GENEVA, ILLINOIS — A late third period goal from Steel center Nick Abruzzese sent the game to overtime, but Lumberjacks defenseman Nic Belpedio scored 3:04 into extra time to give Muskegon a 5-4 win Saturday night at L.C. Walker Arena in Muskegon, Mich. in preseason action.
Lumberjacks center Alex Trombley started a combined four-goal first period 2:57 into the opening frame when he struck on the powerplay. Steel left wing Jake Schmaltz tied the game 3:05 later with a net-front goal at the 6:02 mark. The tied only lasted 1:49 before defenseman Hunter Skinner’s delayed shot deflected out front and found its way past Steel goaltender Reilly Herbst.
For the second night in a row, Steel right wing Matthew Barnaby found the back of the net. Left wing Robert Mastrosimone faked a shot and found Barnaby with a pass for the tap-in past Muskegon goaltender Brandon Bussi to even the score at two.
Halfway through the second period, Steel left wing Cole Kodsi scored off a feed from center Tim Clifton to give Chicago a 3-2 lead. The goal, at 10:57, was also the Steel’s first lead of the preseason. Herbst made 13 saves to keep the Lumberjacks off the board in the second period, including a sequence of saves early in the frame.
Muskegon struck twice in the third period to take a 4-3 advantage. Center Egor Afanasyev tied things at three 1:48 into the third period on a goal assisted by right wing Randy Hernandez. Skinner then scored his second of the game, this time on the power play, after a cross-ice feed from Belpedio with 9:06 to play in regulation.
With 1:46 to play in the third, Muskegon goaltender Xavier Medina made an initial save on a wrap-around chance but Abruzzese pounded home the rebound to tie the game at four and send it to overtime. Medina took over for Bussi at the beginning of the third period.
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. Chicago then closes the exhibition schedule with a 7:07 p.m. puck drop on Saturday, Sept. 22 at Central Illinois.
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.