Boise, ID (1/19/13) - Nick Mazzolini's power play goal with less than five minutes to play gave the Alaska Aces the lead and a bad goal-mouth hop inside the final minute allowed the Aces to hold on to beat the Idaho Steelheads, 4-3, in an entertaining, back-and-forth affair Saturday night.
The game was played in front of 5,190 fans at Boise's CenturyLink Arena, Idaho's second consecutive sellout crowd and third in its last five home games.
Idaho (24-10-5) would draw first blood less than three minutes in when Austin Fyten found Matt Case up the left-hand wall at 2:49. Case stepped into a shot from just inside the blue line that beat Alaska goaltender Mark Guggenberger, his fourth of the season, to give the Steelheads a 1-0 lead.
Alaska would respond with two goals, one from Mike Baran on the power play and one from Alex Hudson at even strength, to take a 2-1 lead with less than four minutes to go in the first, but Idaho would tie the game on Brett Robinson's power-play strike at 18:30 as he converted a shot from the right circle off a feed from Sam Carrick. With the assist, Carrick now has ten points in his past nine games for Idaho.
The visitors would re-take the lead midway through the second period on a Zach Harrison goal. He and Samson Mahbod worked a two-on-one rush, with Mahbod feeding Harrison alone at the far post at 9:47 to put Alaska up, 3-2.
Once again, the Steelheads would respond. Fyten rushed a puck up the left wing and launched a shot at Guggenberger. The Alaska goaltender made the initial save but the rebound bounded right onto the tape of Tristan King, who snapped home his 14th of the season at 11:21 of the second as he was shoved into the end boards to even the score at three. That score would hold deep into the third period with each goaltender making timely saves, including a brilliant left-legpad save from Robinson midway through the third to keep the game tied.
But, with less than five minutes to play, Alaska struck on the power play again. This time, it was Nick Mazzolini getting free between the circle near the hashmarks, going top shelf to beat Robinson cleanly at 15:08 of the third for his 23rd goal of the season to make it 4-3 Alaska. Idaho got a late power play of its own and appeared primed to tie the game when a long shot bounced off the end boards behind the Aces net and bounced right to David deKastrozza, who was all alone at the right post. But the puck rattled off the boards and bounced over his stick, thwarting Idaho's best hope of a final flurry.
Guggenberger got the win, saving 30 of 33 shots. Robinson took the loss for Idaho, making 30 saves on 34 shots. The Steelheads converted one of four power-play opportunities on the evening.
Idaho plays at Utah on Monday, a 1:35 PM game at the Maverik Center to kick off a six-game road trip that puts the Steelheads in Utah, South Carolina, Georgia, and California over the next two weeks.
Idaho's next home game is February 6 against the Utah Grizzlies. Tickets are available by calling the CenturyLink Arena box office at 208.331.8497 or by going online at www.idahosteelheads.com
COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME - Austin Fyten
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:
1) Mike Baran (AK)
2) Nick Mazzolini (AK)
3) Austin Fyten (ID)
Group outings at a Steelheads game are a great way to gather friends, colleagues, or co-workers for a fun night out in downtown Boise. Ticket prices are discounted and you can get a Pepsi, Double-R Ranch Hot Dog, and bag of Tim’s Cascade Chips with each ticket. Contact the Steelheads front office at 208.383.0080 or log on to www.idahosteelheads.com for more information.