Colorado Eagles vs. Idaho Steelheads
Date(s) - Wed Jan 11, 2017
7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
The Idaho Steelheads grabbed five of six points against the Alaska Aces last week and now prepare for a Colorado Eagles team making its first visit of the season to CenturyLink Arena. The Eagles have won back-to-back games and enter the series two points ahead of Idaho in the Mountain Division standings. The Steelheads are riding a five-game points streak (4-0-1) and are 2-2-1 against the Eagles this season, with all prior games held at Budweiser Events Center.
The Steelheads surrendered a two-goal lead late in Saturday’s game against the Aces. Stephen Perfetto’s late goal was followed by a Tim Wallace equalizer with 25 seconds remaining, and Steven Tarasuk netted the winning goal just 30 seconds into overtime to defeat the Steelheads 5-4. Will Merchant, Anthony Luciani, and Joe Basaraba found the back of the net for Idaho, while Branden Komm stopped 30 shots in the overtime defeat.
The Steelheads have earned points in nine of their last 11 games at CenturyLink Arena (8-2-1), dating back to November 25th. The Steelheads have been one of the league’s most efficient teams on home ice, their 28 points at home the third-most in the ECHL. Their performance in Boise is already ahead of last year’s pace as well. The Steelheads have won 13 games at CenturyLink Arena, a mark they didn’t reach last season until February 27th.
Two players who powered the Steelheads’ offense against Alaska will look to continue their solid streaks against the Eagles. Will Merchant scored twice on Saturday, giving him three goals and eight points during a four game points streak. Anthony Luciani has scored goals in three straight games, matching Idaho’s longest goal-scoring streak this season, and he’s added three assists in a larger five-game points streak. Merchant has a goal and four assists against Colorado this season, while Luciani has three goals and an assist.
Talent with Talons…
The Steelheads will have to keep an eye on several Eagles who have had strong performances in the five meetings between the teams this year. Casey Pierro-Zabotel has recorded at least a point in each game against Idaho this season, totaling a goal and five assists. Jesse Mychan has netted four goals and an assist, while Luke Salazar has a goal and three assists in the season series. Matt Register leads all ECHL defensemen in scoring, and he’s grabbed two goals and six points in his last three games against Idaho.
Goals: Ewanyk (14)
Assists: Dahl (24)
Points: Dahl (35)
Plus/Minus: Bell (+12)
Power Play Goals: Merchant (6)
Goals-Against Average: Komm (2.59)
Goals: Mychan (21)
Assists: Register (27)
Points: Pierro-Zabotel (39)
Plus/Minus: Register (+18)
Power Play Goals: Mychan (7)
Goals-Against Average: Saunders (2.31)
Steelheads Ground Eagles
Play of the gameThe Eagles had strong momentum in the third period, but made the final mistake. The Eagles were 5-7-2 heading into Wednesday in games they trailed entering the third period, and they pulled within a goal with a pair of power play goals and were still on the attack. That’s when Mason Geertsen, unpressured, threw a puck out to the neutral zone that was easy pickings for Rob Linsmayer. With both Eagles defensemen caught deep in their zone from the poor outlet pass, Linsmayer and his line-mates had no opposition entering the zone and used the space to open Will Merchant up in the high slot for his 11th of the year. The Eagles wanted an icing call, but with or without the whistle the Eagles made an unforced error and the Steelheads pounced to clinch the win.
Boise, ID (1/11/17)— Kellan Lain scored twice in the first period and Mike McMurtry notched a short-handed goal in his Steelheads debut, as the Idaho Steelheads (21-11-4) closed out the first half of the ECHL season with a 5-3 win over the Colorado Eagles (21-11-4) on Wednesday night at CenturyLink Arena.
The Steelheads jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first period, but had to fight off a furious Eagles comeback effort until Will Merchant gave the Steelheads some insurance late in the final frame.
After the Eagles had scored twice in the third period on the power play to close the deficit from 4-1 to 4-3, the Steelheads took advantage of a Colorado mistake. With 4:15 remaining, the Eagles retrieved a puck in their own zone, a dump-in they believed should have been an icing. With the Steelheads all in the neutral zone, Eagles defenseman Mason Geertsen tried to make a pass from his goal line to the red line. Rob Linsmayer easily intercepted the pass, leading a 3-on-2 rush back into the Eagles zone that was capped by Merchant’s 11th of the season. Merchant now has 4 goals during his current 5-game points streak.
Joe Basaraba opened the scoring for Idaho at 4:00 of the first period with a power play goal. Basaraba was off to the side of the net when an Anthony Luciani shot went wide of the goal, popping back out above the goal line for Basaraba to pot his tenth of the year and fifth goal in ten games.
At 9:01, Colorado’s Matt Register tried to move the puck through the middle of his own zone but was picked off by Branden Troock. Troock sent a pass to the front of the net for a Lain redirect and a 2-0 Idaho lead. Lain would score again 7:52 later, one-timing a Luciani backhand pass from the left-wing corner past Colorado goaltender Kent Simpson for his ninth goal of the year and a 3-0 lead.
McMurtry earned his first point as a Steelhead with an assist on the second Lain goal, but he’d find the back of the net himself shortly after. On the penalty kill, McMurtry poked a loose puck past Register and Casey Pierro-Zabotel, racing in on a breakaway for Idaho’s third short-handed goal of the year with just 46 seconds left in the first period. Simpson made the initial save, but McMurtry was able to stay with the play and lift a rebound over Simpson’s pad before being buried by Jesse Mychan.
The line of Lain, McMurtry, and Luciani combined for three goals and seven points.
The Eagles made it a game, with Josh Nicholls netting his sixth of the year on a right circle wrist shot at 11:36 of the second period to make it 4-1. Shawn St. Amant netted his fifth of the year at 4:03 of the third period on the power play, also on a right circle wrist shot. Matt Garbowsky scored his 15th of the year and eighth in the last six games at 9:41, a power play goal from the high slot to bring the Eagles within a goal.
Philippe Desrosiers made 34 saves to earn his fourth win of the season, some of his best work coming in the second period when he snared a Luke Salazar wrist shot from between the circles and stopped Mychan in close on a 3-on-2 chance.
Idaho now has points in six consecutive games (5-0-1), their win tying them with the Eagles and Allen Americans in the Mountain Division with 46 points. Idaho remains in third place.
The Steelheads and Eagles meet again on Friday night at CenturyLink Arena, with puck-drop scheduled for 7:10pm MT. The game is available on 1350KTIK, Cable One, and on ECHLTV.
Photo: Creative Expressions Photography
Goals: Basaraba (10), Lain (8,9), McMurtry (1), Merchant (11)
Philippe Desrosiers: 34 saves on 37 shots
Power Play: 1-for-3
Penalty Kill: 2-for-4
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS OF THE GAME
- Kellan Lain IDH
- Mike McMurtry IDH
- Anthony Luciani IDH
COORS LIGHT OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Kellan Lain: 2 goals, 1 assist, plus-3 rating, 3 shots