The Chicago Steel and Muskegon Lumberjacks have split one-goal games so far this series and skate on the Fox Valley Ice Arena rink for Games 3 and 4 this Friday and Saturday. If the first two games are any inclination into what fans can expect in the next two games, we are in for a real treat.
“We stole a game by tying it late and finding a way in overtime with a real nice play from Mastro (Robert Mastrosimone),” said Chicago forward Nick Abruzzese. “We got into some penalty troubles and it was important to get that game. It’s now a best-of-three series.”
Chicago has taken the five days between games to regroup and sharpen up their overall game in practice.
The team did not skate on Monday after a late night of travel back from Muskegon but will practice each day leading up to Friday’s game with the Lumberjacks.
“It’s been nice to have some time off to recover,” Abruzzese said. “If we stay out of the penalty box we can be very successful as a team. Five-on-five we can play fast through the neutral zone and use that to our advantage.”
With home-ice advantage back in the Steel’s favor, Friday will be a hard-fought contest between two very talented teams. Both Chicago and Muskegon are filled with next level players that have already been drafted or will hear their names called this summer.
Chicago Blackhawks fans can come out and get a look at two of their prospects already in the organization in Muskegon forward Mikael Hakkarainen and Chicago forward Josiah Slavin.
This year’s NHL Draft will most likely bring the names of Abruzzese, Mastrosimone, Egor Afanasyev, Jackson LaCombe and Alex Yakovenko to the forefront on draft night. However, both teams have plenty of unfinished business.
“Putting in the hard work and being recognized is pretty cool, but, at the same time, it does not mean anything for this weekend,” Abruzzese said. “I try to be the best player I can be and help our team win.”