Steel Stymied by Gambler Offense in 7-4 Loss
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN -- Wednesday night's clash between the Chicago Steel (2-2-0-0, 4 pts) and Green Bay Gamblers (4-1-0-1, 9 pts.) featured both teams' offenses catching fire in short bursts, but it was the Gamblers who outlasted the Steel for a 7-4 victory at Resch Center in Green Bay.
The weeknight contest got off to a rocky start for the visiting team. Just as the last two contests against Green Bay on Nov. 20 & 21 began, the Gamblers broke onto the scoreboard first with a goal from Jackson Hallum, making his USHL debut with Green Bay.
The 3rd Round selection (#91 Overall) of the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2020 NHL Draft streaked up the left side boards and tucked a shot past Steel netminder Ian Shane, just short of two minutes into his first league action.
Chicago had a chance to even up the odds when Mackie Samoskevich let go a wrister on a Steel rush shortly after Hallum's goal. Samoskevich's shot rang off the post keeping the one- goal lead intact for Green Bay.
The Gamblers took advantage of the Steel near-miss when Hallum once again received a lead pass, speeding in on the left side to score his second of the night in a replica of his first marker.
Green Bay kept up its early momentum, extending the lead to 3-0 just short of seven minutes into the game. Former Steel forward Jake Schmaltz tallied his fourth goal of the year after battling in front of the net. Defenseman Mason Lohrei fired a shot that was fought off by Shane with the blocker but bounced over the crease and onto the stick of Schmaltz for the tap-in goal.
After three consecutive markers from the home team to open the game, Chicago answered back with three straight tallies of its own. The Steel finally got a desperately-needed goal from Mackie Samoskevich to halt the Gamblers attack. The USHL leader in assists tallied his first goal of the season on a power play in the first period.
The University of Michigan commit patiently carried the puck up the left-wing boards towards the Steel blue line then cut to the slot and fired a puck past Gambler netminder Matt Davis.
The power play tally seemed to calm the onslaught from Green Bay as the chances began to even up. Chicago looked content to head to the locker room only chasing two goals but Matt Coronato had a trick up his sleeve late in the opening frame. The Harvard University-bound forward walked his own blue line and gathered speed through the neutral zone, powering his way past two Gamblers defenders to put a shot on net from the goal line. The puck trickled past Davis and the Steel went to the intermission only down one.
Steel forward Sean Farrell, the 4th round selection (#124 Overall) of the Montreal Canadiens in the 2020 NHL Draft, tied the game at 3-3 with his fourth goal of the year, a wrister from the right circle on a power play.
The momentum gained by the Steel was short-lived as Green Bay took control of the game with four straight goals through the second and third period.
Schmaltz kicked off the scoring binge as he notched his second marker of the night just over a minute after the game-tying goal from Chicago.
Lohrei extended the Green Bay advantage to two when he poked home a rebound with two minutes remaining in the middle frame, giving the Gamblers a 5-3 advantage going into the final 20 minutes of action.
Keeping their foot on the gas pedal, Hallum completed his hat trick just past five minutes into the 3rd period and Alex Servagno capped the Gamblers scoring for the evening with his first tally of the season.
In a span of 17 minutes, the game went from tied 3-3 to a 7-3 Green Bay advantage. Steel captain Erik Middendorf added a goal late in the third period as he battled in front of the net to tuck home a power play rebound for Chicago.
When the dust settled, a 3-for-5 (60.0%) performance with the man advantage was not enough production for Chicago.
The 7-4 Gamblers victory was the first regular season win for Green Bay over Chicago since Oct. 11, 2019, snapping a streak of six consecutive Steel victories.
After the Thanksgiving holiday, Chicago wraps up a stretch of three games in four days with a back-to-back weekend set against Team USA. The U17 club faces off against the Steel on Nov. 27 before the U18 team matches up against Chicago the following night.
Saturday's clash with Team USA will mark the return of former Steel head coach, Dan Muse, to Fox Valley Ice Arena. The current Team USA (U18) bench boss guided the Steel to their first Clark Cup title in 2017 before being hired as an assistant coach by the Nashville Predators.
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: Friday, November 27 vs. Team USA (U17) (7:05 pm CT) Saturday, November 28 vs. Team USA (U18) (7:05 pm CT) Friday, December 4 at Dubuque Fighting Saints (7:05 pm CT) For more information, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.
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United States Hockey League Stories from November 25, 2020
- Steel Stymied by Gambler Offense in 7-4 Loss - Chicago Steel
- Herd Claims 4-2 Victory over Bucs Wednesday - Sioux Falls Stampede
- Hallum Nets a Hat Trick in First USHL Game - Green Bay Gamblers
- Weekly Preview: Busy Thanksgiving Weekend Begins Tonight - Chicago Steel
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