Colorado Eagles vs. Idaho Steelheads
Date(s) - Sat Apr 22, 2017
7:10 pm - 10:00 pm
The Steelheads hope to send the Mountain Division Semifinals back to Loveland with a Game 5 victory after their overtime defeat at the hands of the Colorado Eagles in Game 4 handed Idaho a 3-1 series deficit. The Eagles overcame a three-goal hole in the final 2:28 of regulation time on Friday night to force overtime, with the Eagles going on to take their second win of the series past regulation and their second straight win at CenturyLink Arena.
Alex Belzile scored his fourth goal of the series 41 seconds into overtime to complete the Colorado comeback, after he had scored in the final three minutes along with Julien Nantel and Matt Register to get the game to an extra session. The Steelheads had scored the first four goals of the game, two from Anthony Luciani and two from Aaron Harstad, and took a 5-2 lead on Andre Morrissette’s first goal of the series.
The Steelheads scored first in Game 4, the third time in the series they have done so. Anthony Luciani opened the scoring with his first goal of the series and first of two in the contest. He leads Idaho with 14 shots on goal in the series. Rob Linsmayer earned an assist on each of Aaron Harstad’s goals, giving him six points in the series and at least one in each contest. Harstad’s two goals marked the first multi-goal game of his pro career.
The Steelheads are behind 3-1 in the series despite the fact that they very rarely have trailed. Idaho never trailed in their Game 1 win, nor did they trail up until the overtime goals in Game 2 and Game 4. Only in Game 3 has Colorado played with a lead in a game this series. Overall, in 241:46 of total game play in the series, the Steelheads have played with a lead for 94:05. Colorado has won three games despite playing with a lead for just 43:19.
The Steelheads have struggled to keep two Eagles under control during the series, with defenseman Matt Register and former Steelheads forward Alex Belzile taking control of Game 4 late. Belzile and Register are both tied for the series lead with eight points apiece, with Register factoring into Colorado’s final five goals on Friday and Belzile also notching five points and scoring the overtime winner. In the series, Belzile and Register each have scored overtime winners and each have scored goals to tie games with under six minutes to go in regulation. They have combined to record nine points in third periods and at least one of them has factored in on ten of Colorado’s 14 goals in the series.
Goals: 4 Players (2)
Assists: 3 Players (4)
Points: Linsmayer (6)
Plus/Minus: Dahl/Harstad (+2)
Power Play Goals: Dahl (2)
Goals-Against Average: Bow (3.49)
Goals: Belzile (4)
Assists: Register (5)
Points: Register/Belzile (8)
Plus/Minus: Register (+6)
Power Play Goals: Belzile (2)
Goals-Against Average: Hafner (2.67)
Steelheads’ season ends in Game 5 loss to Eagles
Play of the gameThe Steelheads comeback effort was cut short just after Kyle Jean had pulled them within a goal, nearly climbing back from a three-goal deficit. But as was the case for much of the series, former Steelhead Alex Belzile had the answer for Colorado. Belzile scored less than a minute after Jean’s tally, a rebound off to the side of the net on a 5-on-3 power play after Branden Komm had made a strong reaction save on the initial drive from Jake Marto. Belzile’s finish put the Eagles back in control, his fifth goal and ninth point of the series.
Boise, ID (4/22/17)— The Idaho Steelheads’ 20th season came to an end on Saturday night, as the Colorado Eagles skated to a 6-3 win in front of 3,240 fans at CenturyLink Arena, taking the best-of-seven Mountain Division Semifinals series four games to one. The Eagles advance to the second round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the first time.
Kyle Jean scored for Idaho at 13:53 of the second period to pull the Steelheads within a goal at 4-3, but that’s as close as they would come. Colorado goaltender Lukas Hafner would stop all eight Idaho shots in the third period to bring his total to 34 saves for the game to earn his fourth win of the series.
Jean’s goal came on a nifty feed from behind the net by Mike McMurtry, a pass Jean collected at the left post before toe-dragging the puck across the top of the crease and sliding it past Hafner for his first goal of the playoffs. The Eagles would extend their lead back to two goals shortly after, however, when Justin Hache and Kellan Lain were called for penalties seconds apart. On the ensuing 5-on-3, and just 52 seconds after Jean’s goal, Alex Belzile potted a Jake Marto rebound for his fifth goal of the series, and third power play goal, to make it 5-3.
Ryan Harrison would cap the scoring with an empty-net goal at 18:07 of the third to put the series away for the Eagles.
With both Jefferson Dahl and Will Merchant injured and missing from the lineup, the Eagles struck early and often in the first period. Julien Nantel scored the opening goal and his third in three games at 1:42 of the first, finishing off a 2-on-1 feed from Harrison. At 6:00 of the first, Luke Salazar made it 2-0 with a power play drive from the left point, his first of the series. Matt Register emerged from the penalty box at 11:17 of the first and immediately led a 2-on-1 rush finished off by Cam Maclise, his first goal in 13 games, to make it 3-0.
Idaho would score a power play goal before the end of the first period, with Travis Walsh netting his first professional playoff goal at 19:01 of the first period with a right point wrist shot. The Steelhead power play was 1-for-6 in the game, scoring in four of five contests in the series.
Maclise re-established the Eagles’ three goal lead at 7:32 of the second period with a redirection on a Michael Sdao pass through Komm’s legs. Joe Basaraba would score his first of the playoffs at 10:55 of the second period immediately following a Jean faceoff win to make 4-2.
Rob Linsmayer was held without a point for the first time in the series in Game 5. Linsmayer led Idaho in playoff scoring with two goals and six points.
The Steelheads’ season comes to a close after Idaho earned 93 points in the regular season, their fifth-highest total in an ECHL season, and 43 wins, tied for fifth most in their ECHL history.
Photo: Nate McIntyre Photography
Goals: Walsh (1), Basaraba (1), Jean (1)
Branden Komm: 19 saves on 24 shots
Power Play: 1-for-6
Penalty Kill: 1-for-3
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS OF THE GAME
- Kyle Jean IDH
- Cam Maclise COL
- Joe Basaraba IDH
COORS LIGHT OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Kyle Jean: 1 goal, 2 assists, 4 shots