross-ice pass. Huard’s second goal of the season gave Chicago a 4-3 lead heading into the first intermission.
The middle frame was a game within the game as it had multiple momentum changes by the end of the period.
The one-goal Steel lead evaporated in a blink with two goals form Team USA in a 35-second span. Marek Hejduk cleaned up his own wrap-around attempt before Charlie Stramel tucked home a loose puck shortly after to claim a 4-3 lead for the home team.
Chicago fought back with a goal from Josh Doan as he picked up his third point of the night. Doan and Sean Farrell won the puck after forechecking with heavy pressure in the Chicago offensive zone. Farrell found Doan on the doorstep as the Steel pulled even again, this time a 4-4 score.
Team USA defenseman Ryan Chesley found an opening on the left side of the Steel net before the end of the second period. Chesley fired a wrist shot from the point, a shot that Haas never saw, as the Americans took the lead late in the second.
The decisive third period began with Team USA’s difference maker in the game. Devin Kaplan went coast-to-coast early in the final frame, gaining the offensive zone and carrying the puck around the right side of the Steel net, finishing a wrap-around to take the game’s first two-goal lead for his team.
Despite Chicago outshooting Team USA by an 11-9 margin in the third, the Steel couldn’t break through until after Head Coach Brock Sheahan used his team’s timeout with 2:22 remaining in regulation.
With an extra attacker, Steel forward Jackson Blake hammered a shot on net that was turned away by Muszelik. The puck trickled out to Ryan Ufko who managed to stay out of the net-front scramble. A forehand shot from Ufko squeezed its way through the paint and to the back of the net, cutting the Chicago deficit to one goal with just over two minutes to play.
A comeback attempt was snuffed out by Kaplan as the Team USA forward tallied his fourth point of the game with an empty-net goal to seal the win for Team USA.
Each team tallied 34 shots on net and Team USA took the only penalty of the game. Chicago was not able to capitalize on its only chance with the man advantage.
Nick Haas turned away 27 shots in his first loss of the season. The Buffalo, N.Y. native now has a 6-1-0-0 record this season.
The Steel and Team USA rematch on Saturday night at 6:00 pm CT at USA Hockey Arena before traveling to Ohio for a Sunday afternoon matchup against the Youngstown Phantoms at Covelli Centre.
Chicago returns home after the three-game weekend to face two Western Conference opponents. The games on Friday, Jan. 15 against the Des Moines Buccaneers and Saturday, Jan. 16 versus the Waterloo Black Hawks are both scheduled for 7:05 pm CT, presented by Waubonsee Community College.
Chicago Steel Upcoming Games presented by Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush:
Saturday, January 9 @ Team USA (U17) (6:00 pm CT)
Sunday, January 10 @ Youngstown Phantoms (3:05 pm CT)
Friday, January 15 vs Des Moines Buccaneers (7:05 pm CT) presented by Waubonsee Community College
For more information, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.