DUBUQUE, IOWA — The defending Clark Cup Champion Chicago Steel opened the 2017-2018 USHL season Friday with a 6-2 victory over the Dubuque Fighting Saints at Mystique Ice Center. Oskar Autio made 25 saves between the pipes in his USHL debut. Samuel Bucek scored twice for the Steel, while Jack Dugan (1+1), Blake McLaughlin (0+2), Baker Shore (1+1) and Robbie Stucker (0+2) also tallied multi-point outings.
Chicago had 1-0 and 2-1 leads erased in the first period before scoring the game’s final four goals.
Just under five minutes into the game, McLaughlin stole the puck behind the goal line and passed to Bucek at the top of the crease. Bucek’s backhanded goal gave the Steel a brief 1-0 lead before Dubuque’s Josh Maniscalco tied the game 55 seconds later, beating Autio on the blocker side.
Bucek’s second tally of the period came with a stick-side snipe on the power play at 12:53. Dubuque again found the equalizer, as Quinn Preston scored a power-play tally 96 seconds later off a shot from the right circle.
The Steel took over after that. In the second period, Sam Stevens exited the penalty box and scored a breakaway goal off a feed from C.J. Walker at 3:47.
The opening minute of the third period saw Dugan score from behind the goal line, increase the Steel’s lead to 4-2. Shore added a power play goal off a wrist shot at 6:25, and Austin Magera scored a five-hole goal at 9:25, securing the four-goal win for the Steel.
Chicago outshot Dubuque by an unofficial total of 31-27. The Steel finished the game 2-for-3 on both the power play and penalty kill.
Five months ago today, Chicago also picked up a four-goal victory at Dubuque, winning 7-3 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final, taking the series 3-1 and clinching its first-ever visit to the Clark Cup Final.
The Steel now prepare for their Home Opener and 2017 Clark Cup Championship Celebration tomorrow night – Saturday, Oct. 7 – against Team USA (U17) at Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva. Following a ring ceremony and banner unveiling at approximately 7:00 p.m. CT, the Steel will drop the puck for the first of 30 home games in the 2017-2018 USHL season, facing off against Team USA (U17). Following the game, fans are invited to join the team on the ice for a post-game Skate with the Steel.
For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 855-51-STEEL, stop by the Box Office at Fox Valley Ice Arena or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.