The Chicago Steel take to the road for the final time in the 2020-2021 regular season, facing off against the Youngstown Phantoms on Thursday, April 15 at 5:05 pm CT at Covelli Centre and finish their road slate with a 7:05 pm CT start time on Saturday, April 17 against the Green Bay Gamblers at Resch Center in Wisconsin.
Chicago currently sits in first place in the Eastern Conference, six points ahead of the Muskegon Lumberjacks as the team looks to solidify home ice advantage in the Clark Cup Playoffs. Chicago is currently ten points ahead of the Tri-City Storm, the current first place team in the Western Conference.
The USHL recently announced that playoff seeding will be determined based on points percentage if not every team plays the maximum 54 regular season games. The Steel currently hold a .730 points percentage, with Tri-City (.685) second and Muskegon (.684) third overall in the USHL. Not only will the team with the top points percentage earn home ice throughout the playoffs, but will also win the Anderson Cup for the league’s regular season championship.
Thursday’s clash against Youngstown is the fourth consecutive meeting between the clubs and the finale of a 12-game series during the season. The Steel recently swept a three-game set on home ice at Fox Valley Ice Arena with a 4-0 shutout on April 9 and a pair of 5-1 victories on April 10 & 11.
Netminder Simon Latkoczy recorded his first USHL shutout with a 16-save performance on Friday and followed that effort with 28 saves in Sunday’s 5-1 victory.
Steel rookie forward Adam Fantilli netted a hat trick with the final three goals of a 5-1 win on April 10, all goals coming within seven minutes of each other.
The Phantoms’ leading scorer, Georgii Merkulov, did not appear in the three-game set against the Steel. In seven previous outings against Chicago, the 5-foot-10, 163-pound forward accounted for 10 points (5G, 5A). Long Grove, Ill., native, Jack Silich, tallied both of Youngstown’s goals on the weekend.
Green Bay, currently riding a four-game win streak, will face the Steel in the middle of a busy four-game stretch over six days for the Gamblers. Green Bay hosts the Dubuque Fighting Saints on April 14, Team USA on April 16, the Steel on April 17 and the Fighting Saints once again on April 19.
The Gamblers have all but locked up third place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Chicago holds a 7-2-0-0 mark in nine games against Green Bay this season, led by Sean Farrell and Matt Coronato, each with 14 points against the Gamblers during the 2020-2021 slate. Farrell tallied back-to-back three point games (1G, 2A) in a 7-2 win on Feb. 5 and a 9-3 victory on Feb. 6, while Coronato matched a career-best with five points (3G, 2A) in the win on Feb. 6.
Gamblers forward and former Steel Jake Schmaltz is the only Green Bay skater to reach double digits in points against the Steel this season. The McFarland, Wis., native has tallied 10 points (3G, 7A) in nine games against Chicago, his former team. Schmaltz was selected by the Boston Bruins’ seventh round selection (#192 overall) in the 2019 NHL Draft.
After the road swing, the Steel return to Fox Valley Ice Arena on April 23 & 24 for Fan Appreciation Weekend presented by Xfinity with Steel puck giveaway (first 250 fans). The two-game set against the Muskegon Lumberjacks is set for 7:05 pm CT puck drops on both Friday and Saturday night.
Tickets for all remaining regular season home game are on sale now by calling 855-51-STEEL, visiting ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com or at the Steel Box Office open at 10 a.m. on the day of each home game.
Chicago Steel Upcoming Games presented by Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush:
Thursday, April 15 at Youngstown Phantoms (5:05 pm CT)
Saturday, April 17 at Green Bay Gamblers (7:05 pm CT)
Friday, April 23 vs. Muskegon Lumberjacks (7:05 pm CT) Fan Appreciation Weekend presented by Xfinity with Steel puck giveaway (first 250 fans)
For more information, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.