The Chicago Steel start their quest for their second Clark Cup since 2017 on Friday when they host the Dubuque Fighting Saints for a best-of-three Eastern Conference semifinals series in the USHL's Clark Cup Playoffs.
The Steel, who are based out of suburban Geneva, finished the regular season with eight straight victories after a 5-1 win against the Muskegon Lumberjacks on Saturday at Fox Valley Ice Arena. Chicago won the Anderson Cup as USHL regular-season champions for a second consecutive season with a 38-11-3-2 record and 81 points. Dubuque was 24-23-4-1 with 53 points to claim the fourth and final spot in the Eastern Conference.
Chicago will host Dubuque for Game 1 on Friday, followed by Game 2 on Saturday. Game 3, if necessary, is set for Sunday. All three games have a 7:05 PM start time.
The Steel were 5-2-1 against the Fighting Saints during the season, including a 2-1-1 record at FVIA. The Chicago-Dubuque series winner will advance to face the winner of No. 2 Muskegon and the No. 3 Green Bay Gamblers semifinal in the Eastern Conference Final.
The Steel boast the USHL's top four scorers this season, with forwards Sean Farrell, Matt Coronato, Josh Doan, and Erik Middendorf.
Farrell, a 2020 fourth-round pick by the Montreal Canadiens, scored a USHL-best 101 points (29 goals, 72 assists) in 53 games. Coronato's 48 goals led the USHL and his 85 points were second to Farrell, his future Harvard University teammate. Coronato is considered a first-round prospect for the 2021 NHL Draft.
Doan, son of Arizona Coyotes legend Shane Doan, is third at 70 points (31 goals, 39 assists) and Middendorf is fourth with 68 points (32 goals, 36 assists), each in 53 games. Josh Doan and Middendorf are committed to Arizona State and Michigan State, respectively.
The Steel are allowed fans at 25% capacity, with seating arranged in pods. Fans will undergo a temperature check at the FIVA entrance and must wear masks inside FIVA to ensure public safety from COVID-19.
Game 1: Friday, April 30 vs. Dubuque (7:05 PM CT)
Game 2: Saturday, May 1 vs. Dubuque (7:05 PM CT)
*Game 3: Sunday, May 2 vs. Dubuque (7:05 PM CT)