Boise, ID (3/5/13) – Josh Robinson turned aside 17 third-period shots, including a brilliant left-pad save on Ray Kaunisto, and Austin Smith chipped in three points on the scoresheet as the Idaho Steelheads held off the Colorado Eagles, 4-2, Tuesday night in Boise.
The win improved Idaho’s overall record to 38-15-7 and was also the 400th regular-season win in the ECHL for the Steelheads. The Steelheads joined the ECHL for the 2003-04 season after playing their first six seasons in the now-defunct WCHL.
The Steelheads drew first blood at 8:04 of the opening period on a William Lacasse point shot through traffic that beat Adam Brown, his second goal of the season. Idaho appeared to extend the lead less than a minute later when a Ken Trentowski shot also beat Brown through traffic, but referee Tom Chmielewski waved it off, ruling Brown was bumped by an Idaho skater, to keep the score at 1-0. Colorado would take advantage, tying the game three minutes later on a Kyle Ostrow power-play goal from the right circle at 11:17 to make it 1-1.
Less than two minutes later, Idaho would get a power-play marker of its own when Austin Smith’s shot from the left wing got through a Rylan Galiardi screen at the top of the crease, sneaking past Brown at 12:54 to put Idaho on top, 2-1. Colorado was primed to tie the game shortly thereafter on a back-door pass to Matt Strueby, but Idaho’s Mike Towns used his long reach to get a piece of the puck before Strueby could slam it into an empty net, allowing Idaho to maintain its 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
Colorado’s Michael Forney tied the game less than 30 seconds into the second period from the slot, making it 2-2 with his 30th marker of the season. The back-and-forth contest once again swung in Idaho’s favor at 12:57 of the second period on the power play when Patrick Cullity’s shot from the left point was tipped just over the stick of Brown by Justin Taylor to put Idaho on top, 3-2.
That score would hold until the final two minutes of the game thanks to the netminding of Robinson. Six minutes into the final frame, Colorado’s Ray Kaunisto made a great move near the Idaho blue line to break in clean on Robinson. He cut across the goal mouth toward the right post, attempting to tuck the puck between Robinson’s skate and the post to tie the game. But Robinson was able to jab the left leg out far enough to deny Kaunisto, a brilliant save that maintained Idaho’s one goal lead. The Steelheads would come up with a big insurance goal at 18:10 of the third when Tyler Gron buried an empty-net tally from the red line after Colorado pulled Brown out of goal in favor of an extra attacker in an attempt to tie the game.
Robinson made 39 saves on 41 shots in all, improving his personal record to 22-6-4 in his rookie campaign out of Michigan Tech. He now ranks second in the ECHL with a .925 save percentage. Brown was the tough-luck loser for Colorado, stopping 27 of 30. Idaho’s power play was 2-6 and Colorado’s was 1-5.
Smith (goal, two assists), Gron (goal, assist) and Cullity (two assists) each had multi-point nights for Idaho.
Idaho's nine-game homestand continues Wednesday as the Steelheads and Colorado conclude their season series. 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 – Tyler Gron
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:
1) Patrick Cullity (ID)
2) William Lacasse (ID)
3) Josh Robinson (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.