PLYMOUTH, MICHIGAN — In his first game since Jan. 8, Mackie Samoskevich tallied the most important goal of the game for the Chicago Steel (23-8-2-0; 48 pts.) in a 4-3 overtime win against Team USA (U17) (14-10-3-1; 32 pts.) on Sunday night at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich.
Samoskevich celebrated his return to the lineup following an injury with the game-winning goal with less than a minute remaining in overtime.
Steel netminder Jack Stark stopped 27 shots from Team USA, just one save shy of his season high. The Yale University commit improved his record to a perfect 6-0-0-0 between the Steel pipes.
Josh Doan picked up a goal and a helper while Matt Coronato and Erik Middendorf each tallied a marker in the win.
Neither club could break through with a goal in the opening frame due to impressive goaltending from both Stark and Team USA netminder Cameron Korpi.
Among Stark’s 12 fantastic saves in the first period were two that came on a rush by Team USA forwards Ryan Chesley and Isaac Howard. After Chesley was turned away on a breakaway by Stark, Howard pounced on a rebound chance that was soaked up by the Steel netminder.
As the second period started, the Steel offense came alive in a whirlwind middle frame.
Sean Farrell chased down a faceoff initially won by Team USA in the Steel offensive zone and was able to get a stick on a deflected puck below the right circle. Josh Doan gathered the puck in the slot and was able to flip a backhand shot through netminder Cameron Korpi for the night’s first goal.
Coronato drew a holding penalty on Charlie Stramel early in the middle frame and cashed in on the opportunity he created.
As Coronato worked a give-and-go play with Farrell, the future Harvard University teammates connected. Farrell dished a pass to Coronato who unleashed a wicked wrist shot past Korpi to extend the Chicago cushion to two goals.
Team USA was able to reel the Steel back in when Frank Nazar III notched his 10th marker of the year.
Before Team USA could take advantage of the momentum change, Steel forward Dawson Pasternak initiated a scoring play to push the Chicago cushion back to two goals. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native extended his point streak to 10 games when he sent a silky pass from the right point to the front of the net where Steel captain Erik Middendorf tipped home his 23rd goal of the year.
The Steel lead stood at 3-1 when Cooley tallied his first goal of the night just short of the halfway point in the third. After a Steel turnover behind the net, Howard collected the puck and immediately found Cooley streaking down the slot to cut the deficit to one goal.
Cooley pulled his team to a tie score with a fantastic individual effort late in the game. As time wound down on the final Team USA power play of the night, Cooley took a puck coast-to-coast down the right hand side, making a power move to the net and flipping a backhander past Stark with three minutes to play.
Opportunities were at a premium in overtime until Samoskevich took control of the buck along the left half boards, walked in and launched a wrist shot through Korpi’s top shelf on the near side, ending the weekend with a win for the Steel.
Chicago earned four of a possible six points in the three game weekend stretch against Team USA (U18), the Youngstown Phantoms and Team USA (U17).
Chicago travels to Iowa for a matchup against the Des Moines Buccaneers on Friday, Feb. 26 before heading to Waterloo for a Saturday night clash with the Black Hawks at 6:05 pm CT on Feb. 27 as it continues its stretch of eight straight road games.
Chicago Steel Upcoming Games presented by Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush:
Friday, February 26 at Des Moines Buccaneers (7:00 pm CT)
Saturday, February 27 at Waterloo Black Hawks (6:05 pm CT)
Friday, March 5 at Muskegon Lumberjacks (6:00 pm CT)
For more information, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.