Playing in the first outdoor game in franchise history, the Chicago Steel (23-4-1-0, 47 pts) took down the Green Bay Gamblers (12-13-1-3, 28 pts) by a 7-2 score in the final game of the inaugural 2020 USHL Frosty Cup. The victory extended Chicago’s season-best win streak to nine games.
The weather was sunny and 59 degrees as teams took extra time during warmups to appreciate the sights and sounds of getting to play at the historic Cotton Bowl before getting to the game action.
The first goal of the evening came from the stick of rookie Josh Doan, just over three minutes into the opening frame. The Scottsdale, Ariz., native parked himself in front of Green Bay netminder Gavin Enright, putting an initial shot on net which was stopped by the Gambler goalie. After gathering his own rebound, Doan tucked home his third marker of the season, giving the Steel a 1-0 edge.
Sam Colangelo kicked off his stellar performance at the historic stadium with help from a Mackie Samoskevich pass, sending Colangelo on a breakaway halfway through the first period. The Northeastern University-bound forward kept the puck on his forehand the whole way, chose the five-hole and beat Enright to extend the Chicago lead to 2-0.
After the physical play picked up, Chicago’s top-ranked power play unit got a chance to shine. Rookie forward Brendan Brisson went to his favorite spot, the right circle, clapping home a one-timer on a pass from Gunnarwolfe Fontaine. With the goal, Brisson reached the 30-point mark (15G, 15A) for the season.
The Gamblers tried to climb back into the contest when Nicholas Zabaneh circled behind the net and found Kyler Grundy positioned perfectly on the right side of the crease. Grundy popped the back of the net with one touch before Chicago netminder Ian Shane could slide to make the save and brought Green Bay to a 3-1 deficit before time ran out on the opening frame.
Following the intermission, Chicago broke the Gambler momentum on Colangelo’s second breakaway goal of the night. After his opening period goal on a wrister, the Stoneham, Mass., native decided to make a move to his backhand, pushing the lead to 4-1 in favor of the Steel.
A beautiful passing play from Luke Reid and Tyler Carpenter set up a rocket from the stick of Matt Coronato. Reid circled behind the left side of the net and threw a backhand pass that was tipped by Carpenter to Coronato. A sweet release on a wrister gave Coronato his 10th goal of the season and third marker in his last two outings.
Chicago took a 5-1 advantage into the second intermission but wasn’t done with the offensive showcase.
Forward Gunnarwolfe Fontaine netted his 16th goal of the season after he came down the right side on the offensive zone, letting go a rocket from the top of the right circle. With the tally, Fontaine has reached the back of the net in four consecutive contests.
Following Green Bay’s second goal of the night, Sam Colangelo put the icing on the cake as he picked up a puck along the half-boards on the left side of the Steel offensive zone. Colangelo carried the puck to the middle of the zone and tickled the twine with a wrister, capping his first career USHL hat trick and his career-high with four points (3G, 1A).
The Steel goaltending tandem combined to turn away 23 shots in the victory. Ian Shane made 9 saves to earn the win before a planned switch with Victor Ostman making 14 stops to close the game.
Chicago extended its record when scoring first to a perfect 17-0-0-0 this year with the win, the 16th victory in the team’s last 17 games.
The Steel return to home ice for Superheroes Night on Fri., Jan. 10 against the Dubuque Fighting Saints. The contest is a Raising Cane’s Kids Day, a special $10 ticket deal for kids ages 12 and under.