Boise, ID (3/20/13) - In a game that featured five power-play goals and a late empty-netter, Kyle Kraemer's 5-on-5 goal from the doorstep off a loose-puck scramble turned out to be the game-winner Wednesday night as the Ontario Reign held off the Idaho Steelheads, 5-3, at CenturyLink Arena in Boise.
The game was played in front of 3,919 fans as Idaho's record fell to 42-18-7 (91 points), third-best in the ECHL's Western Conference.
The first score of the night seemed to set the tone, coming on the power play, at 3:55 of the first period. Idaho's Steve Ferry fed the puck from the left point to the right circle to Brett Robinson who had all kinds of time to set up and fire a wrister past Ontario's Mike Condon to give the Steelheads a 1-0 lead. Ferry's assist was his first professional point on Robinson's sixth goal of the season.
Ontario would score twice, once on the power play and once as a power play expired, to take a 2-1 lead after one period of play as the Reign out-shot Idaho, 17-7, in the first period.
Idaho found its stride early in the second, thanks to another early power-play goal. This time, it was Ian Watters keeping a puck alive at the top of the crease at the 1:44 mark of the second where Tyler Gron tapped it in for his 18th of the season to tie the game at two goals apiece. Idaho would have chances to take the lead, including an Austin Smith shot that hit the crossbar, but the game stayed square at 2-2 until Derek Couture redirected a Matt Register power-play point shot over Josh Robinson's shoulder at 14:26 of the second to put Ontario back on top, 3-2.
Early in the third, the Reign got the insurance goal it needed. A puck popped into the air and landed near the top of the crease. It bounded around momentarily with sticks swinging all around it before Kraemer was able to square it up and push it past Robinson at 2:57 of the third to give Ontario a two-goal lead at 3-2.
The Steelheads would inch closer at 6:54 of the third period with its third power-play goal of the night as Gron picked up the puck in the left-hand corner, started to spin up the wall, realized no one was near him, and spun in the wing toward the net instead. His quick wrister from the inside of the left circle at 6:54 of the third beat Condon cleanly through the leg pads, giving Gron two goals on the night and 19 goals on the season for Idaho.
Late in the third, Condon mishandled a routine dump-in and the puck bounded dangerously out into the slot in front of the net. Ontario's Adrian Van de Mosselaer alertly tied up the stick of a hustling Ian Watters, bailing Condon out and preventing an easy game-tying goal. Ontario would later add an empty-net goal from Brady Calla at 19:18 of the third to conclude the scoring.
Despite some struggles, Condon held on for his first win as a professional goaltender, stopping 28 of 31 Idaho shots. Josh Robinson took the loss, making 35 saves along the way.
Both teams found success on the power play during the game. Idaho's potent unit scored on three of its seven chances. Ontario was 2-6.
Friday is the final Project Filter "Autograph Card Giveaway" of the season, followed by a full-team autograph session on the ice after the game against the Ontario Reign. 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) Kyle Kraemer (ONT)
2) Tyler Gron (ID)
3) Matt Register (ONT)
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.