2018-19 Finish: 37-21-4-0 (78 points), 2nd Eastern Conference, Clark Cup Final Defeat
This preview is part of a series highlighting all 16 USHL teams ahead of the 2019-20 regular season.
The 2018-19 season ended for the Chicago Steel with another team lifting the Clark Cup on their home ice. In 2019-20, the Steel want to make it two Clark Cup Championships in four seasons after winning their first in the summer of 2017.
"We are fortunate to return 11 players who played for us in last year's Clark Cup Final and we're excited to augment that core with an infusion of other new talent in our program," said Chicago Steel General Manager Ryan Hardy. "The USHL is a great league with excellent players and tremendous coaches. We know that every night will be a battle and we look forward to watching the daily development of every one of our players as they pursue their individual and team goals."
Among the returning pieces are forwards Sam Colangelo, Gunnarwolfe Fontaine and Mathieu De St. Phalle. On the blueline, the Steel will welcome back defensemen John Spetz, Luke Reid, Jimmy Dowd, and Owen Power along with goaltender Reilly Herbst.
Colangelo and Fontaine are both committed to Northeastern University and came to the Steel last season after skating together at Lawrence Academy in 2017-18. Fontaine is coming off an impressive rookie season in which the East Greenwich, R.I. native put up 43 points (20-23-43) in 60 games. Fontaine registered a hat trick (3-1-4) on January 11 and would go on to score in eight of 11 games from January 11 to February 9. The goal scoring came in the midst of a season-high 10-game point streak (8-5-13). Fontaine’s great season continued into the Clark Cup Playoffs where he put up 12 points (6-6-12), which was third most in the postseason. Colangelo appeared in 11 games for the Steel last season (3-0-3) as well as a pair of postseason games. The Stoneham, Ma. native was ranked 46th overall in the Sporting News Top 62 ahead of the 2020 NHL Draft and will be looking to climb the rankings ahead of the Draft.
Mathieu De St. Phalle
De St. Phalle, a University of Wisconsin commit, joined the Steel in November last season and registered 47 points (12-35-47) in 51 games with Chicago. This will be the Kildeer, Ill. native’s third full USHL season as De St. Phalle has 78 points (19-59-78) in 120 career USHL games.
The Steel are set to return five defensemen from the 2018-19 run to the Clark Cup final, including Spetz, who served as an alternate captain last season. The University of Connecticut commit came alive with 35 points (8-27-35) in 61 games last season after he registered 10 (2-8-10) in 54 games during his rookie season.
Reid and Dowd are both eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft and enter their second season in the USHL in 2019-20. Reid, a University of North Dakota commit, had 19 points (2-17-19) in 60 games last season while Dowd, a Penn State University commit, put up 14 points (1-13-14) in 50 games.
Power enters the 2019-20 season after being named to the USHL All-Rookie Second Team last season. The Mississauga, Ontario native entered the league as a 15-year old and went on to score 11 goals, the most ever by a 16-year old defenseman in USHL Tier I history while his 25 points (11-14-25) was second-most for a 16-year old blue liner. Power finished fourth among all defenseman with 11 goals and is committed to University of Michigan.
Between the pipes, Herbst returns for a second season after posting a 12-7-2-0 record in 23 appearances last season largely in a backup role. The Niwot, Co. native registered a five-game win streak from November 17 to December 16 last season and was named USHL Goaltender of the Week in the middle of the winning streak.
Be sure to check out the Steel full-season schedule as well as their promotional schedule, which includes The Simpsons on Ice (November 2), Hockey is for Everyone (November 23), Superstition Night (December 13), Year 2000-themed Rusty Mascot Bobblehead Giveaway (January 18), Prop Bet Night (January 31), Teddy Bear Toss (February 29) and Military Appreciation/Hometown Heroes Night (March 14).
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 18th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2019-20. The USHL had 55 players selected at the 2019 NHL Draft, 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.