Colorado Eagles vs. Idaho Steelheads
Date(s) - Fri Mar 31, 2017
7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
The Idaho Steelheads are playoff-bound once again following their win on Wednesday night. They now turn their focus to post-season preparation in their final five games, with two more contests against the Colorado Eagles at CenturyLink Arena. The Steelheads earned their third consecutive win on Wednesday night while the Eagles dropped their third in a row.
All scoring in the series-opener came in the second period, with Charlie Dodero and Will Merchant scoring to give Idaho a 2-0 lead and Johnny Lazo responding to bring the Eagles within a goal. Both goaltenders were strong, with Landon Bow stopping 31 shots for his 18th win while Kent Simpson steered away 39 shots for Colorado. The Steelheads improved to 5-3-1 on the season against the Eagles.
Still Playoff Implications…
While the Steelheads and Eagles have both punched their tickets to the post-season, their remaining two games against each other can still significantly impact the final playoff picture. The Steelheads are locked into third place in the Mountain Division, 13 points ahead of fourth-place Alaska and ten points below second-place Colorado with five games left to play. The Eagles were leap-frogged by the Allen Americans atop the division on Thursday night. The Eagles and Americans are separated by a point with four games left on the schedule for both teams. The loser of that battle atop the division will host the Steelheads to start the first round.
With both teams playing stingy hockey on Wednesday night, the only pucks that managed to get behind Landon Bow and Kent Simpson were the type of “ugly” goals that exemplify playoff hockey. Charlie Dodero’s tally was a spin-around backhander from below the left circle that deflected in off of Colorado blue-liner Sean Zimmerman, while Will Merchant’s goal was a puck that bounced in off of his midsection after a Simpson blocker save. Johnny Lazo got the only goal for Colorado, stuffing home a loose puck that Landon Bow thought was underneath him following a point-blank save on Matt Garbowsky.
Rob Linsmayer’s point streak reached a season-high eight consecutive games following his assist on Will Merchant’s goal on Wednesday. Linsmayer has four goals and 11 points during the streak, and seven goals and 18 points in his last 14 games. Jefferson Dahl earned an assist as well, giving him points in ten of his last 11 contests.
Goals: Luciani (29)
Assists: Dahl (42)
Points: Dahl (62)
Plus/Minus: Glen (+14)
Power Play Goals: Merchant (12)
Goals-Against Average: Bow (2.13)
Goals: Garbowsky (35)
Assists: Pierro-Zabotel (64)
Points: Pierro-Zabotel (87)
Plus/Minus: Garbowsky (+30)
Power Play Goals: Register (8)
Goals-Against Average: Hafner (2.21)
Eagles top Steelheads with third period comeback
Play of the gameThe turning point of the game, both for its timing and peculiarity, was the face-off infraction called on Jefferson Dahl. After Kellan Lain and Dahl were both halted for false starts on the face-off, Dahl was sent off the ice to the box to negate a full two-minute power play with just 3:39 left in the game. With the extra ice of 4-on-4, Ryan Harrison had room to drive down the left-wing boards and push the Steelheads defense back before dropping a pass to the slot for a Matt Brown snap-shot and a 3-2 Colorado lead. The Steelheads prime opportunity with time winding down in the game instantly became a level playing field, of which the Eagles took advantage.
Boise, ID (3/31/17)— Matt Brown’s go-ahead goal with just over three minutes left in regulation capped off a third period comeback and served as the eventual game-winner, as the Colorado Eagles (46-18-5) skated to a 3-2 win over the Idaho Steelheads (39-22-7) in front of a sold-out crowd of 5,178 fans on Friday night at CenturyLink Arena.
Matt Register and Brown both beat Landon Bow with left-wing shots during 4-on-4 situations that snapped a three-game winning streak for Idaho and a three-game losing streak for the Eagles, during a night when the teams combined for 116 minutes in penalties.
At 6:54 of the third period, Register entered the Idaho zone down the left side and fired a slap shot from the face-off dot that beat Bow to the glove to tie the game 2-2, Register’s 17th of the season.
The game was still tied at 16:21 when Michael Sdao and Corbin Baldwin scrapped in front of the Idaho bench following a Baldwin hip-check on Colorado’s Kenny Brooks. Sdao was given an extra minor for roughing that gave the Steelheads a power play late in a tie game. That power play would never get started, as the Idaho Steelheads were called for a delay of game penalty for a face-off infraction. Kellan Lain had been thrown from the face-off circle for a false start, and his replacement Jefferson Dahl also committed a false start to draw the call.
On the ensuing 4-on-4, Ryan Harrison raced down the left wing and dropped a pass back in the left circle that Brown wired past Bow’s glove for his second of the year. The Steelheads pulled the goaltender late and had several chances, including a one-timer in the low slot from Dahl, but Lukas Hafner made one of 33 saves to secure the win for the Eagles.
Colorado opened the scoring at 4:48 of the first period on a power play wrister from Casey Pierro-Zabotel at the right circle, his 24th of the season. Idaho would answer back with two goals of their own. Joe Basarba grabbed his 20th of the year on a deflection of a Joe Faust shot at 15:15 of the first. Connor Chatham followed up with his sixth of the year on a one-handed effort that slid through Hafner 23 seconds later.
The second period saw no scoring but plenty of physicality. Colorado’s Darryl Bootland was ejected after he bulldozed Bow in the Idaho crease, followed by a fight with Baldwin that earned the Steelheads blue-liner a ten-minute misconduct. That came just 1:16 after Travis Walsh squared off with Harrison in his second pro fight. Just 1:06 after the Bootland-Baldwin altercation, two more fights broke out in the neutral zone as Aaron Harstad tangled with Sdao and Brandon Anselmini squared off with Pierro-Zabotel. Anselmini and Pierro-Zabotel were both ejected for engaging in a secondary altercation.
The Steelheads power play came into the game with goals in four consecutive contests, but it was unable to break through Hafner on six tries, including a 5-on-3 chance in the second period. The Eagles improved to 34-1-1 in games in which they score first, and they leapt past the Allen Americans to regain control of first place in the Mountain Division.
The Steelheads and Eagles meet for the final time in the regular season on Saturday night, the Steelheads’ regular season home finale at CenturyLink Arena. Puck-drop is scheduled for 7:10pm MT with the game available on 1350AM KTIK, Cable One, and on ECHLTV.
Goals: Basaraba (20); Chatham (6)
Landon Bow: 33 saves on 36 shots
Power Play: 0-for-6
Penalty Kill: 2-for-3
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS OF THE GAME
- Joe Basaraba IDH
- Andre Morrissette IDH
- Connor Chatham IDH
COORS LIGHT OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Matt Brown: Game-winning goal, 2 shots