Boise, ID (3/2/13) - Three of four shooters found the back of the net and Tyler Beskorowany turned aside all three shooters he faced in the game-ending shootout Saturday night as the Idaho Steelheads upended the Utah Grizzlies, 4-3, at CenturyLink Arena.
Idaho (37-15-7) extends its point streak to seven consecutive games, going 5-0-2 in that stretch to improve to 81 points on the season. Idaho has lost just four games at home in regulation this season, the fewest in the ECHL.
The Steelheads drew first blood at 4:02 of the first period when defensemen Scott Todd and William Lacasse combined to deliver the puck to Ian Watters in the left-wing circle and Watters snapped home his seventh goal of the season to make it 1-0. Idaho had several chances to extend the lead, out-shooting Utah 17-7 in the first frame, but the Grizzlies drew even on Alex Tuckerman's goal at 13:03 of the first to knot the score at 1-1 after one period.
Ian Schultz game Utah a 2-1 lead in the first minute of the second period as the Steelheads continued to out-chance the Grizzlies, but Utah netminder Adam Morrison continued to hold Idaho at bay until the third period. Less than a minute into the final frame, Evan Stoflet was whistled for roughing to put Idaho on the power play. Just thirteen seconds into the power play, at 1:02 of the third, Jeremie Blain rifled a blast through traffic from the top of the right circle, his seventh goal of the season, to tie the game at two. Utah grabbed the lead back at 12:13 as Stoflet redeemed himself with a wrister past Beskorowany to finish an offensive rush, giving Utah a 3-2 lead.
With less than four minutes to play, Idaho set up for an offensive zone draw. The puck careened off the draw toward the slot with players from both sides banging at the loose puck. It spun toward the left edge of the crease where Morrison dove out, attempting to cover the puck. He couldn't reach it, though, leaving Austin Smith all alone from the left post to gather and lift the puck over the prone goaltender at 16:50 of the third to tie the game at 3-3.
Smith's 22nd of the season was his third in as many games since being reassigned to Idaho by the NHL's Dallas Stars earlier this week.
Neither team scored over the remainder of regulation time or the five-minute overtime session, sending Idaho to its third shootout over the past four games. In the first round of the shootout, head coach Brad Ralph shuffled his shootout order, leading off with the captain, Ben Ondrus. Ondrus, in just his second shootout attempt of the season, shuffled from his forehand to his backhand, beating Morrison cleanly to give Idaho the lead and snap a streak of 24 consecutive shootout shooters who had come up empty for the Steelheads, dating back to November 10.
While Beskorowany was standing tall in net, denying Adam Estoclet, Mark Isherwood, and Kory Falite, Idaho got two more shootout goals from Austin Smith and Tyler Gron to seal the shootout win.
Beskorowany picked up the win after stopping 23 of 26 shots and all three shootout shooters. Morrison played well in defeat, stopping 45 of 48 Idaho shots before faltering in the shootout. Idaho was 1-3 on the power play and the penalty kill was a perfect 3-3 for the Steelheads.
Idaho's nine-game homestand continues Tuesday as the Steelheads welcome the Colorado Eagles to town. 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 - Ian Watters
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:
1) Ian Watters (ID)
2) Austin Smith (ID)
3) Evan Stoflet (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.