GENEVA, ILLINOIS — For just the fourth time this season, the Chicago Steel (20-6-6-0; 46 pts.) fell on home ice in a 3-1 loss against the Youngstown Phantoms Saturday night at Fox Valley Ice Arena. The Steel are now 11-3-1-0 on home ice during the 2021-2022 season.
All four goals were scored in the third period as Youngstown netminder Kyle Chauvette made 23 saves and Steel goaltender Gibson Homer made 21 stops in the loss.
Youngstown goals from Stiven Sardarian and Jaden Grant put the Phantoms ahead in the third before an empty net goal from Trey Taylor sealed the road victory.
Steel defenseman Lukas Gustafsson netted the lone goal for Chicago and now ranks fourth among league blueliners in goals with seven this season.
Both teams struggled to find the back of the net to start the game as the clubs combined for just 11 shots on goal in the opening frame. Phantoms netminder Kyle Chauvette made five saves in the frame including a redirected shot by Nick Moldenhauer which was Chicago’s best chance of the period.
The middle frame belonged to Steel goaltender Gibson Homer who turned away all 11 shots he faced. The Grand Rapids, Mich., native anchored the only shorthanded stretch of the game for Chicago to open the second period, shutting the door on Youngstown’s leading scorer, Adam Ingram, to keep the game scoreless.
A takeaway by Youngstown in the Steel defensive zone led to a marker just over a minute into the third period from Buffalo Sabres prospect Stiven Sardarian, giving Youngstown a 1-0 advantage.
Homer kept the game within reach with a breakaway save on Youngstown forward Kyle Bettens with just over 12 minutes remaining in regulation. With speed, Bettens powered his way from the left wing to the front of the net as Homer soaked up the puck below his pads.
Youngstown doubled the lead to 2-0 just past the halfway point of the final frame when a blueline wrist shot from defenseman Trey Taylor redirected in front of Homer with no chance for the Steel goaltender, careening off the stick blade of Phantoms captain Jaden Grant with 9:20 left to play.
Steel defenseman Chris Able drew a penalty in the Steel defensive zone setting up a chance on the man-advantage just over a minute later, giving Chicago a chance to make up ground.
Forward Jack Harvey possessed the puck on the doorstep of the crease and found defenseman Lukas Gustafsson streaking to the net. Gustafsson tapped it by Chauvette to cut the lead to 2-1.
With an assist on the power play goal, Jackson Blake became the first player in the USHL this season to reach the 50-point plateau with 18 goals and 32 helpers over 32 games.
The Steel earned another power play with just over five minutes remaining in regulation, aiming to tie the game with their league-leading power play unit. Despite two minutes of power play time and just over a minute later on with an extra attacker after Chicago pulled Homer from the net, the Steel could not solve Chauvette to even the score.
Trey Taylor sealed the win for Youngstown with an empty net goal, finishing the game with a 3-1 score in favor of the Phantoms.
Chicago returns to action with a home game on Friday, Jan. 21 against the Green Bay Gamblers. For one night, the Steel will become the Chicago Ice Sharks, a nod to the Fargo-Moorhead Ice Sharks who played from 1996-2000 before moving to Chicago in 2000 to become the Chicago Steel. The team will wear special Ice Sharks jerseys, presented by FONA International, that will be available for auction online from Thursday, Jan. 20 through Thursday, Jan. 27 with proceeds benefitting the Geneva Academic Foundation.
Tickets start at just $10 and are available in person at the Steel Box Office at Fox Valley Ice Arena, by phone at 855-51-STEEL and online at chicagosteelhockeyteam.com. The Steel now offer single-game ticket discounts for kids 12 and under and military.
For more information, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.
Chicago Steel Upcoming Home Games presented by Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush:
Friday, January 21 vs. Green Bay Gamblers (7:05 pm CT) Special Jersey Auction for Geneva Academic Foundation presented by FONA International
Saturday, February 5 vs. Tri-City Storm (7:05 pm CT) Wiener Dog Races
Sunday, February 6 vs. Tri-City Storm (3:05 pm CT) Rusty’s Birthday | Steel Family Pack Game