GENEVA, ILLINOIS — Saturday night will be a celebration at Fox Valley Ice Arena as the Steel throw their mascot Rusty his annual birthday party when the team hosts the Omaha Lancers for a 7:05 p.m. faceoff.
The game, historically a fan-favorite, is set to feature an intermission Mascot Hockey Game and fans will have a chance to meet a plethora of local mascots throughout the game. Fun promotions during the game will include a Mascot Kiss Cam and a Mascot Dance Party. Over a dozen mascots from sports teams, schools and businesses are scheduled to attend to celebrate Rusty’s birthday. A full list is below.
Saturday will also feature the second of five scheduled opportunities for fans to Skate with the Steel after the game. Fans may bring their own skates or rent them from Fox Valley Ice Arena for $4.
This is the first of two meetings this season between the Chicago Steel (12-7-1-0, 25 pts.) and Omaha Lancers (6-12-0-2, 14 pts.). The second comes Sunday, Feb. 24 when the Steel travel to Ralston Arena for a 4:05 p.m. CT faceoff in Omaha.
A trio of Steel defensemen have found success against Omaha in the past as Matteo Pietroniro has one goal and one assist in a pair of games last season, John Spetz scored a goal in his lone game against the Lancers and Casey Staum averages an assist per game through three contests against Omaha.
Chicago is looking to improve upon an 11-30-3-2 all-time mark against Omaha, and Chicago has split the last three season series against the Lancers. The Steel are 2-1-0-0 against the Lancers at Fox Valley Ice Arena.
Forward Nick Abruzzese, who was named USHL Forward of the Week on Monday, leads the Steel with 22 points (5-17-22) this season. Goaltender Reilly Herbst was also named USHL Goalie of the Week after a 20-save performance against Central Illinois on Saturday, Dec. 1.
Forward Adam Robbins is currently second on the team with 18 points (6-12-18) in 20 games this season. He enters the weekend with points in eight of his last nine games, collecting 11 of his 18 points this season during the stretch.
The Steel enter the weekend on an eight-game winning streak that was extended Tuesday night in a 3-2 win over the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Chicago played from behind or tied until 5:44 into the third period when defenseman Matteo Pietroniro netted his seventh of the season. Steel forward Gunnarwolfe Fontaine picked up a pair of goals, including his first career USHL tally. Goaltender Justin Robbins made 26 saves in the come-from-behind win.
The Steel will be without forward Robert Mastrosimone, who is representing Team USA at the World Junior A Challenge, for this weekend’s games.
Omaha is led by forward Brendan Furry who has 16 points (7-9-16) in 14 games this season but has two points in the last five games after scoring in eight of the team’s first nine games. Forwards Jan Kern and Ryan Savage each have five goals and seven assists this year and are tied for second on the team with 12 points through 20 games.
Tickets for Saturday’s game are on sale now starting at just $10 with stadium seating on the glass still available for just $20. Parking is always free.
Chicago start the weekend with a road game Friday, Dec. 7 against Des Moines (13-8-1-1, 28 pts.). The Steel will look to eliminate the memory of a 10-5 loss to the Buccaneers in the second game of the season on Friday, Sept. 28 at the USHL Fall Classic. Steel forward Ryan Doolin scored two goals in the game as forward Neil Shea as well as Spetz and Staum scored the others. The Buccaneers were led by Matt Brown’s six-point (3-3-6) performance as well as multi-goal games from TJ Walsh (2-2-4), Jonny Russell (2-1-3) and Tyler Paquette (2-0-2).
Brown currently leads Des Moines scorers with 28 points (17-11-28) in 22 games this season. His 17 goals leads all USHL scorers while his 28 points is fourth in the USHL. With a three-point night (2-1-3), including the winning goal in overtime, in Tuesday’s 5-4 win at Sioux Falls, Walsh moved into fifth place among USHL scorers with 27 points (7-20-27). Goaltender Roman Durny is currently 11-6-0-1 this season. His 2.86 goals against average is sixth in the USHL while his and .904 save percentage puts him at sixth in the league.
MEET THE OPPONENTS:
MASCOTS SCHEDULED TO ATTEND SATURDAY, DEC. 8 GAME:
Aurelio’s (Pizza Man)
British Swim School (Sir Quacks-a-Lot)
Buffalo Wild Wings (Blazin’Bill)
Chicago Bandits (Swiper)
Chicago Red Stars (Supernova)
Culver’s St. Charles On East Main St. (Scoopie)
DePaul University (DIBS)
Goldfish Swim School (Bubbles)
Joliet Slammers (Spikes)
Kane County Cougars (Ozzie)
Loyola University (Lu Wolf)
Schaumburg Boomers (Coop)
The Learning Experience (Bubbles)
Windy City Thunderbolts (Boomer)
For more information, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.