In front of 11,949 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the annual Pack the House Night, Jon Gillies showed the season's largest crowd why he's one of the top draft-eligible goaltenders in North America.
Gillies stopped all 32 shots he faced to outduel Matthias Dahlstrom in what turned out to be a 2-0 Ice victory over the Chicago Steel.
The two goaltenders locked horns for the first two periods -- Dahlstrom stopped all 20 Ice shots in the opening 40 minutes, including 16 in the second period. Gillies made 17 saves.
The Ice's Kirill Lebedev -- a midseason pickup who was playing his fifth game as an Iceman tonight -- scored just 36 seconds into the third on a feed from Daniil Tarasov to break the ice.
With Gillies in net, it would be all the offense the Ice needed. He stopped all 15 shots he faced in the third, and Lebedev set up Tarasov for an empty-netter to seal it in the final minute. Ryan Obuchowski had the second assist on both goals.
The Ice improved to 24-10-5 with the victory and stayed two points ahead of Dubuque and Youngstown, who remain tied for third in the USHL Eastern Conference.
The shutout was Gillies' third of the year and sixth of his two-year USHL career.
The Ice are back in action Saturday at the Pepsi Coliseum against the Muskegon Lumberjacks. It will be their final home game before embarking on a long road trip.
1. Jon Gillies (Ice) 32 saves, shutout, win
2. Kirill Lebedev (Ice), G, A, GWG, +2, 3 shots
3. Daniil Tarasov (Ice), G, A, +2, 8 shots