Steelheads drop season finale to Mavs
Boise, ID - Former-Steelhead Josh Robinson made 37 saves, including 14 in the third period, to backstop the Missouri Mavericks (52-15-5) over the Idaho Steelheads (38-24-10), 3-1 in the regular season finale in front of 4,795 fans at CenturyLink Arena. The Steelheads had an opportunity to clinch the West Division lead with a point tonight, but will now have to wait for the conclusion of the Colorado Eagles' game in Alaska to learn their first playoff opponent.
Kyle Jean netted his 16th goal of the season, and third in three games for Idaho, to pull the Steelheads within a goal at 4:43 of the third period, but that's as close as the Steelheads would come.
With the Mavericks ahead 2-0 and Idaho looking for any offensive spark, Radoslav Illo chipped a bouncing puck into the offensive zone that Taylor Peters corralled in the high slot. Drawing two defenders to him, Peters slid a pass into open ice for Jean to skate into between the circles, fighting off a back-check from Andrew Courtney and sliding the puck through Robinson's legs to make it 2-1.
With the building buzzing, the Steelheads would have a golden opportunity to tie the score just four minutes later when Reed Seckel and Carter Verhaeghe were called for penalties on the same play, giving Idaho a full two minute 5-on-3 advantage. The Steelheads buzzed around the net but could not score, in part because of Robinson's play and in part because of a diving block by CJ Ludwig to deny Emil Molin.
The Steelheads were still pressing for the tie until Sebastien Sylvestre put the game out of reach with his 19th of the season with 1:43 left in regulation. Sylvestre drove down the left-wing boards and got a step on Zack Kamrass carrying the puck around the net and wrapping the puck around the right post before Philippe Desrosiers could get across, giving Missouri a 3-1 win.
The Mavericks were outshot 14-6 in the second period but emerged with a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes. Chris Owens netted his third of the season to break a scoreless tie at 3:30 of the second, carrying the puck down the left wing and below the goal line before whipping a puck in front that banked into the net off of Idaho's Kruise Reddick.
Just 1:42 later Verhaeghe made it 2-0. Sent down to Missouri by AHL Bridgeport earlier in the day, Verhaeghe skated in on Desrosiers while Rocco Carzo drove the net. Carzo collided with Corbin Baldwin sending both players to the ice in front of the Steelheads net, and during the fracas Verhaeghe fired it through the legs of Desrosiers.
The regulation loss was Desorisers first in 17 starts. Desrosiers' 16-game unbeaten streak (12-0-4) was the longest of any Steelheads goaltender in the ECHL era.
The Steelheads now await the result of the Colorado Eagles' game against the Alaska Aces to determine their first round playoff opponent. A Colorado win would award the West Division title to the Eagles, bumping the Steelheads to fifth in the Conference and sending them to Allen to face the Americans for the first round. An Aces win would earn Idaho its third division title in the ECHL era and line them up for a first-round rematch with the Utah Grizzlies starting in Boise.
The Steelheads finish the regular season with a 38-24-10 record, 19-11-6 on home ice.
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