The Chicago Steel looked to keep their hot start going early this season with back-to-back home games against the Muskegon Lumberjacks and Team USA, but could only muster one point in the standings over the weekend. Chicago stands in second place in the Eastern Conference of the USHL with a 5–2–1–0 record, trailing only the Dubuque Fighting Saints for first place in the conference following this past weekend.
On Friday, Muskegon forward Ryan Sorkin started the scoring after beating Steel goaltender Victor Ostman with his second goal of the season. The goal, assisted by defenseman Ryan Poorman, was the only puck to find the back of the net in the opening period, which saw both teams fire 11 shots on net.
Chicago evened the score when Oulu, Finland, native Uula Ruikka beat the Lumberjacks goaltender Jack Williams with a goal assisted by forwards Sean Farrell and Mackie Samoskevich. The defenseman’s goal was his first of the season.
OO LA LA Ruikka 🇫🇮!
— USHL (@USHL) October 19, 2019
Less than two minutes later, forward Gunnarwolfe Fontaine gave the Steel a 2–1 lead on the power play with his seventh goal of the season. Assisted by forward Mathieu De St. Phalle and defenseman Owen Power, the lead would be Chicago’s only one of the game.
*Looks up definition of a perfect one-timer*
— Chicago Steel (@ChicagoSteel) October 19, 2019
The Lumberjacks scored two late goals in the second period when forwards A.J. Hodges and Alexandros Gaffney beat Ostman, giving the the visitors a 3–2 lead after two periods of play.
Muskegon scored at the 2:38 mark in the third period to extend their lead to 4–2 after forward Tanner Edwards notched his second goal of the season.
At the 6:51 mark in the final frame, Palatine, Illinois, native Tyler Carpenter scored his second goal of the season to cut the Lumberjack lead to one goal at 3–2. The forward’s goal was assisted by Northeastern University commit Sam Colangelo.
Head coach Greg Moore pulled Ostman for the extra attacker late, but Lumberjack forward Oliver MacDonald scored his eighth goal of the season to seal the Steel’s fate on the evening.
Chicago outshot Muskegon 34–24 for the contest, but the Lumberjacks won the game 5–3.
The following evening, Team USA jumped out to the early lead after forward Dylan Duke beat Chicago goalkeeper Ian Shane. The goal was Duke’s first of two on the evening.
The Steel tied the game when Farrell beat Team USA goaltender Kaidan Mbereko at the 19:35 mark of the first period. The goal, Farrell’s fourth of the season, was assisted by Power and Carpenter.
Chicago’s late power play goal would not be the last goal of the period as forward Jack Hughes scored a shorthanded tally with only two seconds remaining in the period. The unassisted goal gave Team USA a 2–1 lead heading into the first intermission.
The home team would not let the late backbreaking goal upset their pressure, as they continued to put pressure on Mbereko until defenseman Jack Babbage scored his first goal of the season to tie the game at 2–2. The Syracuse, New York, native’s goal was assisted by forward Dawson Pasternak.
Team USA’s Duke scored his second goal at the 14:49 mark when he beat Shane to give Team USA back to back shorthanded goals and a 3–2 advantage.
At the 17:04 mark, Chicago tied the game again after forward Matt Coronato netted his second goal of the season. The game-tying goal was assisted by Pasternak and Ruikka.
After two period of play, Chicago led in shots 27–21 in a fast-paced affair.
De. St. Phalle beat Mbereko to give Chicago their first lead of the game on the power play on a goal assisted by Fontaine and Power. However, for the second time in the game, Team USA would answer back less than a minute later to tie the game at 4–4.
Heading into overtime, Chicago took a 33–30 advantage in shots, but would fall to Team USA less than one minute into overtime when forward Luke Hughes beat Shane for his fourth goal of the season. The goal gave Team USA the 5–4 victory.