In the first game of round two of the USPHL Playoff action, the Fort Wayne Spacemen defeated the division leading Chicago Cougars by a final score of 3-2 on Friday night to take a 1-0 lead in the best of 3 series.
Zach Steele of the Spacemen scored the first goal of the game at the 15:34 mark of the first period, assisted by Toms Barens. Two minutes later Chicago scored to tie the game just before the teams headed off the ice for the first intermission.
The Spacemen scored twice in the second period to take a 3-1 lead midway through the game. The teams second goal was scored by Immy Johnson, assisted by Jack Huffman, and the third goal was scored by Lucas Robins and assisted by Immy Johnson, picking up his second point of the night while on the power play.
After falling behind by a two goal margin, the Chicago Cougars mounted a furious comeback, exerting pressure for the remainder of the game. However, they were stymied by the unorthodox alignment of a 1-3-1 zone employed by Coach Kaleigh Schrock. While this formation limited the Spacemens offensive zone chances, the extra player back reduced defensive exposure and made it difficult for Chicago to enter the attacking zone cleanly.
In the final minutes of the game, and with the goalie pulled for the extra attacker, Chicago was able to pull within one goal at the 18:08 mark. That would be the final tally of the game as the Spacemen held on for the win.
This victory marks the first round two win in the young programs brief history, and the first loss to a divisional opponent for the Cougars this season.
In net for the Spacemen, Michael Heward faced 44 shots, making 42 saves, while the Spacemen generated 3 goals on 24 shots of their own.
The second game of the series is tonight, 8:40 p.m. EST, also from the Cougars home arena. The winner of the best-of-three series will travel to the USPHL Finals tournament in Boston, MA.
The Fort Wayne Spacemen are proud members of the United States Premier Hockey League. The USPHL operates in 17 of the 50 United States, making it the nation’s largest amateur hockey league. The Spacemen will compete in the Premier Midwest East Division, which is made up of seven teams from Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. Players on each team range in age from 17-21, and come from throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.
The ultimate goal of the Fort Wayne Spacemen is to prepare and develop players for college hockey and beyond. The locally owned team is committed to world class coaching, professional trainers and medical staff all housed in our modern, state-of-the-art facilities. making the Ft Wayne Spacemen a top quality team and destination for any Junior hockey player striving to get to the next level.
The Spacemen’s home rink is the SportOne Parkview Ice House. 3869 Ice Way, Fort Wayne, IN. The off ice conditioning and athletic trainer facilities are located on the same campus at the SportOne Parkview Fieldhouse.