March 22, 2013 - ECHL (ECHL) - Idaho Steelheads
Boise, ID - Rookie goaltender Josh Robinson turned aside all 30 shots he faced, including 16 in the third period alone, to post his fifth shutout of the season as the Idaho Steelheads defeated the Ontario Reign, 3-0, at CenturyLink Arena Friday night.
Robinson tied the team's single-season, ECHL-era record for shutouts. The mark had previously been set by Steve Silverthorn, who authored five shutouts during the 2006-07 season for the Steelheads. Robinson's five shutouts have all come in his last 15 starts, starting with a shutout win over the Utah Grizzlies on February 10.
Friday's game had a "playoff" atmosphere to it, from the hard-fought action on the ice to the exhuberant energy brought by 4,785 fans in Idaho's second-to-last home game of the regular season.
Neither team could find the net in the first or most of the second as the teams - and their goaltenders - made it difficult to generate any good scoring chances despite numerous power play opportunities for both teams. Idaho finally got on the board at 15:31 of the second period. Brett Robinson's shot from the right circle produced a long rebound rolling out toward the top of the left circle, where Jace Coyle strode into the puck and blasted it top-shelf past Mike Condon on the power play to make it 1-0. It was Coyle's eighth goal of the campaign. Ontario nearly tied it in the closing seconds of the period, also on the power play, but a centering pass hopped over the stick of a wide-open Jake Hauswirth at the left post to preserve Idaho's slim, one-goal lead.
The Steelheads would pick up a big insurance goal at 7:47 of the third period and it once again came on the power play. Mike Towns harrassed Ontario defenseman Matt Register into a turnover that rolled through the trapezoid behind the Ontario net directly to Ian Watters. Watters immediately back-handed a pass into the slot to David Toews and Toews, playing his 100th professional game, waited for Condon to commit before flipping a backhand under the crossbar for his 11th goal of the season, nine of which have come with Idaho since being acquired in January.
The Reign intensified the pressure after the Toews goal, not allowing the Steelheads to gain much puck control outside of its own zone. Reign coach Jason Christie, down 2-0, gambled by pulling Condon from the net with nearly three minutes remaining for an extra attacker. The Steelheads capitalized at 17:54 when Rylan Galiardi chipped a puck up the left-wing wall to Mike Towns. Towns fought off a Reign defender before centering the puck to Austin Smith for an easy, game-clinching empty-netter to make it 3-0. Smith now has 27 goals in 35 games at the ECHL level with Idaho.
Robinson and the Steelheads finished off the shutout, improving the team's overall record to 43-18-7. Robinson's personal record improved to 27-7-4. The 27 wins ties him for third-most for a Steelheads goaltender in the ECHL era. Matt Climie also won 27 in 2008-09. Silverthorn's 36 in '06-'07 is the high-water mark.
Idaho's power play produced again on Friday, going 2-6. The Idaho penalty kill was also strong, turning aside all five of Ontario's man-advantages, including a brief two-man advantage in the first period.
Idaho draws the curtain on the home portion of its regular-season schedule Saturday night with one more game against the Ontario Reign. There are promotions galore, including a visit from the Boise Hawks and Tim's Cascade Snacks, along with free stress-relievers in the shape of a recycling truck, courtesy of Republic Services and the city of Boise's "Curb It" campaign. 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 - David Toews
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:
1) Josh Robinson (ID)
2) Jace Coyle (ID)
3) David Toews (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.