Steel Fall 5-2 to Youngstown
YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO - The Chicago Steel (15-4-2-0; 32 pts.) suffered a 5-2 loss at the hands of the Youngstown Phantoms (5-13-0-1; 11 pts.), ending an eight-game winning streak against the Eastern Conference foes.
The Phantoms scored first but Chicago was able to grab the lead before Youngstown tallied the final four goals of the game to seal the victory, their first against Chicago since Nov. 1, 2019.
After his USHL record, 28-game point streak was snapped on Friday night, Matt Coronato got back in the scoring column, netting his 18th marker of the season.
Steel captain Erik Middendorf added a goal of his own, pushing his season total to 17, just one behind Coronato for the USHL lead.
Youngstown captain Reilly Funk started the Phantoms on the right foot, re-directing a shot from the point to take a 1-0 lead late in the opening frame.
The Phantoms were poised to take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission but a barrage of penalties with less than two minutes remaining in the period led to the first Steel goal of the game.
After a scrum in the Chicago defensive zone after the whistle sent the Steel to a man advantage, Coronato lasered home the equalizer off a feed from Sean Farrell, a rocket wrist shot from the high slot that beat Youngstown netminder Kyle Chauvette.
The second period was as action-packed with physicality from both teams taking center stage.
With the score still knotted at 1-1, Phantoms forward Will Hillman took exception to a check from Sean Farrell and Josh Doan, dropping the gloves with Doan behind the Steel net early in the period.
The scrap resulted in a 5-on-3 opportunity for the Steel, a chance that Erik Middendorf used to his advantage. The Michigan State commit put the Steel ahead 2-1 with another shot from the high slot.
Youngstown answered as time ticked down in the middle frame with a marker from Georgii Merkulov. The Russian forward put a puck on net that took a fortunate bounce off a Steel defender in front and past Chicago goaltender Nick Haas to tie the game at 2-2 late in the second. Merkulov has reached the scoresheet in all six matchups against the Steel this season.
With the majority of the contest's penalty minutes coming in the second period, the Steel served a season-high 31 PIMs while the Phantoms were assessed 58 penalty minutes, the most of any team against Chicago this season.
Tempers cooled in the final frame as the Phantoms took control of the game.
An early marker from newly-acquired defenseman Winter Wallace started Youngstown on a three-goal third period, tied for the most markers given up in the third by the Steel this season.
Yusaku Ando netted his first goal of the season just four minutes later to extend the lead to 4-2 for the home team.
Facing a two-goal deficit with just under 10 minutes to play, Funk netted his second goal of the night and iced the game for the Phantoms just before the Steel were able to kill off a 5-on-3 penalty.
The Steel held Youngstown to 21 shots but Chicago could only muster 20 shots of their own.
After failing to capitalize on the man advantage on Friday night, Chicago scored two power play goals in five chances in the loss.
The Steel and Phantoms close the weekend set with a Sunday afternoon matchup at 3:05 pm CT at Covelli Centre in Ohio.
Chicago takes on the Muskegon Lumberjacks in another three-game set scheduled for next weekend, starting with a road contest on Jan. 29 at 6:00 pm CT in Michigan and concluding with two home games at Fox Valley Ice Arena on Jan. 30 at 7:05 pm CT and Jan. 31 at 3:05 pm CT.
Chicago Steel games may be heard on Mixlr at http://mixlr.com/chicago-steel/ (AUDIO) and video may be streamed on available devices through HockeyTV at www.hockeytv.com (VIDEO).
Chicago Steel Upcoming Games presented by Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush:
Sunday, January 24 at Youngstown Phantoms (3:05 pm CT)
Friday, January 29 at Muskegon Lumberjacks (6:00 pm CT)
Saturday, January 30 vs Muskegon Lumberjacks (7:05 pm CT) presented by Geneva Family Dental
For more information, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.
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