For the first time ever, the Chicago Steel are USHL champions as they hoisted the Clark Cup after defeating the Sioux City Musketeers 3-2 in a winner-take-all Game 5 on Tuesday night.
Forward Tyler Gratton, who had been held without a point in the first 13 games of the Clark Cup playoffs, scored the game-winning goal in overtime to give the Steel their first ever championship.
Eduards Tralmaks, who scored a goal in Tuesday’s game and tallied 10 total during the postseason, was named as the MVP of the Clark Cup Playoffs. Jack Badini was the leading scorer among all players in the playoffs, as he racked up seven goals and 10 assists in 14 games played.
The Steel’s road to the championship wasn’t an easy one, as they faced elimination on two different occasions. In the first round against Youngstown, the Steel faced a winner-take-all Game 5 at the Fox Valley Ice Arena, but they were able to get goals from Badini and Derek Daschke en route to a 2-0 victory.
The Steel took care of Dubuque in four games to advance to their first ever Clark Cup Final, and they then split the first two games of the final series against Sioux City on the road. The Steel had an opportunity to close things out on home ice on Saturday, but they couldn’t get the job done as the Musketeers won 5-4 to force a deciding game on Tuesday night.
That game saw the Musketeers take a 1-0 lead in the first period as they outshot the Steel by a hefty 18-3 margin, but Chicago stormed back in the second period. Tralmaks tied the game at 1-1 with five minutes to go in the frame, and Ales Stezka stopped all 11 shots he faced to keep the game knotted up.
After a scoreless third period, Gratton played the role of hero in overtime, scoring 11 and a half minutes into the extra session, with Chicago-native Graham Lillibridge and Austen Long providing the assists on the Cup-clinching goal.