Matthew Coronato had two goals and two assists, and the Chicago Steel defeated the Dubuque Fighting Saints 6-1 to sweep their Eastern Conference semifinal series in the USHL’s Clark Cup Playoffs on Saturday at Fox Valley Ice Arena.
Ryan Ufko had a goal and two assists, Sean Farrell and Mackie Samoskevich each had a goal and an assist for the Steel, who also won 2-1 against Muskegon on Friday. Simon Latkoczy made 24 saves for Chicago.
Kenny Connors scored, and Lukas Parik made 40 saves for the Fighting Saints.
The Steel will play in the Eastern Conference Final for the third time in the past four years. Chicago will host the best-of-three series this coming weekend against the Muskegon Lumberjacks, who won 3-2 and 3-1 against the Green Bay Gamblers to make this year’s East final. Chicago won the East final 3-1 against Muskegon in 2019.
Samoskevich (2020 NHL Draft/Michigan commit) scored on the power play with a one-timer from the left face-off circle off his right knee for a 1-0 lead at 13:50 of the first period.
Ufko (2021/UMass) made it 2-0 with 1:15 remaining in the period when he skated around a Dubuque defender at the left point and scored in front.
Coronato’s (2021/Harvard) wrist shot from the high slot hit Parik then trickled across the goal line to extend the lead to 3-0 only 1:45 into the second period.
Connors (2021/UMass) cut it to 3-1 at 5:26 with a power-play goal on a rebound.
Farrell (2020 Montreal Canadiens/Harvard) received a pass from Coronato then wired a shot from the left circle on the power play to make it 4-1 at 9:08.
Adam Fantilli (2023) extended the lead to 5-1 at 17:52 when he went coast-to-coast and turned around Dubuque defenseman Henry Thrun (2019 Anaheim Ducks/Harvard) then tucked the puck past Parik.
Coronato received a pass from Farrell at the top of the right circle then wired a shot past Patrik at 4:46 of the third period for the 6-1 final.
Coronato leads the USHL in goals (three) and points (six) during the playoffs, and his three assists are tied with the Fargo Force’s Tristan Broz (2021/Minnesota) for first.