Third Period Rally Propels Steel to 5-3 Victory
LINCOLN, NEBRASKA - The Chicago Steel (6-1-0-0, 12 pts.) erased a 3-1 deficit nearly midway through the third period to defeat the Lincoln Stars (3-4-0-0, 6 pts.) 5-3 on Saturday night at the Ice Box. Chicago forward Jack Dugan scored twice late in regulation, including the game-winner as the Steel won their fifth game in a row.
Forward Blake McLaughlin put up three points (1+2) on the night and goaltender Oskar Autio made 28 saves for his sixth win in as many starts.
The Steel fell behind in the first period after surrendering the first goal of the game for the first time this season. At 13:02 of the first period, Stars forward Philippe Lapointe sent a shot from the left circle into the back of the net to give Lincoln the 1-0 lead.
The Stars extended their lead to 2-0 in the second period when former Steel forward Austen Long slid a shot past Autio's left pad for a power play goal at 11:18.
The Steel sprung to life after Long's goal and McLaughlin's rebound was jammed in from the top of the crease by Jordan Seyfert with 5:15 remaining in the period to cut the lead to 2-1.
The Stars restored their two-goal lead 4:45 into the third period when forward Josiah Slavin tallied his second goal of the season, corralling a bouncing puck in the low slot and firing it past Autio.
Trailing once again by two goals, the Steel started rolling just before the halfway mark of the final frame. It began with a Lincoln turnover behind its own net. With forward Samuel Bucek pressuring, Lincoln turned the puck over to Steel forward Aaro Vidgren who netted his fifth goal of the season off to cut the Stars' lead to 3-2. Less than a minute later, McLaughlin tied the game with his third goal of the season. Bucek's forechecking efforts led to a pass from behind the net to McLaughlin, who buried a wrist shot with less than 10 minutes remaining.
Chicago continued the period with sustained pressure leading to Dugan blasting a shot past Lincoln goalie Tomas Vomacka from the right circle with five minutes remaining to put the Steel on top for the first time all night.
Dugan sealed the 5-3 victory for the Steel with an empty net goal and his second marker of the night with 1:46 remaining. The Rochester, N.Y., native now has eight goals in seven games this season and is tied for the USHL lead in goals and points (10).
Following a pair of wins this weekend, the Steel sit alone atop Eastern Conference standings through the season's first month.
Next week, the Steel return to home ice for a pair of games against the Green Bay Gamblers on Friday, Nov. 3 and Saturday, Nov. 4. Both games begin at 7:05 p.m., with the first 500 fans at each game receiving a Steel magnet schedule. Nov. 4 will also feature a 25th Anniversary Celebration of The Mighty Ducks. The weekend then closes with a Sunday, Nov. 5 game at the Central Illinois Flying Aces, to be played at the Peoria Civic Center at 4:07 p.m. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 855-51-STEEL, stop by the Box Office at Fox Valley Ice Arena or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.
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United States Hockey League Stories from October 29, 2017
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