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Sauter Signs Friesen, Pearce

August 29, 2010 - ECHL (ECHL) - Idaho Steelheads News Release

(Boise, ID) - Head coach and director of hockey operations Hardy Sauter announced Sunday that one of the key cogs of last season's National Conference championship team has signed and will be returning to the Steelheads.

Defenseman Dustin Friesen was one of two players Sauter announced, with forward Rob Pearce being the other. Before turning pro, the pair played together at the University of New Brunswick.

The 27-year-old Friesen was acquired in January by the Steelheads from the Utah Grizzlies and instantly became one of the team's top players. He handed out 15 assists in 30 regular-season games with Idaho and cemented a spot in the team's top defensive pairing.

Once the Kelly Cup playoffs rolled around, Friesen became arguably the team's most valuable player. He averaged nearly a point per game (13 points in 15 games) from the blue line and led the ECHL in post-season plus/minus with a whopping plus-19 rating as the Steelheads reached the Kelly Cup finals.

Pearce, also 27, spent last season with the ECHL's Ontario Reign. In 46 games, Pearce had 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists). He had a goal and two assists in five contests against Idaho. He and Friesen were teammates on the 2007 CIS University Cup championship team with New Brunswick, with Pearce scoring the game-winning goal in overtime of the title game.

That brings the total number of defensemen invited to training camp thusfar to seven: Friesen, Dustin Molle, Weston Tardy, Cody Lampl, Brendan Milnamow, Jason Fredricks, and Mike Berube. Sauter has also signed seven forwards - Pearce, Adam Huxley, Matt McKnight, Geoff Irwin, Kael Mouillierat, Brandon Campose, and Malcolm Gwilliam.

The Steelheads open the regular season on October 15 when they host the Victoria Salmon Kings at Qwest Arena. Ticket plans for the 2010-2011 season are available right now, starting at just $275 per seat for all 36 home games during the regular season. Partial-season plans are also available. Contact the Steelheads front office at 208.383.0080 or log on to for more information.

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