SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA — In a game with five lead changes and eight combined third period goals, the Sioux Falls Stampede came out on top against the Chicago Steel in a 7-5 win Friday night at Denny Sanford Premier Center. Chicago (25-14-1-0, 51 pts.) was led by center Nick Abruzzese (2-0-2) and right wing Mathieu De St. Phalle (0-3-3), but a hat trick from Sioux Falls (25-10-3-1, 54 pts.) Andre Lee (3-1-4) and three points from Ethan Phillips (1-2-3) proved the difference.
Abruzzese opened the scoring midway through the first period as he became the first player in the USHL to reach the 50-point mark this season. The Harvard commit picked up his 17th goal of the season De St. Phalle set him up on the play and extended his point streak to five games (0-9-9) with his first assist of the night.
In the first sign that this would be a seesaw affair, the Stampede tied things up 33 seconds later as Phillips registered his 10th goal of the season.
Sioux Falls took its first lead of the game early in the second period off the stick of Lee before Chicago defenseman Owen Power deposited his sixth goal of the year to tie the game. It was the second goal in as many games, and third since January 26, for the University of Michigan commit. The tied game lasted nearly two minutes before Stampede captain Blake Bride scored his eighth goal of the season to give Sioux Falls its second lead of the game, 3-2.
Abruzzese scored his second of the night late in the second to send the game into the final frame tied. De St. Phalle was again was credited with an assist after he kept the puck in the zone before left wing Robert Mastrosimone found Abruzzese with a pass to set up the goal. Mastrosimone extended his point streak to seven games (5-5-10).
Mastrosimone opened a wild third period with a goal of his own just 12 seconds into the third period as he scored short side on Sioux Falls goaltender Alec Calvaruso. De St. Phalle picked up his third assist of the night and a Power assist gave the defenseman his second multi-point game of the season.
The teams then combined for four goals in a span of three minutes. Sioux Falls forward Artem Ivanyuzhenkov and defenseman Brandon Tabakin scored 1:12 apart to give the Stampede a 5-4 lead. It lasted just 37 seconds before Steel left wing Gunnarwolfe Fontaine scored his 15th goal of the season to extend his point streak to eight games (7-2-9). The Stampede then scored the first powerplay goal of the game when Lee picked up his second of the night to give Sioux Falls its fourth lead of the night, 6-5.
The Steel fought for the equalizer for nearly seven minutes before Sioux Falls took the games first two-goal lead when forward Anthony Romano scored his 14th of the season to make it 7-5. After Steel goaltender Justin Robbins made the initial save, the puck remained in the zone and Romano eventually picked up his first point of the night.
Lee finished off his hat trick with an empty-net goal in the final minute before Steel left wing Christian Sarlo scored his 10th goal of the season as the clock wound down to cap the game’s scoring at 8-6.
The Steel travel to Sioux City for the second and final regular season matchup with the Musketeers on Saturday. Chicago returns to Fox Valley Ice Arena for a Friday, Feb. 15 game at 7:05 p.m. against the Muskegon Lumberjacks for Military Appreciation/Hometown Heroes Night. The Steel then host Team USA U18 for a 7:05 p.m. faceoff on Saturday, Feb. 16 for Let it Snow Globe! Snow Globe Giveaway for the first 500 fans in attendance.
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.
For more information, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.