GENEVA, Ill. — The Chicago Steel scored three times in the first period and received a 32-save effort from Justin Robbins in a 3-0 win over the Central Illinois Flying Aces on Sunday afternoon at Fox Valley Ice Arena.
The Steel (20-18-5, 45 points) did all their damage in a 5:52 span in the first 10 minutes of the game and held the Flying Aces (12-30-5, 29 points) at bay the rest of the way in Central Illinois’ final game of a three-game weekend.
Chicago started the scoring early with a goal only 3:20 into the opening period. Brian Hurley beat Flying Aces goaltender Ryan Snowden (Ohio State University) with a shot from just inside the blue line at the right point, a goal that held up as the game-winning score.
Less than four minutes later, the Steel doubled their advantage to two on a goal from Baker Shore. After forcing a turnover to keep the puck in the offensive zone, Graham Lillibridge centered the puck to Shore in front, and Shore lifted it upstairs past Snowden at the 7:05 mark of the first frame.
Todd Goehring finished off the scoring for Chicago only one minute, 53 seconds after Shore’s goal, jamming a rebound past Snowden to make it 3-0.
Despite allowing the three early goals, Snowden settled in down the stretch for Central Illinois and made 23 saves over the final two periods to hold Chicago off the board. Snowden finished with 38 saves.
Central Illinois is back in action this coming weekend, hosting the Fargo Force in a two-game series at Grossinger Motors Arena in downtown Bloomington. The series gets underway with a 7:07 p.m. matchup on Friday night. Friday night is 80s Night and 16-ounce Bud and Bud Light drafts are just $3 throughout the game. Tickets start as low as $8.
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.