GENEVA, ILLINOIS — After two total goals in the first two periods, the Chicago Steel and Muskegon Lumberjacks combined for six goals in the final frame as Muskegon edged out a 5-3 win Friday at Fox Valley Ice Arena in the preseason opener for both teams. Muskegon maintained a two-goal lead for most of the game as they answered back quickly on all three Steel goals.
Muskegon defenseman Cameron McDonald opened the scoring 3:22 into the first period when he streaked in on a breakaway goal and beat Steel goaltender Justin Robbins low to the blocker side. The Steel were cycling the puck in the offensive zone before center Nick Abruzzese and defenseman Jimmy Dowd tangled at the blue line, which allowed for an easy zone entry for McDonald.
The Lumberjacks doubled down late in the second period when right wing Ben Badalamenti fired a wrist shot over the blocker-side shoulder of Robbins. After a board battle in the Muskegon zone, defenseman Nic Belpedio shuffled a pass up to left wing Oliver MacDonald who fed Badalemnti the pass in the neutral zone.
The teams then exchanged goals four minutes apart early in the third period. Steel center Matthew Barnaby brought the Steel within one for the Steel when his wrist shot found room past the glove of Lumberjacks goaltender Brandon Bussi at the 3:32 mark. The play began when Steel right wing Neil Shea lifted a Muskegon stick and left wing Gunnarwolfe Fontaine poked the puck to Barnaby’s stick.
Muskegon right wing Joey Kile put the Lumberjacks ahead by two once again when his forehand-backhand shot beat Robbins to the blocker side at the 6:27 mark. After collecting a pass from defenseman Nolan McElhaney, Kile skated in behind the Chicago defense for a one-on-one opportunity against Robbins.
The teams then exchanged goals twice more in the final six minutes of the game with center Adam Robbins and defenseman John Spetz striking for the Steel. Muskegon defenseman Colby Bukes tallied in the middle of the Steel goals at 15:53 with a heavy wrist shot.
The Robbins goal, a one-time shot from the slot, found space past the glove of Bussi with 5:44 to play in the game. Spetz’s strike, with 3:46 to play, came from a wrist shot on the doorstep after a set-up pass from Abruzzese.
With the Steel net empty for an extra attacker, Kile put the game away, deposing the puck into the vacant cage with 17 seconds left to seal the win for Muskegon. The Steel outshot the Lumberjacks 35-25 in the game.
Chicago and Muskegon are back in action for a 6:15 p.m. CT puck drop on Saturday night in Muskegon, Mich at L.C. Walker Arena. Steel games are carried live on Mixlr (free audio) and HockeyTV (iPPV). For more information, visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com/broadcast.
The Steel return to Fox Valley Ice Arena on Friday, Sept. 21 for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop against the Central Illinois Flying Aces. It’s the team’s final home game of the preseason schedule and all tickets are $10.
Tickets for all Steel home games are on sale now starting at just $10. Season ticket plans, starting at just 5 games for $45 are on sale now and fans are encouraged to participate in Mini Plan Mania with great weekly prizes through September 28.
For more information, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.