GENEVA, ILLINOIS — The Chicago Steel jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but the Youngstown Phantoms answered back with four-straight of their own before Steel forward Gunnarwolfe Fontaine finished off his first career hat trick with an overtime game winner in a 5-4 contest Friday night at Fox Valley Ice Arena. The Steel (18-12-1-0, 37 pts.) forward pounded home the game-winner 2:04 into overtime as he beat Phantoms (14-12-1-3, 32 pts.) goaltender Chad Veltri with a one-time slap shot from the slot on a perfect feed from defenseman Jimmy Dowd.
POST GAME INTERVIEW: Gunnarwolfe Fontaine
POST GAME INTERVIEW: Greg Moore
After a wide-open first seven minutes of the game, Fontaine (3-1-4) potted the first goal of the contest. Fontaine’s sixth goal of the season came after center Jake Schmaltz (0-2-2) found right wing Mathieu De St. Phalle (0-3-3) who returned the favor to Fontaine at the side of the net for a tally past Youngstown goaltender Christian Stoever. The third line of Fontaine – Schamaltz – De St. Phalle finished with four of the five goals tonight and a combined nine points.
Steel goaltender Justin Robbins preserved the lead with 6:41 to play in the period as he slid across the crease to slam the door on a wide-open opportunity for Youngstown forward Matthew Barnaby. Chicago defenseman Matteo Pietroniro leveled Youngstown forward Trevor Kuntar in front of the Steel bench with about 90 seconds to play in the first period to reignite the physical play between these two teams from the last time they met in December.
Chicago defenseman Owen Power extended the lead late in the period when he struck on the Steel’s second powerplay opportunity of the game. Power sent a feed from center Nick Abruzzese over the blocker of Stoever as Abruzzese extended his point streak to three games (3-2-5).
The Steel continued their momentum in the second as defenseman Casey Staum extended the lead to 3-0. Staum’s second goal of the year came on a feed from Fontaine in the slot where Staum sailed a heavy wrist shot over the blocker of Stoever. Fontaine then tallied his second of the game midway through the game as he made a forehand-backhand move while in alone on Stoever to open the five-hole.
From that point on, Youngstown would control the remainder of regulation. The Phantoms pulled Stoever in favor of Veltri, who made eight saves down the stretch to force overtime. The goalie change seemed to swing the momentum as Youngstown scored three-straight goals in the back half of the second period to cut the lead to 4-3.
After a penalty call just eight seconds into the third, Youngstown scored its second powerplay goal of the game just four seconds later, this time off the stick of forward Brett Murray.
Both teams had chances during the 3-on-3 overtime session. Steel goaltender Justin Robbins came up big for Chicago before Fontaine ended the affair with his game-winning goal. Chicago has won three of the four highly-entertaining matchups between the two teams this season. They’ll meet again on Saturday, Feb. 2 and Friday, March 15.
Chicago is back in action Saturday, Jan, 12 in another 7:05 p.m. faceoff for Star Wars Night and a Steel Family Pack game against Green Bay.
Tickets for all Steel home games are on sale now starting at just $10 and stadium seating on the glass is available for just $20. Parking is always free. The Steel offer discounted tickets for groups and are offering a special Holiday Pack, which includes three games and four gifts for just $40.
For more information, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.