GENEVA, ILLINOIS — After a split of Home Opening Weekend, the Steel hit the road for the second road trip of the season with a pair of games on Friday and Saturday in recently renovated buildings. Both Capitol Ice Arena in Madison and L.C. Walker Arena in Muskegon saw significant changes during the offseason and are set for their home debuts this weekend.
Chicago picked up its first win of the season on Saturday in a 5-2 win over the Green Bay Gamblers. The Steel were propelled by first career USHL goals from forwards Matt Barnaby, Cole Quisenberry and Adam Robbins as Travis Treloar and Josh Groll also added goals. The bounce-back win came one night after dropping an Opening Night contest with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders 4-0. Steel goaltender Justin Robbins played in both games, stopping a combined 40-of-45 shots he faced.
The Steel (1-2-1-0, 3 pts.) head to Madison, Wis. for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop Friday for a matchup with the Capitols (1-3-0-0, 2 pts.). This is the first of five meetings this season with the first three being played in Madison.
Friday’s game will be Madison’s first home game this season after traveling to Michigan for a set of games against the United States National Team Development Program last weekend. The Capitols also picked up their first win of the season in a 2-1 shootout Saturday night, after a loss on Friday night. Madison forward Carson Bantle picked up a goal in both games last weekend while defenseman Sam Miller assisted on all three Madison goals of the weekend. The Steel are 14-8 all-time against Madison including a 6-5 record on the road.
Steel forward Nick Abruzzese has enjoyed seeing Madison on the schedule as he has posted seven points (2-5) in five career games against the Capitols. His five assists and seven points are the most for him against any given team in the USHL. The Slate Hill, N.Y. native posted his only three-assist game of his career on February 17 against the Capitols, which is also one of two three-point games in his USHL career.
The Steel then head to Muskegon, Mich. for a 6:15 p.m. puck drop Saturday to battle the Lumberjacks (4-0-0-0, 8 pts.). The teams met twice this preseason after playing each other in the Eastern Conference First Round of the 2018 USHL Playoffs. Chicago won the three-game series in come-from-behind fashion after they dropped game one but charged back with a game two win and a thrilling game three overtime win to move on to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Muskegon took both preseason matchups and has gotten off to a perfect start to the season, winning its first four games against Fargo, Sioux City and a pair against Youngstown last weekend. Muskegon scored with 49 seconds remaining on Friday night and eventually beat Youngstown in a shootout. Goaltender Brandon Bussi then stopped all 33 shots he faced Saturday night for a 3-0 shutout win. Bussi finished his week with a 2-0-0 record, 0.48 goals against average and .985 save percentage as he was named USHL Goaltender of the Week on Monday. A win Saturday night would be Chicago’s first regular season win in Muskegon in exactly a year. The Lumberjacks have won the last three regular season contests at L.C. Walker Arena and hold a 15-12 regular season advantage over the Steel all-time at home.
Steel forward Tim Clifton recorded his first career USHL point, an assist, against Muskegon last season on January 28. Robert Mastrosimone leads all Steel players with five points (2-3) in seven games against the Lumberjacks in his career. Abruzzese (1-2-3) and defenseman John Spetz (0-2-2) have also recorded multiple points in seven regular season games against Muskegon.
The Steel return home on Friday, October 19 for Paint the Rink Pink Night presented by V Fusion Group Fitness. All Steel players will be wearing customized pink jerseys that will be auctioned off during the game with proceeds going to the American Cancer Society Making Strides for Breast Cancer.
Tickets for Paint the Rink Pink Night are on sale now starting at just $10 with stadium seating on the glass still available for just $20. The Steel have simplified seating and pricing for the 2018-2019 season and parking is always free.
- Forwards Matthew Barnaby, Cole Quisenberry and Adam Robbins all scored their first career USHL goals in the team’s 5-2 win over Green Bay on Saturday.
- Forward Josh Groll scored his first goal with the Steel, an empty-net goal, on Saturday night. He scored his first career goal in his USHL debut with Omaha last season.
- Goaltender Justin Robbins stopped 40 of the 45 shots he faced in both games last weekend including many big saves to maintain the Steel lead on Saturday night.
- Forward Gunnarwolfe Fontaine picked up a pair of assists for his first career USHL multi-point performance in Saturday night’s win including a beautiful set up of Travis Treloar’s second period goal.
MEET THE OPPONENT:
- The Steel head to Madison for a Friday matchup of team’s coming off their first win of the season last Saturday.
- Defenseman Sam Miller (0-3-3) leads the team with three points after he assisted on all three Capitols goals last weekend.
- Madison has six goals from five different players this season.
Muskegon plays host to Chicago on Saturday night in a rematch of the Eastern Conference First Round matchup from the 2018 USHL Playoffs.
- Lumberjacks Goaltender Brandon Bussi recorded a 33-save shutout on Saturday night in a 3-0 win over Youngstown. The shutout came in just his fourth career USHL game and led Bussi to be named USHL Goaltender of the Week, marking the second time in as many weeks the Steel will face the reigning USHL Goaltender of the Week.
- Forward Egor Afanasyev leads the team with five points (4-1) while Daniil Guschin (2-2) and Jagger Joshua (2-2) each have four points.
- Muskegon is one of two unbeaten teams entering week three of the season (Tri-City Storm, 3-0-0-0) and has outscored opponents 15-7 through four games.
Tickets for all Steel home games are on sale now starting at just $10. Season ticket plans, starting at just five games for $45 are also available now.
For more information, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.