GENEVA, ILLINOIS — Reigning USHL Goaltender of the Week Blake Pietila stopped all 29 shots he faced as the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (2-0-1-0, 5 pts.) spoiled the Chicago Steel home opener 4-0 Friday at Fox Valley Ice Arena.
The Steel (0-2-1-0, 1 pt.) were strong on the penalty kill all night, and were put to the test early, knocking off 3:30 straight of powerplay time for the RoughRiders, including 1:34 of five-on-three. After the Steel returned to full strength, RoughRiders right wing Joe Hankinson chipped a backhand shot past Steel goaltender Justin Robbins to open the scoring.
“Our penalty kill did a great job killing off what we had there,” said Steel Head Coach Greg Moore. “For whatever reason our bench didn’t have the momentum or energy after doing such a good job on that kill.”
Cedar Rapids doubled its lead later in the period when center Max Sasson finished off a beautiful passing play with line-mates Hankison and left wing Chase Hamstad.
Chicago captain Matteo Pietroniro got the crowd on their feet early in the second with a big hit on a Cedar Rapids player before dropping the gloves with RoughRiders center Jordan Tonelli.
The RoughRiders extended the lead 4:29 into the second when left wing Liam Walsh deposited a wrist shot in the slot over the blocker of Robbins. Cedar Rapids added an empty-net goal in the final minute of regulation to cap the scoring.
Robbins finished with 18 saves as the RoughRiders added an empty-net goal with 25 seconds remaining. Neither team was able to find the back of the net on the powerplay despite a combined 10 opportunities.
The Steel are back in action tomorrow night – Saturday, Oct. 6 – as the team plays host to the Green Bay Gamblers for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop. Be sure to arrive early for the game as #SteelWarmups presented by Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush begin at 6:30 p.m. The first 500 fans to enter the gates at Fox Valley Ice Arena will receive a Magnet Schedule courtesy of 95.9 FM The River.
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.
For more information, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.