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Chicago Crush Premier Historic Playoff Run Ends in Heartbreak Against Fort Wayne Spacemen


#31 Goalie Jack Sundhall covers the puck as the Defense fights off Spacemen | Photo by Megan Isenbarger
#31 Goalie Jack Sundhall covers the puck as the Defense fights off Spacemen | Photo by Megan Isenbarger

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The SportONE/Parkview Icehouse witnessed a thrilling three-game series between the Chicago Crush Premier squad and the Fort Wayne Spacemen in the second round of the USPHL Playoffs Midwest East Divisional Series. While the series ended in disappointment for the Crush, the action-packed games showcased the team's resilience and determination.


Game 1 - March 8, 2024: Chicago Crush Triumphs in Thrilling Playoff Opener Against Fort Wayne Spacemen



In a heart-stopping battle, the Chicago Crush emerged triumphant with a 4-3 road victory in the series opener. The team wasted no time asserting dominance, with Nick Zehelein and Adyn Konchar lighting the lamp early. Goaltender Jack Sundhall stood tall with 37 saves, and penalties on both sides highlighted the physicality of the playoff atmosphere. Caden Day's power-play goal in the third period sealed the win, setting the stage for a potential series sweep.


Game 2 - March 9, 2024: Fort Wayne Spacemen Respond with Determination, Tying the Series 1-1



Despite an early lead from Logan Fernandes, the Crush faced a tough 4-1 setback in Game 2. Fort Wayne's Noah Takitani and Tucker Tone led the Spacemen's offensive charge, capitalizing on opportunities. The penalty box saw increased activity, reflecting the heightened intensity. Maxim Zinchenko's goaltending prowess for Fort Wayne proved challenging for the Crush. Heading into Game 3, the series was knotted at 1-1, and the Crush faced a must-win situation.


Game 3 - March 10, 2024: Heartbreak in Overtime as Chicago Crush Bows Out Against Fort Wayne Spacemen



The decisive Game 3 unfolded as a rollercoaster of emotions, ending in a heartbreaking 5-4 overtime loss for the Crush. Despite Spencer Kauke and Jonathan Wood's goals, the Spacemen maintained a slight edge throughout. Sam Barnitz's third-period goal forced overtime, but Jace Lacey's decisive goal dashed the Crush's playoff dreams.



Throughout the series, the Chicago Crush showcased their offensive talents, resilience, and determination. The players left everything on the ice, reflecting the spirit of playoff hockey. Despite the early exit from the USPHL Playoffs, the Crush can hold their heads high, proud of the memorable moments and the fight they displayed.


#22 Captain Nick Zehelein & Future Crush Star | Photo by Beverly Buchinger
#22 Captain Nick Zehelein & Future Crush Star | Photo by Beverly Buchinger

As the Chicago Crush Premier squad wraps up the 2023-24 season, the entire Chicago Crush organization wants to extend a heartfelt thank you to our incredible fans – the lifeblood of our team. Your unwavering support has meant the world to us, and we can't express enough gratitude for the sea of red, white, and blue you bring to every game.


Through the nail-biting moments and the cheers that echoed through the "Madhouse in Addison", you've been with us every step of the way. Your dedication transforms each game into a shared experience, creating a bond between the team and its fans that's truly special.


Captain Crush | Photo by Beverly Buchinger
Captain Crush | Photo by Beverly Buchinger

As we head into the offseason, we want to take a moment to appreciate the fans who proudly wear the colors of the Chicago Crush. Your passion is the driving force behind our team, and we're beyond thankful for your support, win or lose.


This isn't the end of the road – it's an ongoing journey that we continue together. We look forward to hitting the ice again, fueled by the camaraderie and enthusiasm of our incredible fan base. Until then, thank you for being the heartbeat of the Chicago Crush. Your cheers make us stronger, and we can't wait to see you again when the puck drops next season.


2023-24 Chicago Crush Premier | Photo by Beverly Buchinger
2023-24 Chicago Crush Premier | Photo by Beverly Buchinger

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