Idaho Steelheads vs. Utah Grizzlies
Date(s) - Fri Feb 17, 2017
7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
After picking up two wins against the Wheeling Nailers to wrap up their home stand last weekend, the Steelheads begin a stretch of eight straight on the road against one of their most challenging opponents of the season. The Steelheads have earned points in four of eight games against Utah this season, but the Grizzlies came away with the win seven times. The Grizzlies have won nine of their previous ten games, and the Steelheads will look to slow their push for a playoff spot in their three-game stint at Maverik Center.
The Steelheads scored five unanswered goals on Saturday night to earn a 5-1 win over the Nailers at CenturyLink Arena. Anthony Luciani led the way with his third career hat trick, the Steelheads’ first hat trick of the season, while linemates David Glen and Bryce Van Brabant also found the back of the net for Idaho. Landon Bow earned the win in net, improving his record to 9-1-1 in his last 11 appearances.
The Steelheads were 5-1-0 last season at Maverik Center but have not found the same success in West Valley this year, winless in their first three trips to Utah. The Steelheads will be eager to turn that fortune around against a Grizzlies team that is on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, but closing in fast on the fourth spot in the Mountain Division. When these teams last met at Maverik Center on January 16th, the Grizzlies were three games under .500 and 11 points outside the playoff picture. Utah is now just three points back of fourth-place Alaska, and five points behind Idaho, as they face the Steelheads for the final three times this season.
Anthony Luciani is coming off arguably his best game as a Steelhead on Saturday, grabbing three goals but also recording Idaho’s first four-point performance this season. Luciani also rifled ten shots on net, the most by a Steelhead in a game this season. Following up an impressive 12-game points streak that spanned from December 30th to January 25th, Luciani is right back to work with four goals and seven points in Idaho’s last five contests. The Grizzlies will counter with a player carrying his own impressive run. Erik Bradford has points in ten straight games, dating back to the last meeting between these teams at Maverik Center on January 16th. Bradford boasts five goals and 15 points during his streak.
The Steelhead penalty kill has moved back into the ECHL’s top-10, ranked eighth at 84.2 percent, and they haven’t gotten there quietly. The Steelheads haven’t given up a power play goal in their last three games and have killed off 15 consecutive penalties. The only power play goals Idaho has surrendered in their past five games have been two scored by the Grizzlies on the same major penalty when the teams last met on February 4th. In their last 11 games, the Steelheads’ penalty kill is 41-for-45 (91.1 percent) with five shorthanded goals.
Goals: Luciani (22)
Assists: Dahl (31)
Points: Luciani (49)
Plus/Minus: Bell/Glen (+12)
Power Play Goals: Merchant (9)
Goals-Against Average: Bow (2.51)
Goals: Cuddemi (22)
Assists: Bradford (32)
Points: Bradford (44)
Plus/Minus: Daly (+22)
Power Play Goals: Cuddemi (7)
Goals-Against Average: Faragher (3.02)
Steelheads top Grizzlies with eight-goal outburst
Play of the gameAfter the Steelheads hard work on the forecheck created the first two goals, their third tally was the indicator that they were ready to break the game open. Austen Brassard had his pocket picked in the neutral zone by Jefferson Dahl. Utah’s Travis Howe was filling in on defense, not his usual position, and kept moving up ice, allowing Dahl and Luciani to break back the other way for a 2-on-0 rush. Luciani moved in on Faragher for his 23rd of the season to give Idaho a comfortable 3-0 lead.
West Valley, UT (2/17/17)— The Idaho Steelhead (27-17-7) scored the first six goals in their series-opener against the Utah Grizzlies (25-21-4) at Maverik Center on Friday night, pacing Idaho to an 8-2 win to open their eight-game road trip. The six-goal victory was Idaho’s most lop-sided win of the season, and their first of the season in Utah.
Joe Basaraba scored the first two goals of the game and registered four points, as the Steelheads had seven different goal-scorers on the evening and seven different players with multi-point games. The Steelheads’ win extended their lead over the Grizzlies in the Mountain Division to seven points.
Basaraba netted his first goal at 6:13 of the first period when he and Andre Morrissette both put forecheck pressure on Utah defenseman Sean Robertson. Roberston failed to clear and lost the puck in his feet, but Morrissette was able to find it and rip a quick shot on Grizzlies’ goaltender Ryan Faragher. Faragher made the initial save but left a rebound for Basaraba’s 16th goal of the season.
Basaraba grabbed his 17th goal just 2:07 later, standing in front of Faragher to deflect a Kyle Jean wrister over the goaltender for a 2-0 Idaho lead.
Anthony Luciani made it 3-0 Idaho with his fifth goal in the past six games, and his team-leading 23rd of the season, at 15:36 of the first. Austen Brassard was stripped of the puck in the neutral zone by Jefferson Dahl, who turned the puck the other way for a 2-on-0 rush that Luciani buried for a 3-0 lead. Bryce Van Brabant netted a power play goal 52 seconds later, his second goal of the season, to give Idaho a 4-0 lead
Idaho continued to attack in the second period, with Connor Chatham stuffing a rebound behind relief goaltender Troy Redmann for his fifth goal of the year just 2:13 into the middle frame. After Travis Howe was sent off for a five-minute fighting major and Michael Pelech was called for roughing, the Steelheads would take advantage of a 5-on-3 power play when Aaron Harstad’s one-timer from the right point beat Redmann for his third goal of the season and first as a Steelhead at 6:13.
Brad Navin got the Grizzlies on the board with a shorthanded goal at 13:25 of the second period, but the Steelheads would get it back early in the third period when Brian Nugent’s centering pass on a 2-on-1 rush bounced off of Kenton Helgesen and into the net for Nugent’s third goal of the season and a 7-1 Idaho lead. Colin Martin scored his tenth goal in 11 games for Utah on a wrap-around at 7:53 of the third, but Will Merchant finished off a 2-on-1 just 1:20 later for his 17th goal of the season and an 8-2 Idaho lead. It was Merchant’s tenth power play goal of the season, fourth-most in the league this season.
Landon Bow made 31 saves for his tenth win in his last 12 starts, improving to 11-3-2 on the season.
The Steelheads’ eight goals scored tied their highest total in a game this season, last done on October 21st when they scored eight goal against the Grizzlies at CenturyLink Arena.
The Steelheads and Grizzlies face off again on Saturday night at Maverik Center, a 7pm MT puck-drop with the game available on 1350 KTIK and on ECHLTV.
Goals: Basaraba (16,17), Luciani (23), Van Brabant (2), Chatham (5), Harstad (3), Nugent (3), Merchant (17)
Landon Bow: 31 saves on 33 shots
Power Play: 3-for-8
Penalty Kill: 2-for-2
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS OF THE GAME
- Austen Brassard UTA
- Landon Bow IDH
- Aaron Harstad IDH
COORS LIGHT OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Joe Basaraba: 2 goals, 2 assists, 6 shots, plus-1 rating