Utah Grizzlies vs. Idaho Steelheads
Date(s) - Fri Mar 30, 2018
6:15 pm - 10:00 pm
Two regular-season games remain at CenturyLink Arena this season, and the Idaho Steelheads welcome the Utah Grizzlies to Boise with the Grizzlies still fighting for a playoff spot. The Steelheads have already secured a playoff spot and home ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs, while the Grizzlies sit six points back of the Mountain Division’s final playoff berth with two teams to leap past in order to get in. The season series also hangs in the balance, with the Steelheads holding a 6-5-2 record against Utah this season.
The Steelheads have not seen game action since Saturday, when they skated to a 5-2 win over the Rapid City Rush at CenturyLink Arena. Cole Ully scored twice for Idaho, and Will Merchant netted his third goal in four games. Tomas Sholl made 14 saves to extend his personal winning streak to six games and remain undefeated in regulation in 15 ECHL appearances.
While the Grizzlies are coming off a win in Colorado last Saturday that snapped a seven-game winless streak, the Steelheads are rolling with victories in five straight after their sweep of the Rush. It is the longest regular-season winning streak for the Steelheads since they won five in a row from March 15 to March 27, 2015. During the five-game run, the Steelheads have outscored opponents 16-3, with Tomas Sholl in net for all five. With two games left at CenturyLink Arena, Idaho has the sixth-best home record in the ECHL.
After Tomas Sholl earned ECHL Goaltender of the Week honors in consecutive weeks, it was Brady Brassart’s turn this week when he earned Player of the Week accolades with 5 points in two games against the Rush. Brassart leads the Steelheads with 1.11 points-per-game, having a career season with 22 goals and 50 points in 45 contests. Brassart has five goals and 15 points in his last eleven games, and linemate Steve McParland may cash in alongside Brassart as he looks to crack the 30-goal mark over the final five games.
Strike It Rich…
The Grizzlies made a big splash at the trade deadline when they moved All-Star defenseman Cliff Watson to the Colorado Eagles, but they are still getting plenty of offense from the blue line courtesy of defenseman Taylor Richart. Richart has missed Utah’s last two games but still leads all ECHL defensemen with 17 goals, ten more than he scored during his rookie season a year ago. Richart has recorded points in 12 of his last 15 games, totaling seven goals and 16 points in that time. He has four goals against Idaho this season.
Goals: McParland (29)
Assists: J. Dahl (38)
Points: J. Dahl (58)
Plus/Minus: McParland (+24)
Power Play Goals: McParland (9)
Goals-Against Average: Sholl (1.42)
Goals: Walters (28)
Assists: Walters (32)
Points: Walters (60)
Plus/Minus: Ausmus (+8)
Power Play Goals: Walters (7)
Goals-Against Average: Rumpel (3.13)
Sholl rolls as Steelheads win sixth straight
Play of the gameJefferson Dahl and Cole Ully essentially put the game away for Idaho midway through the third period after Dahl fought through two checks to create a 2-on-1 rush. Dahl carried the puck through the neutral zone in front of the Utah bench and both Sam Windle and Brendan Harms stepped up to make the hit. Dahl squeezed through them both, shrugging off both checks and cruising towards the net. With a head-fake, he got defenseman Mitch Jones to the ice and slid a pass for Ully to bury a one-timer for a 3-0 Idaho lead.
Boise, ID (3/30 /18)— Five different Steelheads found the back of the net on Friday night and Tomas Sholl made 20 saves for his fourth shutout of the season, as the Idaho Steelheads (41-20-7) blanked the Utah Grizzlies (26-27-15) 5-0 for their sixth straight win in front of a sell-out crowd 5,037 at CenturyLink Arena.
Sholl has earned his seventh straight victory and posted his fourth shutout in his last six outings, improving his Steelheads record to 7-0-1 with an 0.73 goals against average and a .970 save percentage in eight appearances.
Connor Chatham opened the scoring for the Steelheads at 12:32 of the first period, netting a power play goal for his 13th goal of the season and snapping a streak of eight games for Idaho without a power play goal. Chatham fired a shot from the right wing that kicked off the pads of goaltender Joel Rumpel, off a Utah defender, and over the goal line.Steve McParland scored his 30th goal of the season, becoming the eleventh Steelhead in the ECHL era to reach the 30-goal plateau.
Justin Parizek made it 2-0 at 14:23 of the second with his 25th goal of the season. After Brady Brassart was turned aside on two wrap-around attempts, Parizek collected the puck in the high slot and wired a wrister past Rumpel.
Cole Ully finished a 2-on-1 rush with Jefferson Dahl at 10:04 of the third period with his 14th of the year to make it 3-0. Jefferson Dahl split through two Utah defenders at the Grizzlies blue line to create the chance, sliding a feed past defender Mitch Jones to set up Ully for his fourth goal in the last three games and his eleventh point in 12 games.
McParland’s goal came 1:09 later to make it 4-0. Eric Sweetman stepped up at the blueline to deny a clearing attempt and weaved his way to the high slot for a shot off the crossbar, the rebound laying in the crease for McParland’s finish. Sweetman capped the scoring with an empty-net goal for his ninth goal of the season, and Idaho’s tenth this year shorthanded.
The Steelheads’ six-game winning streak is their longest since March 6, 2015, when they finished a nine-game winning streak. Idaho has outscored opponents 21-3 over the course of their winning streak, scoring five goals in their last three games in a row. Idaho has also won six straight games at CenturyLink Arena heading into Saturday’s regular-season home finale.
With the loss, the Grizzlies are on the brink of elimination from the playoffs. Any combination of one point lost by the Grizzlies, one point gained by the Allen Americans, or two points gained by the Tulsa Oilers will eliminate Utah from the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
The Steelheads have hosted 17 sell-out crowds this season, selling out ten of their last 14 home dates.
The Steelheads finish the home portion of their regular season schedule against the Utah Grizzlies on Saturday night. Puck-drop is scheduled for 7:10pm MT. The game is available on 1350AM KTIK and seen on Cable One and ECHLTV.
Goals: Chatham (13), Parizek (25), Ully (14), McParland (30), Sweetman (9)
Tomas Sholl: 20 saves on 20 shots
Power Play: 1-for-5
Penalty Kill: 5-for-5
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS OF THE GAME
- Cole Ully IDH
- Steve McParland IDH
- Tomas Sholl IDH
COORS LIGHT OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Cole Ully: Goal, assist, 3 shots, plus-1