Photo by Hickling Images
Jack Badini, Johnny Walker and Eduards Tralmaks each scored a goal, and Ales Stezka stopped all 27 shots he faced to lead the Chicago Steel to a 3-0 victory over the Sioux City Musketeers in Game 3 of 2017 Clark Cup Final. The Steel now hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.
Chicago struck for their first goal of the game early in the first period, when Steel captain Marc Johnstone fired a no-look, backhand pass to the front of the net, where it found Jack Badini, and the Harvard commit put the puck into the back of the net to give Chicago the 1-0 lead. With the goal, Badini extended his Clark Cup Playoffs point streak to 11 games, giving him 16 points (7G, 9A) in that span. The Steel took that 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
The second period featured back-and-forth action but did not see any scoring until late in the frame. With about six and a half minutes to play in the middle 20 minutes, Chicago went on the power play, where Johnny Walker found the back of the net for the first time in the postseason to double the Steel lead to 2-0. Eduards Tralmaks added an empty-net goal late in the contest to make it a 3-0 game, completing the scoring and moving Chicago just one win from the Clark Cup. Steel captain Marc Johnstone dished out a pair of assists in the victory, and Ales Stezka stopped all 27 Musketeers shots he faced for his eighth win and third shutout of the Clark Cup Playoffs.
Chicago will look to win the 2017 Clark Cup national championship on home ice Saturday night, while Sioux City will try to even the series and send the teams back to Tyson Events Center for a winner-take-all Game 5 next Tuesday. The puck drop for Game 4 at Fox Valley Ice Arena is scheduled for 7:05 PM central time on Saturday.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 15th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2016-17. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in four consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.