DUBUQUE, IOWA — The Chicago Steel (31-11-3-2; 67 pts.) became the first USHL team to secure a berth in the 2021 Clark Cup Playoffs with a 7-2 victory over the Dubuque Fighting Saints (19-20-3-1; 42 pts.) Saturday night at Mystique Community Ice Center in Iowa.
Chicago scored three goals in the middle frame, including two in the final minute of the period, to pull away from Dubuque and take a victory in the final regular season matchup between the two teams.
The USHL leader in points, Sean Farrell, added to his franchise record season total with two goals and a helper while the USHL goals leader, Matt Coronato, picked up a pair of markers. Steel forward Joe Miller tallied the first multi-goal game of his USHL career in the victory.
The Steel had their chances limited by Dubuque in the first but capitalized on the opportunities they did get, scoring twice on just three shots on goal in the opening frame.
Chicago forward Josh Doan made the play of the night just four minutes into the game as he picked up a forced turnover in the Steel offensive zone, drawing a tripping penalty as he fell to the ice but keeping control of the puck. Sliding on his backside, Doan fed the puck to Farrell on the right side of the crease as Farrell backhanded home the first goal of the night.
The Fighting Saints evened the score with a beautiful display of puck movement from Evan Stella and P.J. Fletcher. The pair navigated through the Steel defense with a give-and-go, finished off by Stella for his third goal of the season.
Coronato took the lead back for Chicago late in the first and the Steel never looked back.
The Harvard University-bound forward fired a wrist shot past Fighting Saints netminder Lukas Parik for his first of the night after setup from Colton Huard.
Before Coronato added his second marker of the night, Steel forward Joe Miller notched his sixth goal of the year. Dawson Pasternak picked off a pass deep in the Steel offensive zone, finding Miller on the right side doorstep. Miller one-touched the puck into the empty crease to extend the lead to 3-1.
Coronato and Doan teamed up to stun the Dubuque crowd in the final minute of the second period.
With 55 seconds left on a Steel power play, goaltender Simon Latkoczy came out to the faceoff dot in the left circle to play a puck to Farrell. Farrell found his future Harvard teammate Coronato for the game’s only power play tally.
Just 40 seconds later, Doan powered his way to the front of the net on an offensive rush, sliding the puck beneath Parik, the final shot of the night faced by Parik before being replaced by Hobie Hedquist to start the third period.
The Steel withstood a barrage of chances from the Fighting Saints in the final frame as Latkoczy made 12 saves out of 13 shots faced, only surrendering a goal to Ian Pierce with just under five minutes to play in the game.
Miller and Farrell tacked on the final goals of the night to secure the 7-2 final score.
Latkoczy totaled 28 saves in the win, improving his record to 8-2-0-2 between the Steel pipes this season.
With the win the Steel finish the 2020-2021 regular season series against Dubuque holding a 5-2-1-0 record in eight matchups.
The Steel return to Fox Valley Ice Arena for a three-game homestand against the Youngstown Phantoms on April 9-11, highlighted by Military Appreciation night with a special jersey auction to benefit Wounded Warrior Project, presented by McCue Chevy on Saturday, April 10 with a 7:05 pm CT puck drop.
Tickets for all remaining regular season home game are on sale now by calling 855-51-STEEL, visiting ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com or at the Steel Box Office open at 10 a.m. on the day of each home game.
Chicago Steel Upcoming Games presented by Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush:
Friday, April 9 vs. Youngstown Phantoms (7:05 pm CT) presented by McCue Chevy
Saturday, April 10 vs. Youngstown Phantoms (7:05 pm CT) Military Appreciation Night with special jersey auction to benefit Wounded Warrior Project, presented by McCue Chevy
Sunday, April 11 vs. Youngstown Phantoms (7:05 pm CT) presented by McCue Chevy
For more information, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.