January 4, 2013 - ECHL (ECHL) - Idaho Steelheads
Boise, ID - Austin Smith netted a pair of spinning, back-handed goals in the third period, part of a four-goal outburst over the final twenty minutes as the Idaho Steelheads pulled away from the Bakersfield Condors, 7-2, at CenturyLink Arena Friday night.
Smith's tallies, coming five minutes apart midway through the third period, turned a 3-2 Idaho lead into a 5-2 Idaho lead and left a near-sellout crowd of 4,791 fans in a frenzy. The Steelheads improved to 21-7-5 on the season with the victory.
Idaho would strike first with a pair of goals in the opening period. First, at 4:07, Idaho would find the net on the power play as Tristan King's pass from the right-hand half wall landed perfectly on the tape of defenseman Matt Case in the left-hand circle. Case one-timed home his third of the season to put Idaho on top. The lead would increase at 7:30 when Justin Dowling and King teamed to get the puck to Austin Fyten on the left-hand wing. Fyten carried it in deep, made a nice forehand-to-backhand move before sliding the puck through the legs of Bakersfield goaltender Scott Greenham to make it 2-0.
It became 3-0 on Jeremie Blain's sixth of the season, a one-time snap from the slot at the hashmarks off an offensive-zone scramble at 6:36 of the second period. Bakersfield chipped away with a Peter Boyd goal midway through the second and a Francis Verrault goal early in the third, making it 3-2, but that's when the Steelheads would get busy.
Two minutes after Verrault got the Condors within a goal, Smith took a pass from Mathieu Tousignant in the right circle and, with Condors all around him, spun a quick backhander from the right face-off dot into the top corner on the far side of the net, his team-leading 17th of the season, at 5:50 of the third period. He wasn't done, though. At 10:34, he pounced on a loose puck on the left-hand wing, carried it in himself, before spinning a near-mirror image goal, a backhander from just inside the left face-off dot under Greenham's arm to make it 5-2, his 18th of the season, and once again ignite the crowd.
Idaho would add two more in the third. First, it was Sam Carrick from the bottom of the right circle at 12:34, assisted by Bryce Reddick (his first professional point) at 12:34 and then it was Tousignant with a nice finish of a Smith pass on the doorstep at 17:23 to extend the lead to 7-2.
Smith (two goals, two assists), Fyten (goal, assist), Tousignant (goal, assist) and King (two assists) each registered multi-point nights. Smith and Case were each plus-3 as well for Idaho.
Josh Robinson improved his personal record in net to 13-1-2 with the win, stopping 35 of 37 Bakersfield shots. Greenham took the loss, making 34 saves on 41 Idaho shots. Idaho was 1-2 on the power play while Bakersfield went 0-3. Idaho has now successfully killed off 26 of the last 27 penalties it has faced.
The same two teams will mix it up again Saturday night at CenturyLink Arena. 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 Smith
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:
1) Austin Smith (ID)
2) Austin Fyten (ID)
3) Matt Case (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.