GENEVA, ILLINOIS — The Chicago Steel staved off elimination with a 2-0 shutout win over the Madison Capitols in Game 2 of the best-of-three Eastern Conference Semifinals Monday at Fox Valley Ice Arena behind rookie netminder Christian Manz’ first career shutout.
Chicago’s effort was relentless in a full 60-minute performance to even the series 1-1 with the deciding Game 3 scheduled for Tuesday, May 3 at Fox Valley Ice Arena.
Sam Lipkin and Joe Miller scored for the Steel to seal the victory on home ice, each skater’s first marker of the 2022 Clark Cup Playoffs.
The Capitols got the game’s first power play early in the first but couldn’t take advantage. With the Steel limiting Madison’s chances to the perimeter, the score stayed 0-0.
Just past the midway point of the first frame, Chicago drew iron twice on the power play.
After a one-touch pass from Adam Fantilli in the right circle, Joe Miller got a shot away from the slot that found its way to the left post, hitting the inside and trickling across the goal line but not in.
Moments later, Jayden Perron slowly gained ground from the left side of the offensive zone and flipped a high shot past Capitols netminder Simon Latkoczy that ricocheted off the crossbar and stayed out.
After Chicago was held off the scoreboard for three power plays to start the series, Sam Lipkin finally broke through for the first marker of Game 2.
As Lipkin drifted to the left post and lost his defender, Adam Fantilli wired a shot that was stopped by Latkoczy but trickled to the feet of Lipkin who poked it home for a 1-0 lead.
Just three minutes later, the Steel pounced on another rebound to double the lead. Jayden Perron, while tangled up with a Capitols defender, was able to put a shot on net that was kicked away by Latkoczy. As the puck dribbled to the right post, Joe Miller followed, corralled, and slid the puck behind Latkoczy to put the Steel up 2-0 just short of halfway through the second.
The Steel defense put on a display to end the middle frame, starting with a blocked shot by forward Dylan Robbins that echoed around the arena on a Madison shot from the point, his second impactful block of the game.
With seven minutes to play in the period, Manz settled in to turn away a sequence of three solid scoring chances for Madison.
The trio of stops was highlighted by Manz soaking up a wrister from Capitols defenseman Blake Dangos as he skated right and shot left.
Madison went back on a power play late in the second and Manz fought off a high shot from Ben Dexheimer before Chicago cleared the zone to end the period.
Entering the third, Chicago continued to clamp down on defense. Even though the Steel tallied just four shots on goal in the third, the team held Madison to six shots on goal that were all handled by Manz.
Madison earned a late power play and while on a 6-on-4 advantage with the goalie pulled, a point shot from the Capitols went off a Steel stick with 12 seconds to play. The Steel won the ensuing faceoff and cleared the zone to run out the rest of the clock and earn the series-tying victory.
The deciding Game 3 will be played on Tuesday, May 3 at 7:05 pm CT at Fox Valley Ice Arena.
Playoff tickets are available starting at just $10. All Steel fans in attendance Tuesday will receive a rally towel courtesy of River Front Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram.
Fans can purchase tickets by calling 855-51-STEEL, visiting ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com or stopping by the Steel box office located inside Fox Valley Ice Arena during normal business hours.
For more information, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.
Eastern Conference Semifinals (best-of-three series) vs. #5 Madison Capitols
Game 1: Madison Capitols 4, Chicago Steel 2 – Bob Suter’s Capitol Ice Arena
Game 2: Chicago Steel 2, Madison Capitols 0 – Fox Valley Ice Arena
Game 3: Tuesday, May 3, 7:05 p.m. – Fox Valley Ice Arena (if necessary)