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Manz Sparkles, Celebrini Gets First USHL Goal in 3-1 Comeback Win over Fargo

September 22, 2022 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - Chicago Steel News Release


CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, PENNSYLVANIA - The Chicago Steel (1-0-0-0; 2 pts.) waited until midway through the third period to ramp up the offensive pressure, completing a third-period comeback to top the Fargo Force (0-1-0-0; 0 pts.) by a 3-1 score at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex Thursday in the team's regular season opener.

Steel goaltender Christian Manz dazzled between the Steel pipes, making 31 stops including multiple high-danger chances to keep Chicago in the game before Mick Thompson, Macklin Celebrini and Nick Moldenhauer combined for the final three goals of the game in the third period.

Not even a minute into the season, Manz started the campaign with a dazzling stop. Force forward Cole Knuble one-touched a pass from Bret Link making Manz slide left to right, barely getting his right pad on the puck to keep the game scoreless on the first shift.

The goaltending display continued throughout the opening frame. With five minutes elapsed in the first, Brasen Boser lasered a wrister that was snagged by Manz with his glove on another golden chance for Fargo.

With the score tied 0-0 and less than 10 seconds on the clock in the first, the Steel were inches from capitalizing on an opportune bounce. Chicago forward Chris Delaney possessed the puck after it deflected near center ice, turning in on a breakaway. Delaney got Force netminder Anton Castro down but just missed the net high and wide as the period expired.

The second period was littered with power play chances for both teams as Manz continued his masterful performance in net. On a penalty kill, Force forward Tanner Walos was sprung on an abbreviated breakaway chance but Manz was equal to the task.

Moments later, on a Fargo power play, the Force won an offensive zone faceoff and worked the puck to the left corner. From there, the puck trickled in front of the cage where multiple players jammed at the puck, but Manz once again shut the door.

It took until the 15 minute mark of the second for Fargo to finally solved Manz as a shot from Boser was re-directed in front of the net by Cole Knuble, giving Manz no chance to react to the first marker of the season for the Force.

Manz turned away 22 Fargo shots through two periods before his teammates came to the rescue late in the third.

After another crucial stop by Manz as Fargo defenseman Joe Palodichuk breezed down the left side but was stonewalled by the Steel netminder, Cameron Johnson initiated the first Steel scoring play of the season.

Gaining the offensive zone on the left side and drifting towards the corner, Johnson spun a pass to Mick Thompson who was stationed in front of Castro to tap home the game-tying goal midway through the third.

With momentum on their side, the Steel went on a power play just over a minute after Thompson's goal that soon turned into an extended 5-on-3 advantage.

Breaking through for his first career USHL goal, Macklin Celebrini accepted a pass from Jayden Perron, walked down the left side of the offensive zone and unleased a laser shot past Castro to put the Steel ahead for the first time in the game.

With time becoming a factor under the two minute mark, Castro vacated the Force crease as Bret Link dashed in with a contested breakaway chance. Link never got a shot away as Chicago blueliner Jake Livanavage hustled back to tie up the Fargo skater, preventing a last-minute scoring chance.

On the ensuing sequence, Thompson earned his second point of the night when he won a board battle below the offensive zone blue line, chipping the puck to Nick Moldenhauer.

Moldenhauer got the point-blank tap-in to seal the 3-1 comeback win in a thrilling season opener for Chicago.

The Steel are back in action Friday at 1:30 pm CT against the reigning Clark Cup champions, the Sioux City Musketeers in both clubs' final game at the 2022 DICK'S Sporting Goods USHL Fall Classic.

Chicago faces off against Muskegon on the road on Friday, Sep. 30 before the home opener at Fox Valley Ice Arena on Saturday, Oct. 1 against the Green Bay Gamblers at 7:05 pm CT.

Saturday is Opening Night with Turtle Races courtesy of the St. Charles Park District. After the game, fans can take the ice to Skate with the Steel.

Tickets start at just $10 and are on sale now by calling 855-51-STEEL, purchasing at ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com or visiting the Steel box office at Fox Valley Ice Arena during business hours. Starting this season, all Steel tickets are now digital. To learn more, visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.

Season ticket plans starting at 5 games for just $50 and group tickets and experiences are on sale now by calling 855-51-STEEL or emailing info@ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.

Chicago Steel Upcoming Schedule presented by Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush:

Friday, September 23 vs. Sioux City Musketeers (DICK's Sporting Goods USHL Fall Classic - Cranberry Township, PA) 1:30 pm CT

Friday, September 30 at Muskegon Lumberjacks (6:10 pm CT)

Saturday, October 1 vs. Green Bay Gamblers (7:05 pm CT) Turtle Races Courtesy of St. Charles Park District | Post-Game Skate with the Steel

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