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Steelheads Clinch Playoff Berth; Add Defenseman to Roster

Wednesday, March 18th
Steelheads Clinch Playoff Berth; Add Defenseman to Roster

A day after the Idaho Steelheads clinched an ECHL playoff berth with a 4-3 shootout win over the Salmon Kings in Victoria, and with help from rookie Brandon Svendsen who had one goal, one assist and a shootout goal in his first professional tilt, Head Coach Derek Laxdal announced he?s adding another rookie to the mix. Matt Sorteberg, a Quinnipiac University defenseman, was signed to an ECHL contract today and will join the team in Victoria.Sorteberg began his four-and-a half seasons with the Quinnipiac Bobcats in 2004-05, and finished his freshman year with 23 points (3g-20a), earning him a vote on the Quinnipiac Cup All-Tournament Team. The 6-1, 195-pound Minnesota native was touted as one of the top blueliners in ECAC Hockey and was an All-Academic Team selection in 2005-06. He started his senior season in 2007-08, but played in just 11 games before enduring a season-ending injury on Nov. 24. He was granted an NCAA medical-hardship waiver and returned in 2008-09 and played in all 39 games. In total, Sorteberg played 163 games for the Bobcats, scoring 19 goals and 53 assists for 72 points, with 202 penalty minutes.The Steelheads (37-21-2-2/78pts) qualified as the third team in the ECHL to secure a 2009 postseason. The Florida Everblades (42-17-2-3/89pts) of the American Conference, South Division lead the league, while the Alaska Aces (40-21-1-2/83pts) of the National Conference, West Division are second. Victoria (34-24-2-5/75pts), also from the West Division, currently ranks fifth overall; third in the West.The Steelheads battle the Salmon Kings for three more games this weekend in Victoria. Friday and Saturday?s games start at 8:05 pm MT and Sunday?s puck drop is at 2:05 pm MT. Hooters in Boise (Franklin and Milwaukee) will host a B2 Game Watch Party for Friday?s game. All games can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1350 KTIK the Ticket with ?Voice of the Steelheads? Doug Plagens on the call.Other notes:• Coach Laxdal signed rookie defenseman Brett Ward to an ECHL Amateur Tryout Contract for last night?s game in Victoria, and released the 21-year-old today. Ward had no points, two shots and two penalty minutes in his first professional game. Standing 6-0 and 200-pounds, he had played the majority of the 2008-09 season for the Western Hockey League?s Chilliwack Bruins earning 21 points (10g-11a) in 66 games.? The Idaho Steelheads needed two points to clinch an ECHL National Conference playoff berth and earned it over Victoria Wednesday night. The win, which snapped a three-game losing streak, secures Idaho a chance to compete for the Kelly Cup for the sixth time since joining the league six seasons ago.? The Idaho Steelheads won the Kelly Cup in its inaugural season in 2003-04, under then Head Coach John Olver, becoming only the second team in ECHL history to win the championship in its expansion season. The team won its second Kelly Cup in 2007, under current Head Coach Derek Laxdal, and became the second two-time Kelly Cup winner.- www.idahosteelheads.com -

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