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PREVIEW: Steel vs. Fighting Saints 11/26

By Jordan Kuhns, 11/26/16, 12:45PM CST


East-leading Steel face Saints on Saturday



SINCE THE STREAK...Long winning streaks are dangerous. Look no further than Chicago’s record-tying start to the season. Since the 10-game winning streak to begin the year, they are 4-3-2. That record still has them on top of the Eastern Conference coming into tonight’s action, and hold a significant five-point lead on the Green Bay Gamblers, who rank second in the standings.

NET ON FIRE...Chicago’s scorers pace everything. Only the Muskegon Lumberjacks and their 68 goals for are better than the Steel’s 65 goals, and Muskegon had played one more game. No other team has even hit the 60 mark up to this point. To this end, the Steel have a stable of consistent scorers—eight players have already hit double digit points, and two have hit the 10-goal mark: Johnny Walker and Walker Duehr.

LAST TIME...Dubuque jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the Steel in the first period, in the midst of their record-tying run, but Chicago raced back to eventually take a 4-3 lead that would hold up in a 6-3 win on the road. The Saints are 1-2-0 at the Fox Valley Ice Arena dating back to last season. Saints goalie Jaxon Castor made 22 saves in his first loss of the season.


STEZKA SHUT ‘EM DOWN...There was a time early in the season when Chicago goaltender and Minnesota Wild prospect Ales Stezka could not be beaten. He started the year with four consecutive wins, and three consecutive shutouts. Since that point, it has been a bit of a rollercoaster for him, with a 2-2-1 record, a 3.35 goals-against average, and a .879 save percentage.

HAMMY AND CHEESE...Last night was a magical night for Saints forward Jacob Hamacher. Before last night, the Corona, CA native had only one multi-point effort, almost a month ago. Against Des Moines, he tallied two goals, and added two helpers for a career-high four points. That performance rocketed him up to second in team scoring, behind Zach Solow.

STREAK WON’T END...Speaking of Zach Solow, his multi-point performance kept his point streak alive to the tune of 10 games. During this incredible run, he has scored three goals, and 11 assists. During the streak, Solow has four multi-point efforts along the way. Only four times this season has the Naples, Florida native been completely held off of the scoresheet.


SHOTS SMOTHERED...The shot suppression has gotten even better for the Fighting Saints after last night’s game. The shot totals over the last couple of games illustrate this point nicely: 19 (vs. DSM), 16 (vs. BLM), 22 (vs. MAD), 21 (vs. CR). The average now stands at 23.47 per game. Chicago isn’t far behind at 27.63, which ranks fifth in the USHL.

WALKIN’ ON THE SUN...Look out for Chicago’s Walker Duehr offensively. Coming off of a ranked-skater season, and one with the Tri-City Storm in which his team captured the Clark Cup, Duehr’s offensive game has taken off. He is tied with Johnny Walker for the team lead in goals, with 10.