GENEVA, Ill. — Aaro Vidgren scored with 45 seconds left in regulation to push the Chicago Steel to a 5-4 win over the Central Illinois Flying Aces on Friday night at Fox Valley Ice Arena.
Max Andreev (Cornell University) netted a pair of goals and the Flying Aces (12-23-4, 28 points) converted on two of three power-play opportunities, but the Steel (19-15-4, 42 points) used a three-goal third period to earn the victory.
Chicago led by a goal after the first period, but Central Illinois struck three times in the second to take a 3-1 lead. Lucas Breault (Union College) tied the game at one off a great feed from newcomer Andrew Petrillo (University of Vermont). Acquired in a trade on Wednesday, Petrillo sent a saucer pass from the right-wing wall that found Breault all alone at the top of the crease. Breault stick-handled and lifted a forehand shot upstairs on Chicago goaltender Justin Robbins with 8:20 gone in the second period.
The Flying Aces then surged ahead later in the second period thanks to back-to-back power-play goals. Andreev zipped a shot from the high slot that beat a screened Robbins with 4:05 left in the middle frame. Only one minute, 59 seconds later, Jeremy Davidson (University of Massachusetts) unloaded a one-time shot from the left circle to make it 3-1.
After three straight goals from Central Illinois, Chicago answered almost immediately to climb back within one. Travis Treloar found twine from the high slot for his first USHL goal in his first USHL game to make it 3-2. Treloar’s goal came just 38 seconds after Davidson’s tally.
Including Treloar’s score, Chicago went on to score four of the final five goals in the game. The Steel tabbed two goals in the first six minutes of the third period to wrestle the lead back from Central Illinois. Jordan Seyfert started the scoring in the third period with a goal 2:57 into the frame, and Samuel Bucek netted his second of the night on a breakaway with 5:49 gone in the period to make it a 4-3 Chicago advantage.
But Andreev scored again, this time with the Flying Aces short-handed, to bring the game even at four. Andreev started a breakout rush from his own zone, and after his initial shot from the right circle was stopped, he collected his rebound and deposited the puck past Robbins with 5:49 left in the third.
Vidgren provided the game-winning goal for Chicago off a face-off play, collecting a loose puck in the right circle and lifting it over the glove hand of Flying Aces goaltender Zach Stejskal (University of Minnesota Duluth).
With the two power-play tallies, the Flying Aces have converted on four of their last eight chances on the man advantage over the last two games. Drew Elser (University of Connecticut) had an assist on a power-play goal and on the short-handed tally and has four points in his last two games. Davidson and Breault also had multi-point games for Central Illinois.
Known as the Bloomington Thunder from 2014-17, the newly-rebranded Central Illinois Flying Aces are a member of the top junior hockey league in the United States, the United States Hockey League (USHL). The only Tier I junior hockey league in the country, the USHL has become renowned for developing the next stars of both Division I college hockey and the NHL. At the start of the 2017-18 season, there were 128 active USHL alumni on NHL rosters, with at least one USHL alumnus playing for each of the 31 teams. In total, there have been 253 USHL players who have gone onto NHL careers, including Patrick Sharp, David Backes, Johnny Gaudreau, and Joe Pavelski, among others. The players in the USHL range in age from 16-20 years old, 95 percent of whom will go on to play college hockey at the Division I level. For more information, visit flyingaceshockey.com or ushl.com or download the USHL Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.