FORT WAYNE, Ind.- The Chicago Crush Elite have opened the 2023 USPHL Midwest Showcase with a bang, delivering an exciting performance that saw them triumph over the Fort Wayne Spacemen in a 5-2 victory at the SportONE/Parkview Icehouse. The Crush came out strong in this showdown, displaying their skills, determination, and a hunger for success that is sure to keep their fans eager for more action.
The Crush wasted no time taking control in the first period, with goals from Niko Dougan and Jaden Yuknis. Dougan notched his third of the season at 12:26, making a statement that Chicago meant business. Just over six minutes later, Yuknis capitalized on a play involving Jack Martino and Brody Luzbetak, extending the Crush's lead to 2-0.
The Spacemen came back with a vengeance in the second period, putting two goals past Crush goalie Johnny Augusta. Baldry opened the scoring for Fort Wayne on the power play, reducing the deficit to 2-1 at 11:30. Then, Richardson found the net at 13:10, equalizing the game. But the Crush would not be denied. Austin Kessel answered back quickly, reclaiming the lead just eight seconds later, showing the resilience of his team. Kessel wasn't finished, as he scored his second of the period at 15:04, extending the lead to 4-2.
The final period saw Chicago's Kevin McKenna sealing the deal with his goal at 4:35, securing the 5-2 victory for the Crush. The Spacemen fought hard, but it was the Crush's night, as they showcased their offensive prowess, determined defense, and excellent goaltending.
Johnny Augusta stood tall between the pipes for Chicago, making 22 saves on 24 shots. On the other side, Kusbel faced 28 shots, making 23 saves for the Spacemen.
The Crush's victory was backed by a strong team effort, and their penalty kill was on point, denying the Spacemen on 2 out of 3 power-play opportunities. Chicago's consistency and control on the ice were evident throughout the game.
With this triumph, the Chicago Crush Elite have set the stage for an exciting clash with the high-powered Motor City Gamblers tomorrow. Be sure to tune in to FloHockey.tv to catch all the action as the Crush look to continue their winning ways in the USPHL Midwest Showcase.