Rapid City Rush vs. Idaho Steelheads
Date(s) - Fri Mar 23, 2018
6:15 pm - 10:00 pm
The Steelheads have a chance to clinch a playoff spot tonight when they continue their series against the Rapid City Rush at CenturyLink Arena. The Steelheads earned their third straight win on Wednesday night with a 2-1 shootout victory in the series-opener, while the Rush dropped their ninth game in the last ten. Idaho is 9-2-0 in eleven games with the Rush this season.
Charlie Dodero scored the only goal of regulation for the Steelheads on Wednesday. The Rush would answer to force overtime, with Alec Baer scoring his first professional goal in his pro debut. Idaho prevailed in the shootout, with Dodero and Justin Parizek both scoring goals while Tomas Sholl denied four of five breakaways.
Clinching a Spot…
The Idaho Steelheads can clinch a playoff spot on Friday night with a bit of help. Idaho’s magic number is three points, and Idaho can secure a playoff berth for the 21st consecutive season with a win over Rapid City coupled with a loss for the Allen Americans or the Tulsa Oilers. Idaho also gets in with an overtime or shootout loss coupled with a regulation loss for Allen or Tulsa. The Americans are winless in three straight and host the Kansas City Mavericks, while Tulsa hosts last-place Quad City, losers of eight in a row. Dating back to the WCHL era, the Steelheads own the longest active streak of consecutive playoff appearances in pro hockey.
The Steelheads’ shootout win over the Rush on Wednesday was the fifth consecutive game at CenturyLink Arena to go beyond regulation, dating back to a shootout win over the Colorado Eagles on February 17th. The Steelheads have fared well in those five, winning four of them with a pair of shootout wins and two overtimes wins as well. Justin Parizek’s goal in the third round of Wednesday’s shootout extended the game before Charlie Dodero ultimately won the game in the fifth round to improve Idaho’s shootout record to 7-3. Parizek is 6-for-9 in shootouts this year, his six goals leading the ECHL and Idaho’s seven wins tied for the league lead.
Waiting For a Break…
The Steelheads have won three straight and have points in six of their last seven (5-1-1), often relying on late scoring in the past three weeks. The Steelheads scored their only goal of regulation on Wednesday at 15:18 of the third period, and scored their only goal on Friday in Charleston at 2:49 of the third. Idaho has not scored in the first period in four straight games, nor in six of the last seven. Over the same span, Idaho has scored only seven goals in the first 40 minutes of games, but outscored opponents 7-2 in third periods.
Goals: McParland (28)
Assists: J. Dahl (36)
Points: J. Dahl (56)
Plus/Minus: McParland (+21)
Power Play Goals: McParland (9)
Goals-Against Average: Sholl (1.49)
Goals: Sivak (23)
Assists: Sivak (30)
Points: Sivak (53)
Plus/Minus: Sherbinin/Lang (+3)
Power Play Goals: Three Players (3)
Goals-Against Average: Vay (3.24)
Play of the gameWith the Rapid City Rush only dressing 13 skaters, the Steelheads wanted to pounce early. They did just that on their second shift, with Brady Brassart and Steve McParland providing pressure along the boards in the Rush zone. The puck rolled into the left-wing corner and McParland quickly snapped a pass to Parizek in the soft area of the high slot where he had time to fire a wrister past Adam Vay for a 1-0 Idaho lead.
Boise, ID (3/23/18)— Brady Brassart and Justin Parizek each had a goal and two assists and Tomas Sholl stopped 22 shots for his third shutout in four starts, as the Idaho Steelheads (39-20-7) skated to a 5-0 win over the Rapid City Rush (21-39-6) on Friday night in front of 4,473 fans at CenturyLink Arena to clinch a spot in the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs.
The Steelheads clinched thanks to their fourth straight win, coupled with the Tulsa Oilers’ 3-2 loss to the Quad City Mallards at BOK Center on Friday night. The Steelheads have made the playoffs for 21 consecutive years (WCHL and ECHL eras combined), the longest active streak of consecutive playoff appearances in professional hockey.
Parizek opened the scoring 45 seconds into the game, netting his first goal in nine games and his 24th of the season. Steve McParland fed a pass out to the slot from the left-wing corner, finding Parizek for a wrist shot past the glove of Adam Vay.
At 14:26 of the first, Michael Neville extended the lead with his second goal of the season. Connor Chatham forced the turnover below the goal line and found Neville between the hash marks to give Idaho a 2-0 lead.
Will Merchant’s 16th goal of the season made it 3-0 at 5:00 of the second period, taking a feed in the high slot from Jefferson Dahl to beat Vay. The Steelheads tacked on two more goals in the third period against new goaltender Christian Frey, Cole Ully burying his eleventh of the year from the right circle at 4:57 of the third and Brassart capping the scoring at 18:04 with his 22nd of the year from between the circles.
Brassart earned his second three-point game of the season, while Parizek earned his third.
Sholl improved to 10-0-2 this season, and 5-0-1 as a Steelhead. His goals-against average with the Steelheads is 0.64 and his save percentage is .976. The back-to-back Goaltender of the Week award winner has given up one goal in his last 270:14 of work.
The Steelheads have matched their longest winning streak of the season at four games, last achieved on November 18th. Idaho has won ten of twelve meetings with Rapid City this year.
The Steelheads look for the sweep of the Rush on Saturday night on Marvel Super Hero Night at CenturyLink Arena. Puck-drop is scheduled for 7:10pm MT. The game is available on 1350AM KTIK and seen on Cable One and ECHLTV.
Goals: Parizek (24), Neville (2), Merchant (16), Ully (11), Brassart (22)
Tomas Sholl: 22 saves on 22 shots
Power Play: 0-for-3
Penalty Kill: 0-for-2
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS OF THE GAME
- Brady Brassart IDH
- Justin Parizek IDH
- Tomas Sholl IDH
COORS LIGHT OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Brady Brassart: Goal, two assists, 3 shots, plus-3