The Rink – Doan and Ufko lead Chicago to 2 victories towards Youngstown


Chicago Steel defender Ryan Ufko helped lead the Steel when Chicago won two games against the Youngstown Phantoms over the weekend. (Courtesy photo of Chicago Steel)

The Chicago Steel (16–4–2–0) won two games against the Youngstown Phantoms (5–13–1–1) last weekend, led by two goals from defender Ryan Ufko on Friday and a hat trick from striker Josh Doan Sunday. Youngstown beat the visitors in Saturday’s competition.

On Friday, Chicago jumped 3-1 after a period of action. Ufko started the scoring for the Steel after intercepting a pass on the ice in the middle and knocking a Phantom defender wide and freezing with his speed Mattias Sholl with a nice move from forehand to backhand.

At the 9:50 mark in the first half, Phantom striker Jaden Grant equalized with his first goal of the season. The goal, supported by strikers Yusaku Ando and Jack Silich, tied the game at 1–1.

Chicago took the lead back at 4:45 p.m. when Ufko struck Sholl with a booming blow. A hard-fought battle along the boards forward Matt Coronato led to the puck on the defender’s stick Jack Babbagewho found a grazing Ufko at the left point for the one-timer to bring the Steel back to the top at 2-1.

Less than a minute later, Doan extended the lead to 3-1 with his 10th goal of the season. Ufko used his smooth skate to slam the puck on ice and find a defender Lukas Gustafsson along the boards, which in turn placed the puck on Doan’s stick in the middle of the ice. Doan fired a devious shot that hit Sholl with five holes.

Both teams would share goals in the second period like Chicago Adam Frantilli extended the Chicago lead to 4-1. A long distance goes forward Jackson Blake found Frantilli, brushing through the middle of the ice to loosen up. Frantilli hit Sholl between the Netminder’s legs after a couple of deces on the way to the net. The goal gave the Nobleton, Ontario native four goals this season.

Youngstown Defender Grant Hindman beat Chicago Slovakian goalkeeper Simon Latkoczy 11:41 am on the period, but that would be the final destination for the Phantoms in the evening. Latkoczy stopped 24 shots in victory, his first of the season.

Saturday’s competition would get in the Phantom’s way 5-2, as Youngstown had a goalkeeper from Chicago Nicholas Haas‘ Number. Haas would stop 16 shots in defeat.

Youngstown started scoring when Reilly funkfound the back of the web at the 15:23 mark of the first period. However, Chicago would respond in the last minute of the game if Coronato buried his first goal of the weekend and goal number 18 of the season. The power play goal was supported by Doan and Striker Sean Farrell.

Chicago took the only lead in the game as it went forward Erik Middendorf scored on the power play. Middendorf defeated Phantom goalkeepers Kyle Chauvette with a long wrist shot from the top. The goal gave the Scottsdale, Ariz., Native, 17 for the season.

In what would be called “old school” as both teams scored 22 penalties, Chicago suffered four straight defeats.

Sunday’s rubber match was a fun affair that took overtime to finish the game 4-3 in Chicago’s favor, led by Doan’s hat trick.

Doan’s first goal of the game came at 2:00 p.m. in the first period after some excellent moves from all five Steel players. Farrell took the puck along the half-boards and found Middendorf far down along the red line. Middendorf then floated a pass to Doan, who severed the back door before punching Chauvette on the wrist with a quick shot. The goal gave Chicago the early lead.

Youngstown found the back of the net behind the Chicago goalkeeper Jack Stark three times in a row to take a 3-1 lead in the middle of the competition. Forward Ben Schoen, Grant and Ando all scored goals for the Phantoms.

Chicago responded at 6:10 p.m. of the second period to reduce the Phantom lead to 3-2 when Jack Bar scored his first goal of the season and the first of his USHL career. The goal, assisted by Farrell, struck Chauvette’s blocker side with a shot in the wrist.

At the start of the third game, Doan scored his second goal in the power play. Ufko rushed up the ice and found Middendorf cutting in the middle, losing the puck for a moment and then finding an open doan in the middle of the ice. Doan buried the shot to tie the game at 3-3.

In 3v3 overtime, Doan finished his hat trick with a nice 2v1 when Middendorf made a nice cross-ice pass for Doan who defeated Chauvette to end the competition. The goal was Doan 13 in the season.

A native of Chaska, Minnesota, Stark scored 21 saves for victory.

Chicago is back in action on Friday as they travel to Muskegon to face the Lumberjacks at 6 p.m. CST. Both teams will then travel to Chicago for a game at 7:05 p.m. CST Puck Drop on Saturday. The final game in the three-game series is scheduled for Sunday at 3:05 p.m. CST. Both home games will be played in the Fox Valley Ice Arena.