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Steelheads Clinch 20th Consecutive Playoff Berth, Defeat Eagles

March 30, 2017 - ECHL (ECHL) - Idaho Steelheads News Release


Steelheads Clinch 20th Consecutive Playoff Berth, Defeat Eagles
Steelheads Clinch 20th Consecutive Playoff Berth, Defeat Eagles
(Idaho Steelheads)

Boise, ID- Charlie Dodero and Will Merchant found the back of the net and Landon Bow stopped 31 shots, as the Idaho Steelheads (39-21-7) bottled up the Colorado Eagles (45-18-5) and clinched their 20th consecutive playoff berth on Wednesday night with a 2-1 win in front of 4,061 fans at CenturyLink Arena.

The Steelheads officially clinched a playoff spot prior to the second period of their game, when in Fort Wayne the Komets had completed a 5-2 win over the Alaska Aces. Regardless, the Steelheads finished the game with their third straight victory and put a winning touch on their playoff spot. The Steelheads will make not just their 20th consecutive playoff appearance, but their 14th consecutive in the ECHL. Their streak of 20 consecutive playoff berths is the longest among NHL, AHL, and ECHL teams.

At 12:24 of the second period, Dodero opened the scoring with his fourth goal of the season. Entering the zone down the left wing, Dodero made a spin-o-rama move on defenseman Matt Register at the face-off dot and spun a backhander to the front of the goal. The puck caromed off the skate of defenseman Sean Zimmerman and past Colorado goaltender Kent Simpson for a power play goal and a 1-0 Steelheads lead.

At 15:05 of the second, Will Merchant extended the Idaho lead. A shot from the slot by Jefferson Dahl went off Simpson's blocker but then went off Merchant's thigh as he drove the net. The puck rolled over the goal line for Merchant's 21st goal of the season, and third in four games. Rob Linsmayer earned an assist on the play, extending his points streak to eight games.

The Eagles would answer back 44 seconds later, when a point-blank chance for Matt Garbowsky was stopped by Bow with the left arm. Bow thought the puck was underneath him, but the puck had rolled free for Johnny Lazo to poke home his fourth of the year.

The Steelheads were a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill, including 32 seconds of 5-on-3 time against the league's top power play. The Steelheads penalty kill has stopped 21 of the past 23 disadvantages.

The Steelheads clinched a playoff spot in their 67th game of the season, the same amount of games it took them to clinch last season. The Steelheads currently sit third in the Mountain Division, 13 points ahead of fourth-place Alaska and nine points behind the Allen Americans.

The Steelheads and Eagles meet again on Friday night at CenturyLink Arenafor the middle game of their three-game series.. Puck-drop is scheduled for 7:10pm MT with the game available on 1350AM KTIK, Cable One, and on ECHLTV.

STEELHEADS STATS:

Goals: Dodero (4); Merchant (21)

Landon Bow: 31 saves on 32 shots

Power Play: 1-for-3

Penalty Kill: 3-for-3

CENTURYLINK THREE STARS OF THE GAME

1. Charlie Dodero IDH

2. Landon Bow IDH

3. Aaron Harstad IDH

COORS LIGHT OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME

Will Merchant: Game-winning goal, 1 shot, plus-1 rating

PLAY OF THE GAME:

Wednesday night had a playoff feel, with both teams playing strong defense and closing down shooting lanes to keep some of the marquee names quiet. Cracking the scoreboard was going to take hard work and a little extra luck, and Charlie Dodero was rewarded for both when he powered into the offensive zone and made a spin move against Matt Register just in order to get the puck towards the front of the net. That pass to the front found its way behind Simpson to put the Steelheads in front 1-0 against an Eagles team that is 33-1-1 this season when scoring first.





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Steelheads Clinch 20th Consecutive Playoff Berth, Defeat Eagles
Steelheads Clinch 20th Consecutive Playoff Berth, Defeat Eagles

  

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