Boise, ID (2/27/13) - The Idaho Steelheads came up empty on all six shootout shots on Wednesday night, opening the door for Kory Falite to knock home the game-winner in the sixth round of the shootout to lift the Utah Grizzlies to a 3-2 win at CenturyLink Arena in Boise.
Idaho (35-15-7) does pick up one point in the standings, improving to 77 points, which is nine points behind conference-leading Alaska with 15 games left in the regular season. It is the fifth consecutive game where Idaho has picked up at least one point in the standings.
The Steelheads drew first blood two minutes in to the contest when Ben Ondrus found Tyler Gron up the right-hand wing. Gron made a strong move to the center of the ice, cutting across the front of the goal as he pulled the puck from his forehand to his backhand before lifting the puck past Utah goaltender Adam Morrison to give Idaho a 1-0 lead. Gron's 14th of the season came in his 20th game with the team and extended his goal streak to three straight games.
Utah would answer quickly at 7:53 of the first when James Martin's point shot through traffic found the back of the net to tie the game at one. The Grizzlies nearly broke the tie in the second period, but Idaho's Josh Robinson robbed Gaelen Patterson from the top of the crease as the 1-1 tie would hold through two periods.
In the third, Idaho would again score early to take a one-goal lead. This time, it was Ian Watters with a perfect, cross-ice pass from the left wing into the right circle to Sam Carrick, who blasted home a one-timer at 1:09 of the third to give Idaho a 2-1 lead. Again, the lead would be short-lived, as Utah cashed in quickly on a power play opportunity at 3:09 of the third. Patterson re-directed an Adam Estoclet centering pass past Robinson to even the score at 2-2.
Utah would play cautiously from that point, managing to hold the Steelheads at bay through regulation despite being out-shot 13-3 in the third period. The Grizzlies got a power-play opportunity in overtime but came up empty due in large part to excellent work on the penalty kill by Idaho's Ondrus, Jeremie Blain, and Patrick Cullity, each of whom blocked shots during the 4-on-3 Utah advantage that ended the overtime session.
In the ensuing shootout, Idaho would go 0-for-6, with Austin Smith having the best chance but his shot rolled through the crease, just missing the near post from the far side of the crease. In the bottom of the sixth round, Utah's Kory Falite beat Robinson cleanly to secure the win for the Grizzlies.
Idaho has now misfired on its last 24 shootout shots, dating back to November 10 against Bakersfield.
Both goaltenders played well, with Morrison picking up the win after stopping 33 shots in live action and keeping Idaho out of the net in all six rounds of the shootout. Robinson took the loss despite stopping 23 shots during live play and five of six shootout shooters. Utah was 1-4 on the power play while Idaho was 0-3.
Idaho's nine-game homestand continues Friday night against Utah Grizzlies on CenturyLink "Mousepad Giveaway Night." 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 - Tyler Gron
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:
1) Sam Carrick (ID)
2) Tyler Gron (ID)
3) Gaelen Patterson (UT)
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.