Steelheads Rally for OT Victory
Boise, ID (3/19/14) - Mitch Wahl's blast from the top of the left-wing circle at 3:57 of overtime found the back of the net and lifted the Idaho Steelheads to an exciting, come-from-behind 4-3 win over the Colorado Eagles on Wednesday night.
With the victory, Idaho (33-24-7) now has six wins when trailing after two periods, tied for second-most in the ECHL. Only Kalamazoo (7) has more.
The visiting Eagles scored first when Greg Gardner jabbed a loose puck to the front of the net for Luke Fulghum at 5:26 of the first period to make it 1-0. Idaho nearly tied it late in the first on a short-handed rush but Justin Mercier's shot clanged off the right-wing post.
Idaho tied it in the opening seconds of the second period when Rob Linsmayer picked up an offensive-zone faceoff win by Gaelan Patterson and tucked a backhand five-hole on Marc Cheverie just 18 seconds into the middle frame, Linsmayer's 16th goal of the season (14 with Idaho). Colorado would take the lead back on a Kevin Young power-play goal at 6:22 of the second, a point shot that just beat Kevin Kapalka inside the left-wing post. Young has five goals on the season - four against Idaho.
Colorado extended the lead early in the third on another power-play goal, this time from Kyle Kraemer, at the 1:11 mark to put Idaho in a two-goal hole, 3-1. The Steelheads trimmed the lead at 6:26 when a Tommy Grant centering pass from below the goal line hit the stick of an Eagles' player and redirected in past Cheverie. Grant got credit for his team-leading 19th goal of the season with one of the assists going to William Rapuzzi, which extended his career-best point streak to eight consecutive games.
Still trailing by a goal midway through the third, Patrick Cullity was sent to the penalty box for Idaho to put the Steelheads on the penalty kill. Thirty seconds into the penalty kill, David deKastrozza and Patterson brought the puck into the offensive zone on a short-handed, two-on-two attack. deKastrozza dropped the puck to Patterson, who battled past Colorado's Arthur Bidwill before snapping a forehand past Cheverie at 10:46 of the third to tie the game at 3-3. The short-handed goal was Idaho's 12th of the season - tied for most in the ECHL - and also gave deKastrozza an ECHL-best nine short-handed points this season (five goals, four assists).
Late in regulation, Colorado was whistled for a penalty, allowing Idaho to open the overtime session on the man advantage. The Eagles killed off the Idaho opportunity but took another penalty, a Paul Phillips interference call at 3:23 of overtime, to put Idaho back on the power play in overtime. This time, Idaho would cash in at 3:57 when Ryan Button's pass across the top of the circle was blasted on-net by Wahl. It appeared to be deflected in front once again by an Eagle defenseman, redirecting the puck through Cheverie's legs for the game-ending goal, Wahl's 17th of the season.
The Steelheads out-shot Colorado, 43-28, for the game. Kevin Kapalka improved to 2-0 as a starter with 25 saves. Cheverie stopped 39 of 43 in the loss. Idaho's power play went 1-4 while Colorado converted two of four man-advantage opportunities.
Idaho is on the road Saturday with another important game with playoff-seeding implications when the team faces the Utah Grizzlies. Game time is 7 PM at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, UT, and can be heard live on KTIK (1350 AM).
The Steelheads have two home games left, April 4 and 5 against the same Colorado Eagles. Tickets are available by calling the CenturyLink Arena box office at 208-331-8497.
COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME - Ryan Button (2A)
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS: 1) Gaelan Patterson (ID) 2) Kevin Young (COL) 3) Tommy Grant (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.
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