The Chicago Steel romped to the United States Hockey League’s best record this season, and they’re hoping to ride that momentum all the way to a Clark Cup championship, as the Steel knocked off the Muskegon Lumberjacks 5-4 on Saturday to capture the Eastern Conference title.
The win gave the Steel a sweep in the best-of-three series, and set up a Clark Cup Final series against the Fargo Force, which will get underway at the Fox Valley Ice Arena on Friday evening.
Here is the schedule for the series:
Game 1: May 14 7:05 p.m. Force at Steel, 7:05 p.m.
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Game 2: May 15 7:05 p.m. Force at Steel, 7:05 p.m.
Game 3: May 21 7:05 p.m. Steel at Force, 7:05 p.m.
Game 4*: May 22 6:05 p.m. Steel at Force, 7:05 p.m.
Game 5*: May 25 7:05 p.m. Force at Steel, 7:05 p.m.
*- if necessary
The Steel led early in the game on a goal by Adam Fantilli in the first period, but the Lumberjacks refused to go away, taking a 4-3 lead late in the second period.
Matt Coronato scored the game-tying goal with just 13 seconds left in the second period, and Fantilli came through again eight minutes into the third period, scoring the go-ahead goal that helped the Steel to the Eastern Conference title.
The Steel last won the Clark Cup during the 2016-17 season, while the Force won the championship the following season. This will mark the first time that the two teams have met in the playoffs, according to a press release from the Steel.
Chicago’s scoring attack has been largely paced by forward Matt Coronato, who has six goals and three assists in just four playoff games. Mackie Samoskevich has been a huge help in distributing the puck for the Steel, with a team-high seven assists in the four playoff games, and defenseman Ryan Ufko has contributed five helpers, including three on the power play.
Coronato’s dominance is just a continuation of what he did during the regular season, with 48 goals to his credit in 51 games with the Steel. He was one of three 30-goal scorers for the Steel, with Josh Doan and Erik Middendorf both cracking that plateau as well.
Sean Farrell, who had 29 goals and 72 assists for a team-high 101 points for the Steel, has a goal and three assists in four playoff games.
Fans interested in attending the Clark Cup Final can visit the Steel’s website, or call 855-51-STEEL.