The Chicago Steel won bronze in front of 3,000 Russia Avto fans on Sunday, August 30th to secure a record fourth consecutive medal for the USHL and USA Hockey, a Junior Club World Cup record. Chicago native Tanner Laczynski scored the game-winning goal and earned game MVP honors for the Steel.
After a tightly contested first period, the Steel found the back of the net 20 seconds into the second off a Brandon Duhaime shot from a rebound. Russia’s Avto came heavy on the attack after penalty trouble plagued the Steel. Despite being perfect on the penalty kill all game, Chicago gave up back-to-back goals and Avto woke up the home crowd. Wayzata, MN native Max Zimmer scored his fifth goal of the tournament off a snipe shot from the left circle to bring the game back to 2-2.
Both teams came out quick in the third period with Avto back on the power play in back-to-back opportunities. Avto and Steel went back and forth exchanging scoring opportunities, but veteran goaltender John Lethemon stood tall in net. While on the penalty kill, Chicago drew a five-minute major spearing penalty. Avto was able to kill the major, but found themselves back on the penalty kill with less than three minutes remaining. Laczynski had the puck at the top of the circle and fired a shot under the arm of Avto’s goaltender to put Chicago up 3-2.
The Junior Club World Cup, a IIHF sanctioned tournament, was hosted in Yekaterinburg, Russia, home to the Avto hockey club. The Steel played in front of three sellout crowds throughout the JCWC, the only sellouts of the tournament. Chicago will play in their new arena, Fox Valley Ice Arena, for their home opener September 26, 2015 against Team USA.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 14th season as the nation’s only Tier I junior hockey league in 2015-16. A record 37 players were chosen in the 2015 NHL Draft and more than 375 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.