Colorado Eagles vs. Idaho Steelheads
Date(s) - Fri Apr 21, 2017
7:10 pm - 10:00 pm
The Steelheads look to bounce back and draw even on Friday night at CenturyLink Arena in Game 4 of the Mountain Division Semifinals against the Colorado Eagles. Colorado has taken the last two games of the series after Idaho had won the opener in Loveland. The Steelheads have not lost consecutive games on home ice since the first week of February, and they’ll hope history is on their side as well. The Steelheads trailed the Eagles after three games in the last playoff series between the squads in 2014, but went on to win in six games.
The Eagles’ special teams units were both effective in Game 3, scoring a power play goal from Alex Belzile and a shorthanded goal from Casey Pierro-Zabotel on their way to a 4-2 win at CenturyLink Arena. Shawn St. Amant and Julien Nantel also scored for the Eagles, while the Steelheads power play did their heavy-lifting with goals form Jefferson Dahl and Kellan Lain. Dahl left the game injured on a charging penalty by Sean Zimmerman in the second period. Dahl did not return, while Zimmerman has been suspended for three games.
Driving the Offense…
Rob Linsmayer earned an assist on Kellan Lain’s power play goal on Wednesday, giving Linsmayer at least a point in each game of the series with two goals and two assists. The power play has produced three of Idaho’s seven goals in the series, but Linsmayer has been effective in all areas with a shorthanded goal, an even-strength goal, and a power play assist. Linsmayer also has nine shots in the series to tie for the team lead. Linsmayer has played nine career playoff games against the Eagles dating back to 2014, totaling three goals and eight points.
Eagles goaltender Lukas Hafner has won the last two games after backing up Kent Simpson in Game 1. Hafner only made ten appearances during the regular season for Alaska and Colorado, but including the playoffs he has seen Idaho four times. In those games, he has gone 3-0-1 with a 1.71 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage. Idaho will certainly look to put more shots on Hafner. The Steelheads’ fewest shots in a game this season was 20 and for a period was three. The Steelheads had just 21 shots in Game 3 and four shots in the first period of each of Hafner’s two starts.
Friend Turned Foe…
Former Steelheads Alex Belzile has been a thorn in Idaho’s side through the first three games. Belzile helped open the scoring in Game 3 when he went behind the Idaho net, forced a turnover, and fed the puck in front for Shawn St. Amant’s first of the series. Belzile closed the scoring with a power play one-timer in the final second of the middle period. Belzile has two power play goals, three points, and five shots in the last two games.
Goals: Dahl/Linsmayer (2)
Assists: Merchant/Faust (3)
Points: Linsmayer (4)
Plus/Minus: Dahl/Harstad (+2)
Power Play Goals: Dahl (2)
Goals-Against Average: Bow (2.67)
Goals: Belzile (2)
Assists: Register (2)
Points: Register/Belzile (3)
Plus/Minus: Zimmerman (+5)
Power Play Goals: Belzile (2)
Goals-Against Average: Hafner (1.49)
Eagles complete comeback, defeat Steelheads in overtime
Play of the gameThe Steelheads nearly made it out of Game 4 with a win. With the Eagles swarming in the final seconds Corbin Baldwin made two blocks in front of Landon Bow, but the final Matt Register drive made its way through to tie the game. Register scored the overtime winner in Game 2 at 1:05 of the extra session, and again he found a way past Bow in the final seconds of regulation in Game 4. Register factored into Colorado’s first five goals, including all three in the third period comeback.
Boise, ID (4/21/17)— The Colorado Eagles scored three goals in the final 2:28 of regulation to erase a 5-2 deficit, leading to Alex Belzile’s game-winner just 41 seconds into overtime to complete the comeback in Colorado’s 6-5 win over the Idaho Steelheads in Game 4 of the Mountain Division Semifinals at CenturyLink Arena. The Steelheads face a 3-1 series deficit heading into Saturday night’s Game 5.
Belzile had four points in the game, and Matt Register had five, as the Eagles scored one goal at 4-on-4 and then twice at 5-on-4 with the net empty to tie the game with nine seconds remaining. Belzile and Register each have eight points in the series.
Register’s one-timer from the right point with nine second left beat Idaho’s Landon Bow over the blocker to tie the game 5-5 with his second of the game and third of the series. In the first minute of overtime, Belzile fired a shot from the left-wing corner the went in off of Bow’s shoulder to end the game with his fourth goal of the playoffs.
With 2:28 left in regulation time, the Eagles’ began their comeback with a goal from Julien Nantel in front of the net, a tap-in of a Ryan Harrison feed from the right wing. Just 29 seconds later, Belzile scored his first goal of the night with a shot from the top of the left circle that trickled through Bow’s legs. The Steelheads had a chance to put the game back out of reach with the Colorado net empty, but Andre Morrissette’s attempt in the final minute rolled inches wide of the crease.
The Steelheads controlled the game through the first half of regulation, jumping out to a 4-0 lead. Anthony Luciani grabbed a bouncing puck away from defensemen Teigan Zahn and Michael Sdao at 14:13 of the first period to snap a shot from the slot past Lukas Hafner for his first goal of the playoffs and a 1-0 Idaho lead. The Steelheads extended that lead 31 seconds into the second period when Aaron Harstad’s left-point drive beat Hafner to make it 2-0 on the power play.
Harstad scored his second of the game and series 3:50 later on another left-wing blast, this one off the post and in past Hafner’s glove to make it 3-0 Idaho. At 5:33 of the second, Luciani scored again on a breakaway to give Idaho a 4-0 lead.
The Eagles would get on the board at 9:43 of the second with a power play blast from the high slot off the stick of Register. At 14:14 Matt Garbowsky would get his first of the series on another shot from the slot to make it 4-2. Just 1:19 after Garbowsky’s tally, Morrissette buried a breakaway for a 5-2 Idaho lead.
The Steelheads will fight on Saturday night to send the series back to Loveland, with Game 5 at CenturyLink Arena scheduled to begin with puck-drop scheduled for 7:10pm MT. The game is available on 1350KTIK, Cable One, and on ECHLTV.
Photo: Nitro Photo – Brian Losness
Goals: Luciani (1,2), Harstad (1,2), Morrissette (1)
Landon Bow: 24 saves on 30 shots
Power Play: 1-for-4
Penalty Kill: 6-for-7
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS OF THE GAME
- Matt Register COL
- Alex Belzile COL
- Aaron Harstad IDH
COORS LIGHT OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Matt Register: 2 goals, 3 assists, 6 shots, plus-4 rating