The Chicago Steel (16–4–2–0) won two games this past weekend against the Youngstown Phantoms (5–13–1–1), led by defenseman Ryan Ufko’s two goals on Friday and a hat trick by forward Josh Doan on Sunday. Youngstown bested the visitors in the Saturday contest.
On Friday, Chicago jumped out to a 3–1 lead after one period of action. Ufko started the scoring for the Steel after intercepting a pass at center ice and using his speed to beat a Phantom defenseman wide and freezing goaltender Mattias Sholl with a nice forehand-to-backhand move.
At the 9:50 mark in the first period, Phantom forward Jaden Grant leveled the score with his first goal of the season. The goal, assisted by forwards Yusaku Ando and Jack Silich, tied the game at 1–1.
Chicago took back the lead at the 16:45 mark when Ufko beat Sholl with a booming slap shot. A hard-fought battle along the boards by forward Matt Coronato resulted in the puck on the stick of defenseman Jack Babbage, who found a streaking Ufko at the left dot for the one-timer to put the Steel back on top at 2–1.
Less than a minute later, Doan extended the lead to 3–1 with his 10th goal of the season. Ufko used his slick skating to rush the puck up ice, finding defenseman Lukas Gustafsson along the boards, who, in turn, put the puck on Doan’s stick in the center of the ice. Doan fired a sneaky-quick shot that beat Sholl five hole.
Both teams would share goals in the second period of play, as Chicago’s Adam Frantilli extended the Chicago lead to 4–1. A long stretch pass by forward Jackson Blake found Frantilli streaking through the middle of the ice for a breakaway. Frantilli beat Sholl between the netminder’s legs after a few dekes en route to the net. The goal gave the Nobleton, Ontario, native four goals on the season.
Youngstown defenseman Grant Hindman beat Chicago Slovakian goaltender Simon Latkoczy at the 11:41 mark in the period, but that would be the last goal for the Phantoms on the evening. Latkoczy stopped 24 shots in the victory, his first of the season.
Saturday’s contest would fall the Phantom’s way, 5–2, as Youngstown had Chicago goaltender Nicholas Haas’ number. Haas would stop 16 shots in the defeat.
Youngstown started the scoring when Reilly Funkfound the back of the net at the 15:23 mark of the first period. However, Chicago would answer right back in the final minute of play when Coronato buried his first goal on the weekend and goal No. 18 on the season. The power play goal was assisted by Doan and forward Sean Farrell.
Chicago took their only lead of the game when forward Erik Middendorf scored on the power play. Middendorf beat Phantom goaltender Kyle Chauvette with a long wrist shot from the point. The goal gave the Scottsdale, Arizona, native 17 for the season.
In what would be described as an “old school” game, as both teams combined for 22 penalties, Chicago would let up four straight in defeat.
The rubber match on Sunday was an entertaining affair that needed overtime to decide the game in Chicago’s favor 4–3, led by Doan’s hat trick.
Doan’s first goal of the game came at the 14:00 mark of the first period, on the power play, after some excellent movement by all five Steel players. Farrell took the puck along the half boards and found Middendorf down low along the red line. Middendorf then floated a pass to Doan, who was cutting backdoor before beating Chauvette with a quick wrist shot. The goal gave Chicago the early lead.
Youngstown found the back of the net behind Chicago goaltender Jack Stark three straight times to take a 3–1 lead midway through the contest. Forwards Ben Schoen, Grant and Ando all scored for the Phantoms.
Chicago answered back at the 18:10 mark of the second period to cut the Phantom lead to 3–2 when Jack Bar scored his first goal of the season and first of his USHL career. The goal, assisted by Farrell, beat Chauvette blocker side with a blistering wrist shot.
Early in the third, Doan scored his second of the game on the power play. Ufko took a rush up the ice and found Middendorf, who cut to the middle, lost the puck momentarily and then found an open Doan in the middle of the ice. Doan buried the shot to tie the game at 3–3.
In the 3-on-3 overtime, Doan finished off his hat trick on a nice 2-on-1 when Middendorf made a nice cross-ice pass to Doan, who beat Chauvette to end the contest. The goal gave Doan 13 on the season.
The Chaska, Minnesota, native Stark made 21 saves for the victory.