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WEEKLY PREVIEW: WIENER DOG RACES, SKATE WITH THE STEEL HEADLINE SATURDAY NIGHT MATCHUP

By Chicago Steel, 02/27/19, 8:45AM CST

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Steel and Fighting Saints to Meet in Home-and-Home Matchup for First Meetings This Season

GENEVA, ILLINOIS — The Chicago Steel will host their second-annual Wiener Dog Races on Saturday, March 2 as a fan-favorite returns to Fox Valley Ice Arena when the team closes out a home-and-home weekend with the Dubuque Fighting Saints.

Steel fans will be treated to 22 wiener dogs that are scheduled to put their racing skills to the test. Runners will take the ice for a preliminary heat during the first intermission before the final four race for the trophy during the second intermission. Last season, one-year-old Monty beat 16 other competitors to win the first annual event. Monty will be back to defend his crown against a plethora of opponents ranging in age from six-month-old Nugget to 16-year-old Rosie.

Chicago (29-16-1-0, 59 pts.) enters the weekend having won two of three games last weekend including an overtime win against the league-leading Tri-City Storm and before snapping the red-hot Omaha Lancers ten-game point streak. They’ll go head-to-head with Dubuque (21-18-3-4, 49 pts.) which is currently fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, 10 points behind Chicago in second. The Fighting Saints were swept by Cedar Rapids in a pair of games last weekend.

The weekend begins Friday night at 7:05 p.m. in Dubuque, Iowa at Mystique Community Ice Center, the first of Chicago’s four meetings with Dubuque over the final 16 games of the regular season.

The Steel are led statistically by forward Nick Abruzzese (21-39-60) and Robert Mastrosimone (21-20-41), who enter the game first and second on the team for points and tied for the team lead for goals. Abruzzese enters the weekend tied for the USHL lead with 60 points and Mastrosimone is coming off a 12-game point streak (8-9-17) that was snapped on Sunday. Mastrosimone’s point streak is the second-longest all-time in Steel franchise history.

Dubuque will look to forward Matias Maccelli for leadership among the scorers as he enters the weekend tied for fourth in the USHL with 54 points (22-32-54). The Fighting Saints then have a trio of forwards in the 30-point range as James Sanchez (37), Willie Knierim (35) and Riese Gaber (31) have all eclipsed the 30-point mark this season.

Chicago, which enters the weekend with the third-best goals for average (3.87) in the league, will square off against Dubuque goaltenders Matthew Thiessen and rookie Aaron Randazzo. Thiessen, a Vancouver Canucks prospect, has played most of the games this season carrying a 14-14-3-4 record, 2.97 goals against average and .890 save percentage into the matchups. Chicago goaltender Justin Robbins enters the weekend after a strong performance in Saturday’s win over Tri-City and is currently tied for fourth among all USHL goaltenders with 20 wins this season. The Quinnipiac University commit has a 20-10-1-0 record this season with a 3.09 goals against average and .883 save percentage.

Saturday’s home game is the first of eight home games in the month of March as the team makes a final charge to the playoffs with their magic number now at 13. The Steel play five-straight home games starting Saturday, including LEGOLAND Night and Raising Cane’s Kid’s Day on March 8, The Pajama Game on March 9 and the Geneva Academic Foundation Powerplay for Students: A Night to Benefit Geneva Schools presented by FONA International on March 16. 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.

STEEL NOTES:

  • Abruzzese, who leads the team with 60 points, was held off the scorecard twice last weekend, marking the first time since October that he was held scoreless in back-to-back games.
  • Mastrosimone didn’t record a point in Sunday’s win, snapping his career-high 12-game point streak (8-9-17). Mastrosimone’s streak is the second highest in Steel franchise history, one game behind Eric Lampe’s 2005 streak that totaled 15 points.
  • Defenseman John Spetz recorded a three-goal weekend (3-1-4) including his first-career multi-goal game on Saturday in a 4-3 overtime win over the league-leading Tri-City Storm. Spetz not only tied the game late, but also had the game winner in overtime.
  • Forward Cole Quisenberry recorded an assist on Friday and Sunday last weekend. His assist on Friday extended his point streak to six games (2-4-6) and Sunday’s assist gave him a point in seven of his last eight games. Eleven of the Brown University commit’s 14 points this season have come since January 19.
  • Forward Gunnarwolfe Fontaine recorded a goal and an assist last weekend, giving him points in 13 of his last 16 games. The RPI commit has 19 points (12-7-19) in that span, including a career-high 10 game point streak.
  • Forward Neil Shea scored in all three games last weekend, giving him a three-game point streak (1-2-3) heading into this weekend. The Northeastern University commit is seventh in Steel scoring this season with 33 points (12-21-33) in 40 games.

MEET THE OPPONENTS:

  • Chicago and Dubuque (21-18-3-4, 49 pts.) meet for the first time this season.
    • Dubuque is currently fifth in the Eastern Conference, three points behind fourth-place Youngstown and six point ahead of sixth-place Team USA.
    • Forward Matias Maccelli is tied for fourth in the USHL with 54 points (22-32-54) and has points in five of his last six games.
    • Goaltender Matthew Thiessen, a Vancouver Canucks prospect, has been the primary man between the pipes for the Fighting Saints. The University of Maine commit has a 14-14-3-4 record this season with a 2.97 goals against average and .890 save percentage.

LAST GAMES:

Friday, Feb. 22 at Tri-City Storm, L, 3-5 RECAP / STATS
Saturday, Feb. 23 at Tri-City Storm, OTW, 4-3 RECAP / STATS
Sunday, Feb. 24 at Omaha Storm, W, 2-1 RECAP / STATS

For more information, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.