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Gamblers Outlast Steel to Take 1-0 Series Lead

April 16, 2024 - United States Hockey League (USHL)
Chicago Steel News Release

GREEN BAY, WI - In a game that reached both a high level of physicality and featured a plethora of scoring, the Chicago Steel trailed by as many as three goals and drew within one twice in the third period before dropping Game 1 of the best-of-three First Round series to the Green Bay Gamblers, 6-5.

Green Bay leads the series 1-0 with Game 2 scheduled for Tuesday, April 16.

Ben Yurchuk scored Chicago's first goal of the playoffs on a sweet breakaway score in the first period. Mick Thompson added a goal in the second. Kolin Sisson, Michael Hage, and Reid Conn each added goals in a thrilling third period.

Goaltender Quentin Sigurdson made 27 stops in the loss.

The first playoff matchup between Chicago and Green Bay offered an entertaining opening frame that saw five uninterrupted minutes of hockey without a whistle.

Sigurdson was peppered with Green Bay shots for a long span in the first few minutes and stopped each one to keep the game scoreless.

The home team got the first goal of the series when Jayson Shaugabay received a backdoor pass from Libor Nemec and tapped into the open net to get Green Bay on the board.

The lead for the Gamblers lasted just 40 seconds as Chicago showed grittiness it displayed all season long.

After a point shot was blocked, Yurchuk picked up the loose puck and skated in on a breakaway, going backhand to forehand and tucking a shot past Gamblers netminder Adam Gajan to tie the game.

Shots in the first period were close, with Green Bay leading 9-7.

The Gamblers opened the second frame with an extra spurt of energy and took the lead back at 8:19 of the frame on a Lukas Peterson shot from the point through traffic to make it 2-1.

The home squad doubled down and added another to take a two-goal lead on Lev Katzin's tally at 13:40 of the second, making it 3-1.

Green Bay continued to stave off the Steel until Chicago broke through with under four minutes remaining in the period.

Michael Hage received a pass and skated into the low slot before getting tripped to the ice and falling into the net. The puck ricocheted off Gajan and rattled around the crease before it bounced off the skate of Thompson and into the back of the net.

The officials went to review the play and overturned the call, awarding Thompson his first goal of the playoffs.

The intensity took a hefty jump in the second period, with both teams finishing every check. Reid Conn made the loudest hit of the second period on Nemec who was exiting Green Bay's zone, but Conn was called for a head contact penalty.

Chicago killed the first minute of the penalty, with one full minute of power play time left for the Gamblers to start the third period.

The second half of the power play went in Green Bay's favor, as Julian Lutz scored just 15 seconds into the third period to make it 4-2.

The Gamblers seemingly put the game out of reach at the time with another early score 1:07 after the power play tally as Peterson added his second goal of the game to give Green Bay a commanding three-goal lead.

That's when the Steel bit down on their mouthguards and started their comeback effort.

At 4:02 of the third, Sisson scooped the puck after a Gamblers defenseman fell in the Green Bay zone. Sisson skated to the right faceoff circle and released a wicked snapshot over the left shoulder of Gajan, who was hugging the left post, that brought the Steel back within two.

Four minutes later, the Gamblers were assessed a hooking penalty off an offensive chance that gave Chicago the chance to draw within one.

Only 16 seconds into the man advantage, Hage received a pass from Michael Hagens who evaded defenders and moved behind the net. Hage skated in from the point and sent a wrist shot to the blocker side of Gajan for a power play tally that made it 5-4.

The momentum was immediately shot down, however, as the Gamblers responded just eight seconds later on a goal from Ryan Humphrey to regain a two-goal lead.

The Steel continued to try and scratch and claw their way back and did so at 10:49 of the period after Charlie Major found Conn at the backdoor who rifled a shot to make it a 6-5 game.

Chicago worked tirelessly to find the tying goal, but the Gamblers fended off the Steel in the waning moments to capture Game 1, 6-5.

Green Bay can advance with a win in Game 2 on Tuesday. Chicago will need a win to keep its season alive and force a deciding Game 3 on Wednesday.

Group tickets and experiences are on sale now for potential Eastern Conference Semifinals playoff home games.

Season ticket plans for the 2024-2025 season are now on sale starting at just 5 games for just $50. As part of the team's "Ticket Plan Madness" campaign, for a limited time, fans that secure a new season ticket plan for next season may receive complimentary tickets for playoff games this season.

For more information, call 855-51-STEEL.

Chicago Steel Upcoming Schedule presented by Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush:

First Round (best-of-three series)

#6 Steel at #3 Green Bay

Game 1: Green Bay 6, Chicago 5 | Monday, April 15

Game 2: Chicago at Green Bay, Tuesday, April 16, 7:05 pm

Game 3: Chicago at Green Bay, Wednesday, April 17, 7:05 pm (if necessary)

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