Steel get five unanswered goals in rout
By BOB ETTINGER
The Chicago Steel weren’t going to have a repeat of Friday night’s loss to the Youngstown Phantoms. The Steel made sure of that in a 7-2 victory in United States Hockey League action at Covelli Centre on Saturday night.
The Phantoms battled back from a pair of two-goal deficits on Friday to stun the Steel. On Saturday, Youngstown gave up five unanswered goals in the loss.
“Any time you have a lead, you always want to stick the dagger in,” Phantoms coach Brad Patterson said. “I’m sure there was a sour taste in their mouth when the game ended [Friday night]. Those were two teams after each other. Everyone want’s blood. They weren’t taking their foot off the gas, as I wouldn’t want us to, either. We have to battle back.”
Brett Murray gave the Phantoms (10-10-0-3) the lead on assists from Ben Schoen and Connor McEachern just more than five minutes into the first period. Nick Abruzzese tied it at 1 just more than a minute later for the Steel (14-9-1-0) and started an onslaught.
Chicago added four more tallies off the sticks of Gunnarwolfe Fontaine, Josh Groll, Travis Treloar and Adam Robbins in building a 5-1 advantage with 9:20 to play in the second period.
“They’re a team that skates extremely well, as good as or better than any team,” Patterson said. “Their second wave of offense was beating our team up the ice. That leads to chances you don’t want to give up.”
Trevor Kuntar’s goal with 8:14 to play in the second had the Phantoms headed back in the right direction, but the Steel had an answer.
Owen Power and Neil Shea found the back of the net and Chicago led, 7-2, entering the third.
The Phantoms were outshot, 37-19, and couldn’t generate many effective threats.
“That’s part of the equation as a staff that tonight we still have to figure out,” Patterson said. “It’s tough to generate offense when you don’t have the puck on your stick.”
Though the third period was uneventful in terms of the scoreboard, there was plenty of action as the squads faced off in a handful of altercations over those final 20 minutes as temperatures boiled.
The Steel remain in town to close out the series today (5 p.m.) after three games in the Windy City and two more in Youngstown.
“Let’s face it,” Patterson said. “Our guys just got punched in the mouth. We want to put our best foot forward and come back. We had a three and three and I’m sure both teams are sick of one another. This is the last one before break. My expectation is a hard-fought game.”