BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Calen Kiefiuk scored 1:33 into overtime to lift the Central Illinois Flying Aces to a 4-3 win over the Chicago Steel on Friday night at Grossinger Motors Arena.
The Flying Aces (14-36-5, 33 points) struck first by capitalizing on a turnover in the Chicago zone when Jeremy Davidson (University of Massachusetts) blasted a low drive inside the right post on a feed from Max Andreev (Cornell University) with 7:18 showing on the first period clock.
The Steel (24-24-7, 55 points) tied the contest with 53.4 left in the first period when Robert Mastrosimone rattled in a wrister off the right post on assists from from Blake McLaughlin and Nick Abruzzese to send the game into the first intermission even at 1-1.
Central Illinois scored a power play tally 3:12 into the middle chapter when Bradley Marek deflected in a high drive from the slot from Simon Butala that slowly trickled into the net. Andreev was awarded the second assist as the Aces took a 2-1 lead.
Chicago knotted the score with 7:38 left in the second period just after their power play expired as McLaughlin rifled the disk home from the right circle, assisted by Graham Lillibridge and Mastrosimone.
The Aces grabbed a 3-2 lead with 1:08 before the second intermission on a sharp-angle drive from the right side by Lucas Breault (Union College) on assists from Corson Green and Jakub Lacka (RPI).
The Flying Aces killed six minutes of penalties, including a double minor of which half was five-on-three, early in the third period, but the Steel tied the game again with 4:33 left in regulation on a deflection by Samuel Bucek from Aaro Vidgren and Baker Shore.
Central Illinois ended the contest 1:33 into overtime when Kiefiuk (University of Michigan) carried the puck along the left boards and into the left circle to beat Chicago netminder Justin Robbins.
Ryan Snowden (Ohio State University) earned the win in goal with 29 saves while Robbins made 18 saves in the loss. The Steel were 0-for-5 on the power play while the Flying Aces were 1-of-5 on the man advantage.
The Flying Aces travel to Green Bay for a 7:05 p.m. contest on Saturday evening. The game can be heard on flyingaceshockey.com and viewed on HockeyTV. The Aces return home next Friday for a 7:07 p.m. face-off against the Muskegon Lumberjacks. Next Friday is Miller Park Zoo Night, and fans will have the chance to interact with animals from the zoo during the game. Fans can also use their ticket from the game on April 6 to gain free admission to Miller Park Zoo on Saturday, April 7.
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.