GENEVA, ILLINOIS — In a battle of teams near the top of the Eastern Conference standings, a strong, balanced effort from the Steel was the difference as Chicago (13-7-1-2, 29 pts.) completed a sweep of the four-game season series with Dubuque (12-8-3-1, 28 pts.) following a 4-2 victory Saturday night at Fox Valley Ice Arena.
Jordan Seyfert recorded two points (1+1) for the Steel, defenseman John Spetz notched his first USHL goal, Nick Abruzzese recorded his fifth point in five games, and Blake McLaughlin notched the game-winner. Justin Robbins made 23 saves to pick up the win in goal.
The Fighting Saints scored first as Adam Tisdale drove to the front of the Steel net and redirected in a pass from Alex Steeves at 4:50 of the first period.
The lead, Dubuque’s only of the night, was short-lived as just 75 seconds later, the Steel tied the game when Spetz recorded his first career USHL goal. Tyler Gratton connected on a pass to the left point for Spetz, who fired a one-time rocket past Fighting Saints netminder Jaxon Castor.
Later in the period, Abruzzese tallied his third power play goal of December, scoring at 13:02 off a feed to the bottom of the left circle from Baker Shore.
Chicago held a 2-1 lead until the closing stages of the second period, when Dalton Hunter registered a power play rebound goal with 49 seconds remaining in the stanza.
McLaughlin’s goal, Chicago’s first shorthanded tally of the season, came at the 3:03 mark of the third period. The University of Minnesota commit picked up the puck along the left wing boards at center ice and raced ahead on a breakaway. His initial shot was denied by Castor, but McLaughlin was able to bat the rebound out of mid-air and into the back of the net for his ninth goal of the season.
Seyfert then recorded the game’s final goal, quickly cashing in on a sensational pass from the end wall from Robert Mastrosimone, and firing a shot from the bottom of the left wing over Castor’s shoulder.
Chicago outshot Dubuque 38-25. The Steel have won consecutive games for the first time since mid-November, and are now tied with the Green Bay Gamblers atop the Eastern Conference standings heading into a Sunday matinee with Muskegon.
The 3:05 p.m. game at Fox Valley Ice Arena marks the first Steel Family Sunday of the season, and after the game, fans are invited to join the team on the ice for a post-game Skate with the Steel. For fans without skates, skate rental will be available from the Fox Valley Ice Arena for $4 per pair. 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.