Idaho Steelheads vs. Wichita Thunder
Date(s) - Fri Mar 02, 2018
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
The Steelheads play their fifth consecutive road game on Friday night with their first visit of the season to INTRUST Bank Arena to play the Wichita Thunder. The Steelheads have split the first four games of their four-game road swing, starting the trip with a loss in Utah before taking two of three from the Rapid City Rush. The Thunder are winless in their last five games, sitting six points behind second place Idaho and five points in front of fourth place Tulsa in the Mountain Division.
Philippe Desrosiers made 21 saves on Saturday night in Rapid City for his second shutout of the season, and the fourth for the Steelheads this year, in a 3-0 victory over the Rush. Will Merchant scored the eventual game-winner for the Steelheads, giving him eight goals in nine games. Max French and Steve McParland also scored for the Steelheads, who earned their eighth win of the season over the Rush.
We Hardly Know Ye…
With 16 games left on the Steelheads’ schedule, and 15 for the Thunder, there is still plenty of time for movement in the Mountain Division standings. Still, if the season ended today these teams would be meeting in the first round of the playoffs. While the Steelheads have played 49 games this season against divisional opponents, they have played the fewest against Wichita with only two meetings thus far. That pair at CenturyLink Arena in mid-December was a split, at the time tying the two teams in the standings with 36 points. The Steelheads also make just their second visit ever to INTRUST Bank Arena, having split a pair of overtime games in Wichita in February of 2016. The Steelheads and Colorado Eagles are tied for the best record against Mountain Division opponents with 63 points, while the Thunder hold the league’s fifth-best points total on home ice with 39.
Rosie the Rampart…
Philippe Desrosiers capped a stellar month of February last Saturday with a shutout victory over the Rapid City Rush, Desrosiers’ second shutout win in a span of five starts. In February, Desrosiers appeared in eight consecutive games (one in relief) and compiled a record of 5-2-0 along with a 1.85 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage. Desrosiers’ 22 wins rank fourth among ECHL goaltenders. Goaltending and defense may be more critical for the Steelheads this weekend without Max French and Steve McParland, both called to AHL Texas earlier this week. French was in the midst of a four-game goal-scoring streak in which he had scored six goals, while McParland leads the team this season with 25 tallies.
Close Down Cuddemi…
With several of Wichita’s other offensive leaders struggling to find the back of the net, Ralph Cuddemi has been the Thunder’s go-to producer. The former Utah Grizzly enters Friday’s action with a five-game point streak totaling four goals and ten points. Over his last nine games, Cuddemi has six goals and 14 points and has factored into 53.8 percent of Wichita’s goals. The Steelheads are well aware of Cuddemi’s capabilities, with the scorer netting a goal and an assist in the first two meetings with Wichita this year and two goals and five points in seven meetings last year when he was with Utah.
Goals: Parizek (21)
Assists: J. Dahl (35)
Points: J. Dahl (55)
Plus/Minus: Brassart/Sweetman (+14)
Power Play Goals: J. Dahl (8)
Goals-Against Average: Desrosiers (2.53)
Goals: Cuddemi (23)
Assists: Cuddemi/Bauer (26)
Points: Cuddemi (49)
Plus/Minus: Thibault (+11)
Power Play Goals: Beaudry (6)
Goals-Against Average: Starrett (2.91)
Steelheads hammer Thunder in Wichita
Play of the gameThe Thunder made a push to get back into the game with back-to-back goals midway through the second period to make it 4-2, but Michael Neville turned the momentum back in Idaho’s favor with his first professional goal. After Travis Brown’s shorthanded goal, the Steelheads remained on the power play. Eric Sweetman’s point shot produced a rebound that hopped over AJ White’s stick, but White recovered to force a turnover on a failed clearing attempt by Marc-Olivier Crevier-Morin. At the left circle, White fed Neville in the high slot for a one-timer and a 5-2 Steelheads lead.
Wichita, KS (3/2/18)— Justin Parizek scored two of Idaho’s three power play goals and Michael Neville netted the first of his professional career, as the Idaho Steelheads (33-18-6) blitzed the Wichita Thunder (29-23-6) on Friday night for a 5-2 win at INTRUST Bank Arena.
The Steelheads outshot the Thunder by a 21-7 margin in the first period on their way to a 3-0 lead, converting early and often against Wichita goaltender Shane Starrett.
Parizek opened the scoring at 8:33 of the first period on a power play one-timer from the left face-off dot, beating Starrett to the blocker off of a cross-ice feed from Cole Ully for his 22nd goal of the season. At 12:34 the power play struck again when Jefferson Dahl fed Parizek at the left face-off dot for another one-timer, one that Starrett stopped but was finished by Brady Brassart for his 18th goal and a 2-0 Steelheads lead.
Just 1:09 later, Parizek again had the puck in the offensive zone, carrying it out to the blue line before flinging a wrister on goal. With Parizek carrying the puck out to the point himself, defenseman Shane Hanna snuck down to the front of the net and was there to bury the rebound for his fifth goal of the season.
Parizek would open the second period with another power play goal at 3:37, his 23rd of the year on a wrist shot from the left circle past Starrett. Parizek recorded his first career four-point game and matched a Steelheads season-high with eleven shots on goal.
The Thunder would break through at 8:01 of the second period when Kevin Dufour’s shot from the high slot deflected off of Corbin Baldwin’s stick and over Philippe Desrosiers’ shoulder to make it 4-1, Dufour’s 17th goal of the year. Travis Brown brought the Thunder closer with a shorthanded goal at 12:38, his tenth of the season off a 2-on-1 rush.
The Steelheads stopped the bleeding 36 seconds after the Brown goal, with Neville wiring a one-timer from the high slot off an AJ White feed for his first professional goal in his second professional game.
At the end of the second period, Wichita’s Travis Ewanyk drew attention after a late hit on Cole Ully, which drew no penalty. Ewanyk would engage three times in the third period with Steelheads defenseman Aaron Harstad, with the duo first receiving matching double-minors for roughing. In their first shift out of the penalty box, they dropped the gloves for fighting majors. Upon escaping the box after their majors, they immediately fought again at the next faceoff.
Ewanyk was a member of the Steelheads last season. He was traded to Fort Wayne for Brady Vail, who was immediately dealt to the Norfolk Admirals for Harstad.
Desrosiers made 26 saves to earn his 23rd win of the season, appearing in his ninth consecutive game.
The Steelheads are now eight points clear of the third-place Thunder in the Mountain Division.
The Steelheads and Thunder meet for the fourth and final time this season on Sunday afternoon at INTRUST Bank Arena. Puck-drop is scheduled for 3:05pm MT, with the game available on 1350AM KTIK and on ECHLTV.
Goals: Parizek (22,23), Brassart (18), Hanna (5), Neville (1)
Philippe Desrosiers: 26 saves on 28 shots
Power Play: 3-for-6
Penalty Kill: 6-for-6
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS OF THE GAME
- Justin Parizek IDH
- Brady Brassart IDH
- Travis Brown WCH
COORS LIGHT OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Justin Parizek: 2 power play goals, 2 assists, 11 shots