Chicago Steel Advance to 5-Game Clark Cup Championship Series
For the second time in team history, the Chicago Steel — Kane County’s very own hockey team — has advanced to the Clark Cup final.
The Steel advanced to the championship series for the second time in the last three seasons by virtue of a 3-2 overtime win on Saturday night, closing out a 3-games-to-1 Eastern Conference Final over the Muskegon Lumberjacks.
The Steel will take on the Western Conference Champion Sioux Falls Stampede in a best-of-five series beginning Friday, May 10, and Sunday, May 12, in Sioux Falls before the Steel host Game 3 on Friday, May 17 and, if necessary, Game 4 on Saturday, May 18.
Tickets are now on sale for the May 17 home game. The first 1,500 people each game will receive a Clark Cup Final Rally Towel.
Tickets start at just $10, and sit right on the glass in stadium seating for just $20. Plus, parking is always free.
Single game tickets may be purchased in person at the Steel Box Office, by phone at 855-51-STEEL or online at ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.
Clark Cup Final (Best-of-Five Series)
- Game 1: Chicago at Sioux Falls – Friday, May 10 at 7:05 p.m. (Denny Sanford PREMIER Center)
- Game 2: Chicago at Sioux Falls – Sunday, May 12 at 7:05 p.m. (Denny Sanford PREMIER Center)
- Game 3: Sioux Falls at Chicago – Friday, May 17 at 7:05 p.m. (Fox Valley Ice Arena)
- Game 4*: Sioux Falls at Chicago – Saturday, May 18 at 7:05 p.m. (Fox Valley Ice Arena)
- Game 5*: Chicago at Sioux Falls – Tuesday, May 21 at 7:05 p.m. (Denny Sanford PREMIER Center)
How They Got Here
Sioux Falls earned home ice advantage in the Clark Cup Final with 85 regular season points in the standings compared to 78 for Chicago.
Chicago and Sioux Falls have never met in the Clark Cup Playoffs and both are looking for their second Clark Cup Championship in recent history. Chicago won its only other Clark Cup Championship in 2016-17 while the latest Sioux Falls Championship was in the 2014-2015 season while its first was in 2006-2007.
Chicago’s path to the Clark Cup Final as the No. 2 seed included a first-round bye followed by a pair of 3-1 series victories, first over Cedar Rapids in the Eastern Conference Semifinals before the victory over Muskegon in the Conference Final.
Sioux Falls finished third in the Western Conference during the regular season and swept Sioux City in the best-of-three first round series that included a four-overtime contest. The Stampede then defeated the No. 2 seed Waterloo before sweeping top seed and Anderson Cup Champion Tri-City in the Western Conference Final.
Sioux Falls took both meetings during the regular season as each of the offenses exploded for a combined 25 goals in two games. The Stampede won 8-6 at home on Feb. 8 before coming to Fox Valley Ice Arena for a 7-4 win exactly one month later.
February’s meeting was a back-and-forth battle as each team led twice in the first two periods and entered the third period tied 3-3. The final frame was a scoring frenzy as the teams combined for eight goals including three-in-a-row from Sioux Falls to seal the victory.
Forward Andre Lee recorded a hat trick (3-1-4) in the win for the Stampede while Steel forward Nick Abruzzese scored twice (2-0-2) and forward Mathieu De St. Phalle collected a trio of assists.
March’s meeting started with a pair of Chicago goals 2:23 apart early in the first period, but it was all Sioux Falls from there. The Stampede answered back with six-straight goals including three on the powerplay. The Steel clawed back with a pair of powerplay goals early in the third to make it 6-4 but an empty-net goal from Stampede forward Artem Ivanyuzhenkov sealed the 7-4 win.
Ivanyuzhenkov was lethal against the Steel, picking up five points (2-3-5) in the regular season meetings while Lee (3-1-4) and forwards Anthony Romano (2-2-4) and Ethan Phillips (2-2-4) trailed closely behind. Chicago’s De St. Phalle led the way for the Steel with four points (0-4-4) while Abruzzese (2-1-3) and forward Robert Mastrosimone (2-1-3) each picked up a pair of goals in the series.
Abruzzese (7-6-13) and Mastrosimone (6-7-13) are tied for the USHL lead with 13 points in eight postseason games. Sioux Falls defenseman Max Crozier is just behind the Chicago duo with 10 points (3-7-10) in nine games this postseason as he is currently third in the league while leading the Stampede in scoring.
Both starting goaltenders have been stellar in the postseason. Sioux Falls netminder Jaxson Stauber is 8-1 with a league-best 1.49 goals against average and .943 save percentage. Justin Robbins has backstopped the Steel with a 6-2 record, 2.31 goals against average and .918 save percentage.
About The Steel
The Chicago Steel are enjoying their 19th season in the United States Hockey League, the nation’s only Tier I junior hockey league, and fourth season playing at Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva, IL. The organization’s focus is providing affordable, family-friendly entertainment.
More than 194 Steel players have earned NCAA Division I scholarships since 2000 and 42 have been NHL Draft picks since 2002! The Steel won their first Clark Cup championship in 2017.