The Steel Deal: Abruzzese registers five points in win, teams head to Cedar Rapids tied 1–1


Chicago 6, Cedar Rapids 3

Center Nick Abruzzese registered five points in a 6–3 victory over the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in game one of the Eastern Conference semifinal matchup. Abruzzese scored twice and assisted on three Steel goals to help secure the game one game victory.

Chicago opened the scoring when defenseman Matteo Pietroniro fired a shot from the point which found its way through a screen, beating Cedar Rapids goaltender Blake Pietila. Pietroniro’s goals was assisted by defenseman Jimmy Dowd and Abruzzese.

Cedar Rapids tied the game when forward Jerry Harding beat Steel goaltender Justin Robbins tying the game at 1–1 midway through the opening period.

Harding would not be done for the evening, scoring his third goal of the playoffs and second of the game, beating Robbins shorthanded to give the RoughRiders their only lead of the evening at 2 – 1.

With the early second period goal which gave Cedar Rapids the lead, Chicago scored three straight goals to take a 4–2 lead mid-way through the period.

Defenseman John Spetz opened the barrage with a nice goal assisted by Abruzzese and Neil Shea firing a shot past Pietila.

Forward Christian Sarlo scored only 37 seconds before Abruzzese to extend the Chicago lead to two goals. Sarlo buried a nice feed from forward Travis Treloar, while Abruzzese scored on a Pietila rebound off a shot from forward Robert Mastrosimone.

Cedar Rapids scored with 36 seconds remaining in the second period to cut the Steel lead to 4–3 when forward Max Sasson scored his second goal of the playoffs.

The third period would be all Chicago’s when Shea and Abruzzese scored to extend the Steel lead to 6–3 and earning Robbins the victory in net, stopping 23 RoughRiders shots. Abruzzese and Mastrosimone both finished the game +5 after dominating most shifts while on the ice.

Cedar Rapids 4, Chicago 3 (OT)

Chicago looked to retain home-ice advantage with another victory against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders but came up short in overtime 4–3. RoughRider forward Aidan McDonough was the backbreaker scoring both the game-tying and game-winning goals, giving the Northeastern University commit three goals in this season’s playoffs.

Defenseman Will Zmolek scored the night’s first goal for the RoughRiders beating Robbins for a power play goal after Chicago defenseman Owen Power was sent off for hooking.

The Steel bounced right back tying the game at 1–1 when Mastrosimone beat Pietila with his first goal of the playoffs. The goal, assisted by Abruzzese, was countered only a few seconds later when forward Liam Walsh scored for the RoughRiders.

With just over a minute until the first intermission, Shea scored his second of the playoffs to tie the game at 2–2 with a pretty goal assisted by Mastrosimone and Dowd.

Finnish defenseman Uula Ruikka put the Steel on top for the first time in the game, beating Pietila with a shot through traffic that appeared to deflect off a RoughRider in front.

The lead would not be for long as McDonough tied the game only eleven seconds later. Both teams shared chances in the third period, when Chicago outshot the opponents 10–4, but both teams would not find the back of the net.

At the 9:22 mark of overtime, McDonough registered his second goal of the evening, on the power play, deflecting a puck past Robbins for the game-winning goal.

With the series tied 1 – 1, Chicago travels to Cedar Rapids for a pair of games on Tuesday and Wednesday, both starting at 7:05 p.m. CT at Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.


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