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Cloutier Stops 43 Shots as Steel Fall in Shootout

February 23, 2024 - United States Hockey League (USHL)
Chicago Steel News Release

YOUNGSTOWN, OH - A first-period goal from Michael Hagens stood as the only score for 32 minutes before Youngstown tied the game and won it in a shootout as the Chicago Steel (19-19-3-4, 45 pts.) dropped a tough 2-1 loss to the Youngstown Phantoms (24-13-4-3, 55 pts.) at the Covelli Centre Friday night.

Steel goaltender Louka Cloutier was remarkable in the crease, making 43 saves on 44 shots and stopping four of six Youngstown shootout attempts.

Michael Hagens scored the only Steel goal in regulation, his fifth of the season, with assists from Michael Hage and Mick Thompson, their 25th and 28th assists, respectively.

The Steel earned a point for the 15th time in 17 games. Chicago has played more overtime games (15) than any other team in the league but has won just one of five games that have proceeded to a shootout.

Despite getting stuck in their own end several times early in the game due to the Phantoms' aggressive forecheck, the Steel managed to get on the board first in Friday's game.

Charlie Major used his pristine puck-handling to work around the offensive zone, keep the play alive, and give a pass to Thompson. Thompson dished to the left circle for Hage who dropped a pass up to the blue line where Hagens one-timed a shot through traffic to get the Steel on the board.

Chicago was assessed a pair of penalties in the opening frame, but the penalty kill, which struggled in a three-game homestand last week, killed each one off to keep the Steel ahead after a period of play.

A penalty against the Phantoms late in the period allowed the Steel power play to work with a fresh sheet of ice for half a minute to start the second frame, but Youngstown kept Chicago off the board.

The Steel and Cloutier held steady for another 32 minutes before a fluky play allowed the Phantoms to score their first goal.

After struggling to move the puck up ice and out of their own end, a bouncing puck was sent on net by Zach Morin and was deflected by Sam Ranallo past Cloutier to tie the game at one.

Ranallo was inches away from scoring his second goal of the night and giving the Phantoms the lead following a chance in front of the net, but Cloutier miraculously made the stop.

Tensions spilled over at the end of the second period, and the Steel were penalized for a roughing penalty that gave the Phantoms two full minutes of power play time to start the third period.

The Phantoms outshot the Steel 13-2 in the second period, tying a season-low for shots in a single period. Youngstown was up 25-9 in shots through 40 minutes.

Even with a fresh sheet of ice, the Steel again held up against Youngtown's power play to start the final period of regulation and keep the game tied.

Five minutes into the third, the Steel survived a heavy push from Youngstown and turned it into a breakaway chance for Thompson, but he was denied by Phantoms goaltender Aiden Wright.

Major created a turnover before the Phantoms could exit their end, resulting in a three-on-one chance for the Steel, but Hage sent a blistering shot wide of the net.

The Phantoms continued to pummel Cloutier with shots for the remainder of the third, eventually finishing the period with 16 shots, but the rookie goalie heroically stopped each one to extend the game to overtime.

Friday was the most back-and-forth overtime period the Steel had in their league-high 15 OT matchups, with each club getting a healthy number of looks in extra time, but the goaltending battle continued as neither team scored.

The game moved to a shootout, the fifth for both the Steel and Phantoms this season, and Cloutier and Wright continued to put on a show.

After Thompson and Grant Young scored for their respective teams in the second round, both goalies made saves in the third, fourth, and fifth rounds before Wright stopped Michael Emerson in the sixth round, and Zach Morin scored in the bottom half to lift the Phantoms to a 2-1 shootout win.

The Steel will close out the weekend with their final regular-season matchup with Youngstown on Saturday, February 24 at 7:05 pm ET.

After a road matchup against Green Bay on Friday, March 1, the Steel will return home for a pair of games on Saturday, March 2 at 7:05 pm CT and Sunday, March 3 at 3:05 pm CT.

March 2 is the 6th Annual Wiener Dog Races presented by PetSuites, where up to 20 low-flying pups will compete for the title of Top Dog.

The Steel will celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday on March 3, which is a Steel Family Pack game where fans can get four tickets, four hot dogs, four chips, four sodas/waters and four Chuck-A-Pucks starting at just $60.

Single game tickets are on sale now starting at just $10. All Steel tickets are digital and fans are encouraged to purchase online in advance at

For a limited time, fans can take advantage of the team's Ticket Plan Madness promotion to receive free regular season and playoff games for this season plus other benefits when signing up for a new ticket plan for the 2024-2025 season. Ticket plans start at just 5 games for $50.

For more information, call 855-51-STEEL or visit

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