GENEVA, Ill. | With only one win in their previous five games, the defending Clark Cup champions seemed as though they were slumping.
Baker Shore and Blake McLaughlin each recorded hat tricks Sunday afternoon while leading the Chicago Steel to a 7-2 United States Hockey League win over the Sioux City Musketeers at Fox Valley Ice Arena.
Shore scored two goals, 2 ½ minutes apart in the first period, helping Chicago (15-11-3) bolt to a 4-0 lead. McLaughlin, who assisted on Shore’s first opening-period goal, gave the Steel a four-goal advantage with 8:20 left, then scored each of his team’s two third-period goals.
Sioux City (11-13-5) was outscored 16-4 in the final two games of its Eastern Conference trip, having fallen to Team USA’s 18-Under team Saturday night in Plymouth, Mich. Losing goaltender Matt Jurusik (10-10-4), who didn’t play Saturday, was pulled after yielding Shore’s first goal that gave Chicago a 3-0 lead and played only seven minutes and 11 seconds.
The closest that Coach Luke Strand’s Musketeers came in their third game in as many days was 4-1 as alternate captain Micah Miller scored his ninth goal of the season with 3:26 left in the first period. Martin Pospisil hiked his scoring streak to three games as he assisted on Miller’s 13th career goal along with defenseman Jack Babbage.
Sioux City, which lost a tense five-game Clark Cup Final series to Chicago last season, was 0-2 against the Steel this season and is now 5-5 against Eastern Conference teams. Like the Musketeers, Chicago played a road game the night before, falling 4-1 at Madison.
Parker Ford scored his third goal of the season midway through the third period for the Musketeers, who will continue their road trip with games Friday night and Saturday night at Fargo.