Wichita Thunder vs. Idaho Steelheads
Date(s) - Fri Dec 15, 2017
6:15 pm - 10:00 pm
The Steelheads welcome the Wichita Thunder to Boise for the first time ever, with Idaho seeking its third straight win and the Thunder aiming to snap their first three-game losing skid of the season. The teams meet with an identical 34 points in the Mountain Division standings, tied for second place in the division and three points behind the Colorado Eagles. Idaho is playing its tenth home game in the last 12 contests, while the Thunder prepare for their fourth straight road game in four different cities.
The Steelheads began the week with their seventh win in nine games on Wednesday, a 5-2 win over Rapid City. Five different players scored for Idaho, including the first goals of the season for Joe Faust and Corbin Baldwin. Philippe Desrosiers made 33 saves for his eleventh win of the season, second-most in the ECHL.
Four Steelheads earned multiple points on Wednesday against the Rush. With a goal and two assists, Henrik Samuelsson notched his second three-point game of the season. Will Merchant had a goal and an assist to give the second-year forward four points in his last five outings, while Cody Corbett and AJ White both notched two helpers. Corbett is now tied for the league-lead with eleven power play assists. Steve McParland appeared on the score sheet just once with his 12th goal of the season, his fifth in six games and ninth point in nine contests.
The Steelheads and Thunder share several statistical similarities, both with 34 points and both strong defensive teams. Wichita is third in the ECHL in goals-against per game, while the Steelheads are fourth. The divisional opponents have played contrasting schedules, with Idaho playing 22 of the first 26 games against Mountain Division opponents compared to nine played within the division by Wichita. The Thunder are 6-3-0 this season against Mountain Division teams in their first season in the division, and 10-2-2 against the Central Division.
About the Thunder…
After finishing out of the playoff picture in their first three ECHL seasons, the Thunder have been one of the league’s best teams through the first third of 2017-18 and led the Western Conference until December 9th. Former Steelhead Travis Ewanyk has been among the offensive leaders, second on the team in scoring with 17 points and earning nine of those points in the past seven contests. Greg Chase is a point-per-game performer and Matt DeBlouw has scored five goals in the last five games. Overall, the Thunder feature six players averaging better than .70 points per game, along with the league’s third-best power play.
Goals: Parizek/McParland (12)
Assists: Corbett (17)
Points: Parizek/McParland (22)
Plus/Minus: Three players (+9)
Power Play Goals: McParland/Samuelsson (5)
Goals-Against Average: Desrosiers (2.28)
Goals: MacMillan (11)
Assists: Stevenson (11)
Points: MacMillan (19)
Plus/Minus: Thibault (+11)
Power Play Goals: MacMillan/Beaudry (3)
Goals-Against Average: Rumpel (2.67)
Faragher, Steelheads silence the Thunder
Play of the gameRyan Faragher’s acrobatics late in the third period stifled the Thunder, along with some help from his defense. Wichita’s best chance to pull within one came on a sequence of chances from Ralph Cuddemi. After Faragher made an initial stop, the rebound leaked to the slot where Cuddemi followed up with another attempt. Faragher did the splits to deny the second and third tries, before the final shot was deflected over the top of the net by a sliding Corbin Baldwin. The Steelheads have held opponents to two goals or fewer in seven consecutive contests.
Boise, ID (12/15/17)— Ryan Faragher carried a shutout bid into the game’s final minute and made 32 saves for his third consecutive victory, as he backstopped the Idaho Steelheads (16-7-4) to a 3-1 win over the Wichita Thunder (16-6-2) on Friday night at CenturyLink Arena. The victory moved Idaho past the Thunder and into sole possession of second place in the Western Conference.
Jeremy Beaudry netted his fifth goal of the season with 23 seconds left in the third period to snap Faragher’s shutout streak, but not before the Steelheads goaltender made several scrambling saves in the third period to preserve an Idaho lead. Faragher made two saves in close on Wichita’s Ralph Cuddemi, going down to a split to cover the lower portion of the net before a third Cuddemi try was blocked away by Corbin Baldwin. Faragher stacked the pads minutes later on another sequence to deny former Steelhead Travis Ewanyk.
Faragher stopped Mark MacMillan on a penalty shot in the second period, the first penalty shot the Steelheads have faced this season, preserving a scoreless tie. Faragher went 142:31 without surrendering a goal, dating back to his win last Wednesday in Utah and including his shutout victory on home ice against the Grizzlies on Saturday.
Henrik Samuelsson netted his tenth goal of the season with 5:29 remaining to give Idaho insurance with a 3-0 lead. An errant Travis Brown pass through the middle of the Wichita zone was intercepted by AJ White, who fed Samuelsson in the high slot for a wrister past Joel Rumpel.
Idaho opened the scoring at 14:39 of the second period when Wichita’s Etienne Boutet turned the puck over in his own zone, giving the puck right to Connor Chatham and yielding a 2-on-1 chance. Chatham slid a pass through Boutet to Jefferson Dahl, who finished for his seventh goal of the season. It was Dahl’s first game since December 2nd after a five-game absence due to injury.
Just 1:27 later, Joe Faust scored his second goal of the season, and second in two games, with the help of a fortunate bounce. Faust fired a puck from the neutral zone the ricocheted off of a glass stanchion and caromed back towards the Thunder net, catching Rumpel by surprise as the puck slid into the open side.
The Steelheads killed off all six Wichita power play chances, Idaho now negating 29 of the last 31 shorthanded situations faced.
The Steelheads have won eight of their last ten games and three in a row, while the Thunder are in the midst of a season-long four-game losing streak. The win, coupled with a Colorado loss in Tulsa, moved the Steelheads to within one point of the conference lead.
Friday was Wichita’s first ever visit to CenturyLink Arena.
The Steelheads and Thunder square off again tomorrow night at CenturyLink Arena, the final game of Idaho’s home stand and the Steelheads’ eleventh game at CenturyLink Arena in the past 13 contests. Puck-drop is scheduled for 7:10pm MT, with the game available on 1350AM KTIK, Cable One, and on ECHLTV.
Goals: Dahl (7), Faust (2), Samuelsson (10)
Ryan Faragher: 32 saves on 33 shots
Power Play: 0-for-7
Penalty Kill: 6-for-6
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS OF THE GAME
- Ryan Faragher IDH
- Tommy Thompson IDH
- Jefferson Dahl IDH
COORS LIGHT OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Henrik Samuelsson: Goal, 6 shots, plus-1 rating