GENEVA, ILLINOIS — Reggie Lutz capped off a three-point night Friday by tallying the game-winning goal late in the third period as the Chicago Steel (14-3-1-1, 30 pts.) picked up a 5-4 victory in a see-saw battle against the Lincoln Stars (8-9-2-0, 18 pts.) at Fox Valley Ice Arena. Walker Duehr (1+1) extended his point streak to three games, as he and Graham Lillibridge (0+2) each tallied two-point nights for the Steel. With the win, Chicago improves to 9-0-0-1 on home ice.
The Steel failed to show any signs of leftover tryptophan from Thanksgiving turkey indulgence, as Chicago immediately opened up the scoring just 23 seconds into the game. Lutz connected a pass from behind the net to Walker Duehr, who continued his hot streak by slapping a quick shot past the blocker of Lincoln netminder Josef Korenar.
The Steel spent a large portion of the first period on the penalty kill, including a five-minute major against Johnny Walker for boarding. The Stars capitalized at the 7:54 mark; Lincoln newcomer Sam Sternschein backhanded a shot from the low slot past Chicago’s Ales Stezka. The score remained tied, 1-1, at the first intermission, with Lincoln over-doubling the Steel in shots, 14-6.
Lincoln gained the lead 4:09 into the second period with a power play goal scored off a rebound by Christian Evers, who beat Stezka over the glove. However, the lead would only last for a couple minutes before Austen Long tied the game for Chicago, tallying his first goal of the season with a quick release over Korenar’s glove.
Just 66 seconds later, the Steel struck again. Defenseman Corson Green bounced a shot off the end wall to Lutz at the top of the crease. Lutz buried home his first goal of the night to give Chicago a 3-2 lead.
The Stars responded in the final minute of the second period. Lincoln’s Henry Bowlby sent the game to a 3-3 tie with a backhanded swat from the top of the crease. Chicago outshot Lincoln, 10-9, in the middle frame.
The back-and-forth frenzy continued in the third period. Steel captain Marc Johnstone notched a go-ahead goal at 5:30, lighting the lamp for a second time in as many games. Then, about six minutes later, former Chicago winger Jake Nielsen forced a turnover at the Lincoln blue line, rushed ahead on a 2-on-1 break, and set up Casey Domback for a Stars goal, as the game became tied for a fourth time.
The high-scoring affair would see its final goal with 4:24 remaining in regulation when Chicago picked up its first power play tally in four games and 17 combined attempts. Lutz redirected Lillibridge’s point shot past Lincoln’s Cayden Primeau, who replaced Korenar in net following an apparent injury suffered in the second period. It was Lutz’s third game-winning goal of the season, tying Duehr for the team lead, and sending the game to a 5-4 final.
Lutz climbed to the top of Chicago’s points lead, as the Minnesota State University, Mankato commit now has 17 (8+9) points on the season. Stezka made 30 saves, improving his home record to 5-0-0-1. The Steel were outshot in the game, 34-22. Chicago improved to 3-0-0-1 on the season against Western Conference foes.
The Steel wrap up a three-in-four week with a home game Saturday, Nov. 26 against Dubuque. Face off against the Fighting Saints is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Fox Valley Ice Arena. Saturday’s game features a full-team post-game autograph session. For tickets or more information, call 855-51-STEEL, stop by the Box Office or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.
Lincoln Stars 4 at Chicago Steel 5 - Status: Final
Friday, November 25, 2016 - Fox Valley Ice Arena
Lincoln 1 2 1 - 4
Chicago 1 2 2 - 5
1st Period-1, Chicago, Duehr 10 (Lutz), 0:23. 2, Lincoln, Sternschein 3 (Teravainen, Evers), 7:54 (PP). Penalties-Walker Chi (major-boarding, game misconduct-boarding), 3:04; Johnstone Chi (interference), 14:32; Westlund Lin (kneeing), 19:14.
2nd Period-3, Lincoln, Evers 2 4:09 (PP). 4, Chicago, Long 1 (Kiersted, Gratton), 6:20. 5, Chicago, Lutz 7 (Green, Duehr), 7:26. 6, Lincoln, Bowlby 8 (Gillespie, Westlund), 19:11. Penalties-Badini Chi (charging), 3:25; Teravainen Lin (hooking), 9:13; Bowlby Lin (slashing), 15:26; Gillespie Lin (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 15:26; Jaremko Chi (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 15:26.
3rd Period-7, Chicago, Johnstone 3 (Lillibridge, Badini), 5:30. 8, Lincoln, Dornbach 3 (Nielsen), 11:24. 9, Chicago, Lutz 8 (Lillibridge, Shore), 15:36 (PP). Penalties-Printz Chi (head contact), 12:20; Jaycox Lin (tripping), 14:21.
Shots on Goal-Lincoln 14-9-11-34. Chicago 6-10-6-22.
Power Play Opportunities-Lincoln 2 / 5; Chicago 1 / 4.
Goalies-Lincoln, Korenar 4-4-1-0 (10 shots-9 saves); Primeau 4-5-1-0 (12 shots-8 saves). Chicago, Stezka 6-2-0-1 (34 shots-30 saves).
Referees-Steven Rouillard (33).
Linesmen-Kyle Richetelle (97), Ryan Townsend (55).