Chicago falls to Muskegon 10–8 in action-packed season opener

  

The long-awaited Chicago Steel regular season opener Saturday night was an offensive explosion, as the visiting Muskegon Lumberjacks bested the home team 10–8. The Lumberjacks were led by forwards Danil Gushchin and Tyler Dunbar, as both registered hat tricks to move Muskegon to 2–1–0–0 on the early season. Chicago could not take advantage of the five power play tallies in six chances on the night.

Chicago found the scoresheet first when defenseman Jack Babbage beat Muskegon goaltender Christian Stoever. Babbage took a nice pass from forward Mackie Samoskevich on a 2-on-1 rush and found himself an empty net for the 1–0 lead at the 4:54 mark of the first period.

Montreal Canadiens forward prospect Sean Farrell extended the Chicago lead to 2–0 at the 7:04 mark of the period with the team’s first power play goal of the night. Farrell’s goal, assisted by defenseman Ryan Ufko and forward Matt Coronato, beat Stoever short side with a perfectly placed half-slapper from the right dot.

Leading 2–0, Chicago found itself in the penalty bock when forward Josh Doan took a slashing penalty. Muskegon finished off the power play when forward John Farinacci beat Steel goaltender Ian Shane to cut the lead by half. The excellent effort by Lumberjack center Christophe Fillion and battle along the boards generated the opportunity for Farinacci to net his first goal of the season.

At the 14:19 mark of the period, forward Matt Coronato scored Chicago’s second straight power play goal and upped the Steel lead to 3–1. Coronato, a Harvard commit, found himself in front of the net after new Lumberjack goalkeeper Jan Skorpik made a stop that jumped up over his head and found Coronato’s stick for a hard-working tap-in goal.

Muskegon tied the game at 3–3 after scoring two goals 47 seconds apart late in the first period. Guschin was the recipient of both goals, crushing any momentum that Chicago had built with their two-goal lead.

Muskegon took their first lead of the game at the 5:29 mark of the second period when forward David Hymovitch scored his first goal of the season.

Chicago found themselves back on the power play and scored their third consecutive on the man advantage when Farrell found the back of the net for his second of the night. The goal, assisted by Samoskevich and Ufko, would tie the game at 4–4 for only 29 seconds.

That short-lived tie was broken when White Bear Lake, Minnesota, native Cameron Berg scored his third goal of the season. Berg’s goal was followed up by another Lumberjack goal when defenseman Hank Kempf scored his first goal of the season. The two quick tallies gave the visiting team the 6–4 lead

The see-saw game would not disappoint as Chicago tied the game at 6–6 midway through the second period with goals from Coronato, his second of the game, and Ufko. The Ufko blast was the fourth registered power play goal for the Steel of the evening and gave Samoskevich his third assist on the evening.

Muskegon took the lead back after Dunbar buried a wrist shot, on a 4-on-3 rush. The shot beat Shane glove side for Dunbar’s second goal of the contest. As the horn sounded to end the second period, the Lumberjack’s led 7-6.

Chicago tied the game at the 5:34 mark of the third period after forward Erik Middendorf scored his first goal of the season. The Scottsdale, Arizona, native beat taking a nice feed from Coronato beating Stover glove side. The power play goal was assisted by Samoskeveich, his fourth but not last assist of the evening.

Two minutes later, Dunbar scored his second goal of the game, unassisted, giving the Lumberjacks a short-lived 8–7 lead. That lead was tied again when right wing Jackson Blake scored his first goal of the season. The North Dakota commit pounced on a rebound after Samoskevich created a nice turnover in his own zone, used his speed to get to the net and created a chance for Blake after pulling Stoever out of his net.

With the game tied, again, at 8–8 Muskegon took the lead back when Dunbar finished off his hat trick at the 17:43 mark of the period. With Shane pulled for the extra attacker, Muskegon finished off the Guschin hat trick for the 10–8 victory on the road.

Shane turned aside 32 shots in the defeat. Skorpik stopped 17 shots in victory after replacing starter Stoever allowed three goals on five shots.

Chicago returns to the ice with a three-game series with the Green Bay Gamblers. Chicago hosts the Gamblers on Friday for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop at the Fox Valley Ice Arena. The Steel will then take the road for the first time for games on Saturday and Nov. 25, both contests to start at 7:05 p.m., in Green Bay.

Center Ice Forums Chicago falls to Muskegon 10–8 in action-packed season opener

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