Blackhawks prospect and the No. 2 seed Chicago Steel will face No. 4 seed Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in a best-of-five Eastern Conference semifinal series, starting Saturday at Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva.
Game 2 will follow the next night before the series shifts to Cedar Rapids for Game 3 on Tuesday. If necessary, Game 4 will be Wednesday and Game 5 will be Saturday, April 27 in Geneva. All games have a 7:05 p.m. puck drop except Game 2, which has a 5:05 p.m. start.
The RoughRiders completed a two-game sweep of Team USA’s under-17 squad in a best-of-three first-round series Tuesday night with a 7-2 win. Cedar Rapids took the first game 6-3.
Aidan McDonough (Northeastern) led the RoughRiders with five points (one goal, four assists) in the series, while Jason Polin (Western Michigan) potted four goals and Grant Silianoff (Notre Dame) had two. Cedar Rapids’ leading scorer Nathan Smith during the regular season was limited to only four shots and served 10 penalty minutes. The Minnesota State commit, who was drafted in the third round in 2018 by the Jets, scored 18 goals and 53 points in 59 regular-season games.
The Steel went 3-1-1 in five games this season against the RoughRiders. USHL leading scorer Nick Abruzzese (Harvard) paced the Steel with four assists in the series, with Gunnarwolfe Fontaine (RPI) right behind him with two goals and an assist. Fontaine is expected to miss the series after having surgery to remove his appendix last week. Goaltender Justin Robbins (Quinnipiac) started all five games and posted a 1.99 goals-against average and .917 save percentage.
Slavin, who was selected by the Blackhawks in the seventh round in 2018, had one assist in the second game of the season with Lincoln against Cedar Rapids. In January, he was traded to the Steel and has scored 20 points (14 goals, six assists) in 27 games. The Colorado College commit tallied two goals and an assist in seven playoff games last year for Lincoln.
No. 6 Dubuque upset No. 3 Youngstown with a two-game sweep following a 3-2 win Tuesday. The Fighting Saints will face No. 1 Muskegon and Blackhawks prospect Mikael Hakkarinen in the other Eastern Conference semifinal. Hakkarinen had 19 goals and 47 points in 42 regular-season games.